Warning! There are SPOILERS in this review. Warning! I was pleasantly surprised by this film. I only bought the video because Lee Van Cleef was in it and I had expected to find that he and Donald Pleasence would be the only redeeming features of yet another bad action film. I couldn't have been more wrong. The plot was exciting and fast-paced, with the tension kept up throughout the film. Particularly good was a scene where people keep getting shot as they try to steal a 'floppy disk' (actually a CD-ROM). One character goes into the room, blows the safe and gets the disk, only to be shot by another character, who then is shot by Mason (Manfred Lehmann). Suddenly the view switches to another gun pointing in the room... Another thing about this film is that it had the feel of a Leone Spaghetti Western about it, with amoral characters ready to do just about anything for money. It didn't try to explain the characters -- a mistake many bad films make -- but let the actors and the action show us what manner of people they were. The dialogue was generally good, only flagging now and again, particularly in the scene where Henry Carlson (Donald Pleasence) meets an old colleague who is investigating whether he (Carlson) has links to the drugs trade. The only bits that didn't quite come off were the scene where after Ling, a woman who Mason liked, died in battle, Mason started blindly shooting and shouting 'Murderers' and a scene where a snake bit one of the mercenaries who came with Colby. For some reason, I have never seen a film that has had a credible scene involving snakes. Snakes can be deadly, certainly, but they are made out to be a bigger menace than they are. The merc who found the snake in the back of the transport lorry should have simply stood up because he should have been wearing good boots. He then could have dropped a box on the snake. He could have even thrown his shirt on the snake and beat it with his rifle. I am surprised that the merc panicked in the way he did. Also, snake venom doesn't work *that* quickly. The acting was generally good and, as expected, Lee Van Cleef and Donald Pleasence shone through as the geniuses they were. Don't listen to those who say that Lee Van Cleef was past his prime; his delivery and presence were as perfect as ever. I was also very impressed by Lewis Collins. He held his own with Lee Van Cleef and Donald Pleasence. I rarely watch television and so had never seen Lewis Collins in 'The Professionals', but after seeing him in this film, I will look for others in which he appears. The action scenes were also generally well done. This film managed to capture some of the chaos of war: the best laid plans being undone as soon as the battle begins. Further, there were no Hollywood-style scenes in which the 'hero' pulls off some impossible bit of action in battle, rescuing someone or even everyone or in which someone dies 'heroically'. All but one of the people who went with Colby died, and only a few of those deaths were even vaguely heroic. For instance, Ling died because she looked down at a companion who had just been shot instead of keeping her attention on the battle. That's exactly the sort of way one would expect to find someone dying in battle. There were a few things that didn't come off right, though. One was the nuclear explosion: I don't care that it was a 'mini-nuke', it still should have had more kick than that. The other was the sound of the pistols; they sounded like starting pistols. As well, the actors looked too clean after having been out in the field at least one night and having been in battle. Go out in a muddy field for only a few hours and you won't look that clean. This is, however, a common failing of films. In low budget films, it is probably easier to deal with continuity issues if the actors remain clean. The cinematography was very good; it captured the atmosphere of everywhere from a drug lord's house to a jungle very nicely. The music was just right: low-key and slightly exotic, not dominating the film or being used as substitute for acting or action. All in all, I would recommend this film to anyone who likes action, amoral characters, and good acting. It is well worth it.
Action / War
Action / War
A Major leads a group of mercenaries whose mission is to protect a disc full of secrets, located in South Asia.
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April 16, 2019