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Craig R. Baxley
Nick Gunar (Dolph Lundgren) is a burnt-out, jaded and hard-up former mercenary who is having a difficult time adjusting to civilian life. At the end of his rope, he is hired by the Nitro Mine Corporation to strong-arm the natives of a South China Sea island into giving up their rights to its valuable mineral resources. Nick loathes the thought of another mission, but this seemingly easy job will earn him enough money to get back with his estranged family. He recruits some of his former mercenary buddies to help him with the job. The island people refuse to give up their land and Nick decides to help them fight the greedy corporation that hired him. The island and its people bring Nick back to life. He finally finds something worth fighting for and a place to call home. As greed and treachery begin to unravel, Nick's band of mercenaries choose sides. Some are with him and others, still working for the corporation, will stop at nothing to destroy him.Written by
In the very beginning of the movie, Dolph Lundgren's character Nick Gunar "bakes" a ball of Swedish snus and pops it in his mouth. Interestingly, he puts it under his lower lip, which is rather uncommon, with the vast majority of users putting it under the upper lip. See more »
[Jamaal's been hit by a child with a blowgun]
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The R-rated Region 1 DVD is cut during a few violent moments (about 13 seconds), but on one hand is presented in a beautiful, remastered widescreen presentation. The German release in presented in a Pan and Scan presentation, but is fully uncut. The UK DVD (not VHS) release is uncut and widescreen. See more »
Action genre icon Dolph Lundgren plays Gunar, a former Special Ops soldier turned mercenary. He's hired by sleazy corporate interests to force the residents of an Asian island to sign over the mining rights. Well, as you may expect, he experiences a change of heart when he meets the natives (including gorgeous Charlotte Lewis of "The Golden Child"), as do some of his comrades. The other members of the team remain mercenaries and become determined to complete the mission, leading to the inevitable all out war.
The capable direction is by veteran actor Perry Lang ("The Hearse", "Alligator"), who also co- stars as one of the young corporate creeps. Given that the script is co-written by indie favourite John Sayles, along with Ethan Reiff & Cyrus Voris ("Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight"), one can also expect this to be more well thought out and interesting than the run of the mill action film. It's quite serious (yet not totally without some humour), and the natives, as led by amiable young spokesman Po (B.D. Wong) are an inherently sympathetic bunch.
Of course, the natives do turn out to be pretty effective fighters once the stakes are raised. The set pieces are largely confined to the last half hour, but are intense and enjoyable once they occur. There are some nifty demises devised for our antagonists, and Dolph is given a formidable opponent with Trevor Goddards' over the top psycho mercenary Keefer. The location shooting in Thailand allows for some beautiful scenery, and it's all nicely shot by Rohn Schmidt.
The cast is above average for this sort of thing. Besides Dolph, Lewis, and Wong, the cast consists of Tony Denison, Tim Guinee, Don Harvey, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister (who, like Goddard, relishes chewing the scenery), Tom Wright, the lovely Catherine Bell (who looks mighty fine and also proves herself adept at kicking ass alongside the guys), Kevin Tighe as Dolphs' mentor, Thomas Gibson, and Aldo Sambrell, long ago co-star in Sergio Leones' "Dollars" trilogy, as a goon named Goldmouth.
All in all, this is good, rousing entertainment that genre aficionados will likely savour.
Seven out of 10.
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