Replace the cast of ‘The Expendables’ with bit players from ‘The Football Factory’, then shift the whole mess to a country called The Balkans (which looks suspiciously like a deer park in rural Wiltshire) and you’ve got ‘Mercenaries’, a truly painful (but intermittently hilarious) slice of cheapjack action sludge for the Guns & Ammo subscriber.
When a military madman by the name of Krakovic seizes power in The Balkans (the filmmakers seem to believe it’s a country), US Corporal Torida (former star Billy Zane, looking understandably peeved) calls in a crack team of mercenaries to rescue the American ambassador. Enter rugged Brixton boy Robert Fucilla and his band of gold-hearted guns for hire, whose numbers include Rob James-Collier (Thomas from ‘Downton Abbey’) trying on a Texan accent so hysterically ripe he must have learned it from watching ‘Foghorn Leghorn’ cartoons.
It’s elements like this which keep ‘Mercenaries’ from lapsing into complete unwatchability. Just when it seems the entire film is going to grind to a tedious halt, along comes another line of wildly overblown dialogue or a laughably awful special effect. It’s not funny enough to be enjoyable – it’ll never be a cult crowd-pleaser on the level of ‘The Room’ – but it does remain bearable. (Amusingly, the internet suggests that writer-director Paris Leonti used to go by the name of Barry Leonti. Says it all, really.)