Mercenaries (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner27/01/2012

One out of Five stars
Running time: 97 mins

Poorly directed, badly written and woodenly acted, this is a dismal and pointless war thriller-slash-shoot-'em-up that's actively painful to observe. Like watching paint ball onscreen.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Paris Leonti (real name: Barry Leonti, according to the imdb), Mercenaries stars Robert Fucilla as Andy Marlow, who teams up with a group of gun-toting expendable types (including Vas Blackwood and Downton Abbey's Rob James-Collier) in order to rescue an American ambassador (Andy Sapani) after he's kidnapped by power hungry Serbian warlord Olodan (Anthony Byrne) in “The Balkans.” With the US forces (lead by a visibly embarrassed Billy Zane as Colonel Torida) powerless to protect them, it's up to Andy and his team to complete their mission by any means necessary, but things don't go according to plan and the team is soon involved in the first of many gunfights.

The Bad
The main problem is that almost the entire film involves the actors running around the woods and shooting at each other (while shouting a lot), so that it's basically like being forced to watch a group of people you don't like very much play paintball for 90 minutes. This might just about work if the gun battles were in any way entertaining or thrilling, but they're so badly directed that you can never work out who's meant to be shooting at whom or where the characters are in relation to each other.

Fucilla makes an extremely wooden lead and all the supporting performances are equally dull, with James-Collier contributing a particularly terrible Texan accent to boot. To be fair, the atrocious script doesn't give any of them much to work with, while the dialogue is sub-video game standard at best (a wisecrack here or there would have livened things up a bit, but the script can't even manage that).

The Worse
Sadly, the film isn't even enjoyable on a so-bad-it's-good level and at about the halfway mark, when the characters are still running through the woods and shooting at each other (after about 30 minutes of the same thing), it becomes actively painful to watch.

Worth seeing?
Talk about the expendables - this is the sort of film that usually goes straight to DVD and with very good reason. Exactly how it's ended up getting a theatrical release when there are far better films struggling to find a distributor is a mystery that's more interesting than anything here. One to avoid.

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Content updated: 17/12/2017 12:05

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