The Mercenary (2019)

Posted in Reviews by - January 14, 2020
The Mercenary (2019)

A good, reliable, old-fashioned slug-fest; the type of simple B-movie that Van Damme would make in between work-outs in the early 1990s. The 1993 film Nowhere to Run immediately springs to mind. That had a similar small-town white-saviour vibe; a repentant killer seeking atonement for past crimes who then continues to kill many, many more people, only this replaces romance for religion as the central character’s key motivation. Maxx (Dominiquie Vandenberg) is a cold-blooded mercenary left for dead in a Colombian jungle by a member of his own gang. He is rescued by a priest and taken back to the village where he is introduced to the priest’s family and congregation. “He looks like a dangerous man,” says the priest’s mawkish chicken-shit son, foreshadowing the absolute carnage which is about to go down when his teammates realise that Maxx is still alive and kicking. He won’t go easily, though, because he is being played by the Belgian-born martial arts star (yes, there is more than one) and former member of the French Foreign Legion, Dominiquie Vandenberg. Vandenberg follows the ‘less is more’ approach to action film heroics and sticks to the formula faithfully; even giving his character a neck injury to doubly make sure that he can only utter around six lines of dialogue throughout the entire film. Most of the acting is therefore left to the professionals; people like Louis Mandylor, who has a blast playing a volatile Australian war leader, and Carmen Argenziano as Maxx’s benevolent religious guide. Director Jesse V. Johnson (who has worked with Vandenberg previously on films including Pit Fighter and Triple Threat) knows exactly how to create the sort of action required for a film like this to work, both as a spectacle and viscerally, and he pulls it off with precision. Nobody is splitting the atom here, but if you want a breezy, violent, 90-minutes of mayhem, pull up a pew.

AKA: Legion Maxx.

The Mercenary is available to buy and rent now in the UK via Amazon, iTunes, and Sky Store, courtesy of Evolutionary Films.

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