Jamie Shannon is a soldier of fortune -- a mercenary who will stage a coup or a revolution for the right price. He is hired by British mining interests to scout out Zangaro, a small African nation with rich mineral deposits but a brutal and xenophobic dictatorship. Arrested soon after his arrival, Shannon is imprisoned as a spy, badly beaten, and tortured. While in prison he meets one of the country's leading intellectuals, Dr. Okoye, also imprisoned by the regime. Eventually released, he returns to London and is subsequently offered to opportunity to secretly invade Zangaro's capital and lead a military coup. Shannon accepts, but quietly has his own agenda to pursue. Written by
The "XM-18" grenade launcher used in the movie is a real life weapon. It is called the Manville Gun. It was named after its inventor, Charles Manville, who designed the gun in 1935. See more »
The scene at the railway station is set at London's Liverpool Street, made obvious by the Great Eastern Hotel prominently in the background. However, the station announcement says the train is for Rugby, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Sheffield. Trains do not go from Liverpool Street station to these destinations and did not at the time the film was set. A likelier station for such departure would have been St Pancras. See more »
[the mercenaries are caught in the middle of a fire fight]
What happened to us just providing tactical and logistical support?
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Sent to checkout the political situation in the Africian nation of Zangaro, Shannon (Christopher Walken in a solid performance), a tireless and money-hungry American mercenary, get caught spying by the president's secret police and nearly beaten to death before sent back to the States. Determined to strike back, Walken urges a few of his friends (Tom Berenger and Ed O'Neill being a few of them) to join in the mission and get the necessary weapons. Director John Irvin ("Hamburger Hill", "When Trumpets Fade") plays his cards right in saving the best stuff, which is the raid and how the scenery is displayed by veteran cinematographer Jack Cardiff is also great. The film was based on a novel by Frederick Forstyh ("The Day of the Jackal").
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