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
John Irvin had previously filmed amidst real life battles when he worked in a television news crew in Vietnam during the 1960s. Irvin once said: "Unlike most young film directors, I've been in battle. Throughout the sixties I went to various war zones and I met numerous mercenaries in Algeria and South East Asia, so I had my own personal strings to draw on. I would say our depiction of mercenaries is pretty accurate. We talked to a lot of mercenaries and were able to get a lot of information from them about how they would have handled the operation." See more »
Although they are supposed to be receiving training in the use of the Uzi sub-machine gun, several of the mercenaries who run across the deck to fire at the floating target are armed with Ingram MAC-10's. See more »
[to the other mercenaries]
Remember; you have to make it home to get paid.
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Good detailed film, though faulted in its battle scenes
The entire beginning and middle of the film are utterly engrossing. It was a nice change to see a film that showed the amount of planning and attention to detail and contingency plans that goes into preparing a military operation, even a quick raid like the one planned here. The final raid however is a disappointment though, especially because of the realistic and detailed nature of the film to that point. These are serious professional mercenaries in a gritty realistic film and in the final battle, logic and realism go out the window as these "professionals" walk slowly in the open firing from the hip like they were in a Rambo film. Had they fought like that in real life, they'd have all been killed in the first few seconds. I don't think the director understood the nature of combat and that's too bad because otherwise, this film is a gem.
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