Jesse V. Johnson's The Mercenary is a bare-bones, low-budget redemption/revenge story delivered with blood-soaked glee. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for these type of straight-forward moral tales of a flawed mercenary which forges a new path against those whom he once allied, and while The Mercenary does show its budget at times, Jesse V. Johnson continues to create dynamic and engaging action set-pieces which deliver the goods despite the obvious budget restraints. Louis Mandylor owns this film, as the main antagonist - the leader of a group of mercenaries whose sole motivations are profit over all else. He chews up the scenery, being the perfect complement to our stoic main protagonist who through a near-death experience finds himself nurtured by a local parish, eventually rejecting the complicity he once had for the violence he committed against his fellow man for the sake of the all-mighty dollar. Straight-forward, well-paced, and delivering enough carnage to appease the average action-junkie, The Mercenary is another action-film throwback in which its lean-and-mean formalism makes it a fun bit of escapism for those who want their appreciate a well-paced, straight-to-the meat action cinema.
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