SPOILERS AHEAD…and I don’t even care.
Mercenaries is the subject of my second review of random Netflix choices during a fight against the flu. Produced in 2014, it stars a cast of “would-be”, “has been”, “kinda stars” like Zoe Bell, Kristanna Loken, and Vivica A Fox. More interesting additions to this cast are 80’s/90’s female response to Jean Claud Van Damme, Cynthia Rothrock, and everyone’s favorite crazy blond (Rocky IV and Flavor of Love tv series), Brigitte Neilsen. Oh, and they have Nicole Bilderback as an Asian woman to round out the Captain Planet assassins.
The plot is pretty standard. The US President’s daughter is kidnapped while in a war zone (for some reason) and held for ransom. The CIA agent (Rothrock), knowing the head of the kidnapping to be a man-hating tyrant, decide to recruit a handful of female inmates to go in and save the day.
You don’t watch this movie expecting much, obviously. You know there will be lots of gun fire, explosions, impossible acts of danger that defy physics. Each of the main actors brings her A game to this B movie…but that isn’t saying much. Rothrock was never known for her acting and Fox apparently needs a very involved director to not be an over-the-top cliche.
The surprise of the well-squared thespians, is Neilsen. Despite years of being portrayed as bat-sh*t crazy on Flava Flav’s reality series and appearing intoxicated at public events, she delivers a solid performance as Ulrika (the head of this criminal organization). I don’t mean that she was channeling Meryl Streep, however, she was committed and intense. I wanted to see more of her…in other roles, even. The way she stared fearlessly into the camera when threatening the heroes or her choice to gently caress the president’s daughter’s boob when she talks about being “good friends” with America. She knew what kind of part she was playing, what kind of movie this was, and had a great time with it.
The movie is entertaining, but nonsense. The women infiltrate the compound and fight their way out. There is a scene where at least 80% of the other kidnap victims the women try to save are mowed down with an automatic rifle. That was…something. Fox switches sides, deciding she’d rather be Ulrika’s right hand than pardoned and unemployed. The women leave one girl to mutilate one of Ulrika’s henchmen (that raped her) and board a plane with the president’s daughter. Ulrika manages to drive up to the plane and grab a strap hanging out the back (why was it still open if they had taken off). She climbs in. They fight. She is handcuffed to a bomb, a car, a horse…something…I don’t remember. Then, she is shoved out the opening to land on the compound, blowing up the building (as well as any survivors like the young girl mutilating her rapists). They all giggle, perhaps throw out some one liners, and join Rothrock in celebrating the death of the best character in the movie.
Bell asks the president’s daughter if she wanted to join them as mercenaries since she proved herself (as what I’m not sure, since she did nothing but sit in her cell until she was rescued…I guess they liked the way she ran, smiled, and wore enough make-up to look like a Thai hooker). Then, Rothrock asks the girls if they are ready for another mission, to which they decline doing it again. Good decision girls. Once was enough. Trust me.
Overall, it was fun if you like dumb action films. This one has women, but could have easily been played by men (which in itself is kind of nice that it wasn’t gender biased). Probably like the Asian’s pay…don’t expect much.