User Reviews (13)

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  • fmarkland3216 November 2006
    Olivier Gruner stars as Hawk, a commando who is hired by John Ritter(!) to take on Phoenix (Martin Kove) the Russian terrorist who killed Ritter's wife and our band of mercenaries have their share of problems since there is sabotage on the inside and Ritter goes the one man army route to get vengeance for his disturbingly (much) younger wife. This is probably the only time you'll ever see John Ritter as a one man army teaming up with Olivier Gruner kickboxing various people and jumping behind explosions. Truly this novelty is enough to give one the giggles but the biggest shock is that Mercenary is surprisingly well made. It's no classic and none of it is worth watching unless you're a fan of straight to video schlock, however this is probably the best movie i've seen from Olivier Gruner and the action sequences deliver the sufficient crunch that you would expect. Plus it's an action flick with John Ritter getting the lion's share of the action and that alone is something you won't see ever again. So Mercenary isn't as bad as I thought it would be, on the other hand this is movie reserved only for those who are fans of the genre. Hence why it's a two star rating.

    * * out of 4-(Fair)
  • Headache inducing with only three actual actors, John Ritter, Robert Culp, and Ed Lauter, who are all terribly wasted. The pace is so rushed that it could give you whiplash. The action scenes are filmed in extreme closeup to hide the lack of a budget. Explosions abound and of course the entire plot is ridiculous. This is one to avoid, I only wish I had done so, instead of wasting over an hour, before I couldn't take any more. You have been warned. Proceed at your own peril, unless mindless nonsense is something you enjoy. I actually feel bad having watched this, and hope you will take my advice ................... - MERK
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie had the makings of a great story but it was so obvious from the first half hour that Jonas was being set up. The characters are all stereotypical ... the wimpy accountant in glasses, the intense chief of security, the sadistic "bad" mercenary and the "unemotional" good guy. My advice ... watch paint dry.
  • This yarn was supposed to take place in Moab, Jordan (erroneously mentioned as Moab, Israel but hey, that is par for the course for this flick !) . I have been to Jordan but never seen scenery like that ! And Russians living in "ancient" monasteries , crawling all over the Jordanian countryside in buggies and firing un-countable bullets AND at least 3 surface to air missiles ? Pull the other one !! I don't know whether the handful of "producers" got their investment back or not, but WHY waste money on a useless plot and a hopeless video film in the first place ??
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is an AWESOME movie. It is jammed pack with action from beginning to end. The fighting moves are so realistic and technical, its like watching a martial arts/self defense teaching video. You could literally watch this movie, and try the very same moves on your friends, and they ll be in a world of hurt. I love the movie because of the technical fight scenes involved. The motion of the good guy versus his adversaries is very well choreographed. Very few films I have seen are equal to the choreographed action sequences evident in this film. In terms of the story line, it is a 1980s revenge style movie, reminiscent of Commando or Rambo or any Steven Seagal film. In the end, I love to get a copy of this film on DVD and have it as part of my video library. I would choose this movie over any Steven Seagal or Jean Claude Van Damme film, most definitely.
  • 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.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A businessman hires a mercenary to find the terrorist who killed his wife. But things aren't as simple as that. Cue fighting, explosions, double crosses, etc. getting more ridiculous as the film goes on. Included in the cast are stalwarts like Robert Culp, Martin Kove and Ed Lauter but they don't get much to do. The movie centres more on the Olivier Gruner and John Ritter characters and frankly they are a bit boring. If you like lots of action there is lots of action. Nothing much else.
  • As a lover of action movies, this one took me by surprise, both because of how much I enjoyed it (which is hard to say these days) and because of how atypical it is for the genre. It is really like Laurel and Hardy do action... Funny, funny, funny! John Ritter is great as the guy who thinks he can do all the stunts, just cause he wants to go along for the ride, and Mr. Gruner is a powerful force, with a hint of the comedian hiding beneath his straight man. Great effort by Nesher, the director, who moves this great story with sheer force from the first frame... A must rent!
  • "Mercenary" has crap acting, totally unstylish action scenes, is so boring it is almost unwatchable, the dialogue is terrible and the actors are completely miscast. All in all one of the worst movies ever made. DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Jonas Ambler (Ritter) is a multi-millionaire businessman with his face on the cover of Forbes magazine. When his beloved wife Joanna (Harris, of The Dogfighters fame) is killed in a terrorist attack, Ambler wants revenge. After discovering the baddies involved are headed by arch-baddie Phoenix (Kove), the corporate warrior yearns to be a real warrior when he reaches out to Hawk (Gruner) and McClean (Culp), expert mercenaries, in order to capture and kill Phoenix. At first they reject his offer of four million dollars, but they eventually relent and agree to take on the job. The only problem is, while Hawk and his crew are highly-trained badasses, Ambler is not, so they go on an extensive training regimen. All this in the presence of his head of security, Cochran (Lauter). Soon enough, Hawk and the gang are in the Middle East and fighting the bad guys. But Hawk is emotionless (or is he?) and Ambler is a bit of a goofball. But they're going to have to learn to get along if they want to survive the most dangerous mission of their lives. Will they be successful? Mercenary is a lot better than we thought it was going to be, having based our assumptions on having seen the second one first. Sequels are often not as good as the originals, and here is a classic case of that. There's plenty of quality action, and it's all very professionally done. If the movie had starred Van Damme instead of Gruner, this could have gone to the theater. That's not to say that Gruner isn't perfectly cast, however - as the emotionless warrior, with maybe a bit of humanity lurking underneath, Gruner is ideal as Hawk. Plus his hair seems to get higher in every scene. Halfway through the movie, he looks like Kid from Kid n' Play.

