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Jonas Ambler is a rich businessman who's wife is killed by kidnapers. So he decides to get even. He hires a mercenary to find and kill the kidnapers. There's only one catch, he wants to go with them. Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
Now, granted, "Mercenary" is ultimately on the routine side of B-movies, but it's got a decent story and enough action to ensure that some peoples' attention won't wander.
Olivier Gruner stars as "Hawk", an operative hired by a very successful, arrogant businessman named Jonas, played by none other than John Ritter. A Russian terrorist for hire, Phoenix (Martin Kove) stages a massacre at a party Jonas is throwing for an author, and Jonas's wife is killed. The businessman is then ripe for revenge; his initial attempt to win over Hawk doesn't work out (largely because Jonas insists on coming along for the mission) but when Hawks' good friend and colleague McClean (Robert Culp) is set up and sent to the slammer, Jonas realizes that he can manipulate Hawk into doing the job by securing McCleans' freedom.
As written, by Patrick Highsmith and Steven Hartov, and directed, by Avi Nesher, "Mercenary" is acceptable turn-your-brain-off entertainment, with a twist to the plot and some amusing characters. It's particularly interesting to see Ritter in this sort of action fare. He's good, and he and the stone faced Gruner do have some fine comedic moments. With a cast featuring Culp, the beefy Kove, and the kick ass character actor Ed Lauter as Jonas's head of security, you know you're in for a good time. Of course, the movie is not without problems; for one thing, the big confrontation between Gruner and Kove is pretty disappointing. But there's so much gunfire, so many explosions, and so many stunt people flying through the air that the movie should suffice for undemanding genre fans.
Look for Jaime Pressly as a foul mouthed kidnap victim, in what is really one of the movies' better scenes.
Seven out of 10.
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