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 "dogs of war" phrase takes its literary origins from William Shakespeare. It appears in Act 3, Scene 1, line 273 of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. It reads: "Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war". This Shakespearian phrase was actually used as a tagline for this movie. See more »
When Shannon meets with Endean and Bobi, in subsequent shots his necktie moves from the left to right side of his shirt. See more »
[to Endean and Bobi, who have arrived after the fighting is over]
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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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