    It all kicks off with a bang in classic 90's style, and the whole outing is perfect for video stores of that time. It even has Jack Tripper himself, John Ritter, getting in on the action. How often are you going to see that? Sure, he provides the comic relief for Hawk, but he also gets emotional and angry at times. And he's never annoying like the characters in the sequel. Ritter gunning down Islamic terrorists. Who'd've thunk it? Plus, we liked the fact that the mercenaries were the good guys.

    Cementing the fact that this is classic 90's action, we have the time-honored barfight and the Prerequisite Torture of the heroes. There's even some surprise Killfighting. Not to be confused with Punchfighting, at one point Hawk and Ambler find themselves in a dark, underground arena where men take to a pit and try to kill each other, but this is not Punchfighting. There is minimal, if any, punching, and the crowd surrounding them is not clutching cash in their hands. Plus they had knives and were dueling to the death. Leave it to us to define the subtle differences between Punchfighting and Killfighting. But it was all part of the rich array of action's glory days.

    While the movie was from '96, the plot - offering up millions of dollars to find a terrorist - recalls the hunt for bin Laden, and Robert Culp strongly resembles Mitt Romney. Coincidence? Well, yes. But to corral a killer cast like this is truly a once in a lifetime assemblage (look out for genre mainstay Nils Allen Stewart and an early appearance from Jaime Pressly). Director Nesher, known for Timebomb (1991) and The Taxman (1999), among others, puts in his version of a Men of War (1994)-style plot, and we say it's successful. The only real problem with the movie is that it's too long. It didn't need to be 102 minutes, and if it was shorter we might be looking at an all-time classic. As it stands, Mercenary is a very good all-around action movie that is more than watchable and likable.

    Featuring a cover of La Bamba by the band Popdefect, watching Mercenary will take you back to one of the last great years for DTV action. Just make sure you avoid the sequel.
  • erdaniels-0056329 December 2019
    Its entertaining. Not as bad as others have stated to me.
  • John Ritter adds his style to this movie but he is not his quintessential style in this. I liked the action, and it is really well done, but unlike some reviewer comments, I did not find it boring or predictable. I am a movie buff and have seen hundreds of action, western, and adventure movies and this one was a bit different so how you view it depends on what you are expecting of it. Ritter is somewhat comic but is much more action-oriented which I think may throw the viewer but it added to my thrill. I recommend the movie for the heavy action, thrills, and the male bonding that occurs in the film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I admit to getting a kick out of MERCENARY, a straight-to-video enterprise for Van Dame rip-off actor Olivier Gruner. He plays the titular chareacter, who is employed by the bumbling John Ritter to tackle a team of kidnappers responsible for a woman's death. Along the way a conspiracy is uncovered and plenty of stuff blows up as the heroes take the fight straight to the bad guys. This is one of those over-the-top films that did good business in the 1990s; it's pretty dumb when it comes to script and dialogue, but the action is fast and frenetic and refreshingly violent. Gruner gets to shoot up the screen and deliver some of his athletic kicks and manoeuvres, and he's well-supported by a cast that includes such genre luminaries as Ed Lauter and Martin Kove. Robert Culp is even along for the ride, and he's always an asset.