The Mercenaries

Film

Action and adventure

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

The Congo, 1960: soldier-of-fortune Taylor braves rebel-held territory to rescue the white folk and retrieve a fortune in diamonds for President Ubi. The political backgound is skated over so we can get on with a crude variation on the cowboy-and-injuns schtick and plenty of lip-smacking carnage. Tricked out with an ex-Nazi (Carsten) still sporting a swastika, a disheveled blonde Belgian refugee (Mimieux), a loyal African sergeant (Brown), and a dipso English doctor (More) who sacrifices himself for a woman in labour, the film has an exceptionally unsympathetic hero and a preposterous moral turn-round at the close. Adapted from a novel by Wilbur Smith.
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Release details

UK release:

1967

Duration:

100 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

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LiveReviews|12
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Malcolm

One of my all-time favourites. I would only ask Time Out to put under its original title Dark of the Sun, which is a lot more descriptive and less generic than The Mercenaires.

Malcolm

One of my all-time favourites. I would only ask Time Out to put under its original title Dark of the Sun, which is a lot more descriptive and less generic than The Mercenaires.

OldJockyboy

Saw this film when it first came out and its still up there with the best of them,so come on (whoever)get the finger out and release it on DVD.

OldJockyboy

Saw this film when it first came out and its still up there with the best of them,so come on (whoever)get the finger out and release it on DVD.

SutterCane

I wouldn't get your hopes up about this coming out on DVD any time soon. I saw this on TCM in 2003 during that sizzling summer and will never forget it. There's an element of Heart of Darkness -the white men losing their 'civilized' veneer amid the savage violence of post-colonial Africa. The scene of the severed rail carriage full of terrified Belgian civilians sliding back into the hands of the blood-thirsty Simba rebels is one of the creepiest moments on celluloid. Tarantino called the film one of his guilty pleasures. For a film made in '67 it's years of its time especially in terms of on-screen violence. There's a gay rape and a gang rape of a nun not to mention someone being splashed with petrol and set alight while being dragged behind a motorcycle - pretty far out for the time. Easily the best mercenary film ever made and maybe one of the first actioners of its kind, but sadly unsung and still neglected as its DVD unavailability shows.

SutterCane

I wouldn't get your hopes up about this coming out on DVD any time soon. I saw this on TCM in 2003 during that sizzling summer and will never forget it. There's an element of Heart of Darkness -the white men losing their 'civilized' veneer amid the savage violence of post-colonial Africa. The scene of the severed rail carriage full of terrified Belgian civilians sliding back into the hands of the blood-thirsty Simba rebels is one of the creepiest moments on celluloid. Tarantino called the film one of his guilty pleasures. For a film made in '67 it's years of its time especially in terms of on-screen violence. There's a gay rape and a gang rape of a nun not to mention someone being splashed with petrol and set alight while being dragged behind a motorcycle - pretty far out for the time. Easily the best mercenary film ever made and maybe one of the first actioners of its kind, but sadly unsung and still neglected as its DVD unavailability shows.

puddleg

a damn good film that somehow transcends its flaws. The trainyard sequence near the start is better than any modern music video. The violence is somehow more horrific for being stylised. There was only one chance to make a film like this, and it wasn't wasted. BTW the widescreen version is being shown on TCM at the moment, so a DVD release can't be far away.

puddleg

a damn good film that somehow transcends its flaws. The trainyard sequence near the start is better than any modern music video. The violence is somehow more horrific for being stylised. There was only one chance to make a film like this, and it wasn't wasted. BTW the widescreen version is being shown on TCM at the moment, so a DVD release can't be far away.

usman khawaja

the idea of blood diamond originates in a raw and furious splondour in the heart of french congo as a trainload of mercenaries are sent to rescue a booty of raw diamonds from falling into the hands of the local simba rebels . rod taylor as the chief is both sympathetic yet very pragmatic to his mission ,whilst jim brown is best as ruffo ,the black man who is fighting for himself but with an inherent morality ,he comes from the trees but refuses to go back to those dark values as he looks at a bright future for a dark continent, carston as the fascist german in the mercenery crew is the weak point as a metaphor for the cliched evil white man and the rebels are not discussed at all despite a huge marauding ,murdering rabble of black africans who can commit any heinous act , the flaws are balanced by the fine acting of almost all the cast, the great camerawork with both the intense use of color to enhance malice in a lush paredise and the director who creates a malevolent and forbidding thriller from a somewhat sentimentally idealized plot about human liberty and equality for all. the theme of lust, avarice,racial genocide and the ideology of one good deed or act of justice to nullify all the rest of evil humanity as a foil wins you over in a very intelligent stroke . the action scenes are staged very well with planes ,trains ,and convoy ambushes and the carnage looks as disturbing as it ever has . one thing is for certain hollywood made in 68 what is happenning now in africa in a more realistic and stylish manner than they can do today without being condescending to the natives as in blood diamond or king of scotland ,both of which look lesser works in the same context after watching this flawed but fascinating african fable . the best things are always simple little trivia like the character of the alcoholic doctor who has to save a breech delivery at risk to his own life or a young white army lieutenant who must endure torture but can smile when he sees his job is accomplished, or the african kids being gunned down by the mercenaries as rebel spies. it all leads to a great ,exciting but a different thriller . usman khawaja

usman khawaja

the idea of blood diamond originates in a raw and furious splondour in the heart of french congo as a trainload of mercenaries are sent to rescue a booty of raw diamonds from falling into the hands of the local simba rebels . rod taylor as the chief is both sympathetic yet very pragmatic to his mission ,whilst jim brown is best as ruffo ,the black man who is fighting for himself but with an inherent morality ,he comes from the trees but refuses to go back to those dark values as he looks at a bright future for a dark continent, carston as the fascist german in the mercenery crew is the weak point as a metaphor for the cliched evil white man and the rebels are not discussed at all despite a huge marauding ,murdering rabble of black africans who can commit any heinous act , the flaws are balanced by the fine acting of almost all the cast, the great camerawork with both the intense use of color to enhance malice in a lush paredise and the director who creates a malevolent and forbidding thriller from a somewhat sentimentally idealized plot about human liberty and equality for all. the theme of lust, avarice,racial genocide and the ideology of one good deed or act of justice to nullify all the rest of evil humanity as a foil wins you over in a very intelligent stroke . the action scenes are staged very well with planes ,trains ,and convoy ambushes and the carnage looks as disturbing as it ever has . one thing is for certain hollywood made in 68 what is happenning now in africa in a more realistic and stylish manner than they can do today without being condescending to the natives as in blood diamond or king of scotland ,both of which look lesser works in the same context after watching this flawed but fascinating african fable . the best things are always simple little trivia like the character of the alcoholic doctor who has to save a breech delivery at risk to his own life or a young white army lieutenant who must endure torture but can smile when he sees his job is accomplished, or the african kids being gunned down by the mercenaries as rebel spies. it all leads to a great ,exciting but a different thriller . usman khawaja