Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
The daughter of the President of the United States (Tiffany Panhilason) is cruising with her security detail through Kazakhstan. You may ask yourself… "Why is the President's daughter driving through Kazakhstan, of all places, on an empty, desert road?" But if you are an experienced viewer of low budget action films… or quite honestly any action film for that matter… you will not ask this silly question because questions like these simply get in the way. And in this movie 'Mercenaries', from our good friends at The Asylum, accessing higher brain functions will certainly get in your way while watching this film. Not surprisingly, the first daughter is ambushed and taken captive by the brutal warlord Ulrica (Bridgette Neilson) who will gladly give the first daughter back in exchange for a few weapons. Like nukes and stuff.

Well, we don't negotiate with terrorist my friends so CIA operative Miss Mona (Cynthia Rothrock) has a plan. Along with purple streaks in her hair. That seems a bit unprofessional to me, considering she's a high ranking government official, but I guess it's just hair so no big deal. Mona's right hand man Mr. Bobby (Gerald Webb) knows that a rescue mission is off the table… just wish he'd told me why... but Mona is like 'We gotta think outside the box… or more accurately, inside the box'. Now knowing that this movie is about female commandos, and with the statement 'inside the box' I'm wondering what the hell does that mean and I'm getting a little uncomfortable here, but fortunately Mona is just making the point that her potential commandos are in jail. That was a relief. We could ask why get jailed female commandos, as opposed to regular old free commandos, male or female… but we've pointed out the folly of the lunacy of asking silly questions already.

So Mona and Bobby go to these respective prisons to retrieve their soldiers of fortune. All of whom gladly agree to come along, but that doesn't stop them from tazing them into unconsciousness. What the hell? But back to our soldiers, who are the joy of this movie, we have the hardcore and loyal Cassandra (Zoe Bell) who we can surmise went to jail for righting some wrong or something. Then there's the statuesque sniper expert Kat (Kristanna Loken), munitions expert Mei-Ling (Nicole Bilderback) and finally the defrocked and sassy CIA assassin Raven (Vivica Fox).
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The mission, of course, is to infiltrate enemy territory and get the First Daughter back. From my viewing standpoint, as this mission gets started, it looks to be the worst plan for a mission ever. If I were to base an actual First Daughter rescue mission on what I saw in this movie, Malia Obama better hope she never gets kidnapped by aging warlords because she's totally dead. That doesn't mean this mission won't be a success though, despite some double crosses, some tragedy, and of course Ulrica trying to put the moves on… But our ladies are going to find a way to save this woman… who was driving through Kazakhstan for some reason… no matter what.

As you might know, 'Mercenaries' is The Asylum's response to the Expendables series of movies, and I can safely say that I at least enjoyed this movie more than I enjoyed 'Expendables 3', despite the fact I'm certain the entire budget of this movie was probably half of whatever Terry Crews got paid to lay in a hospital bed for most of that movie.

So what does 'Mercenaries' have working for it? For starters director Christopher Ray does have a reasonably accomplished cast of seasoned vets to work with. We mention their maturity because at the tender age of 36, Kristanna Loken is the youngest of the lot. But, gosh darn, we even have Cynthia Rothrock in this movie! Hell, I didn't even know that the original Mistress of Mayhem was still alive, let alone working, but here she is. She didn't get to do much ass kicking but the woman is almost sixty. Which further calls into question the purple streaks in her hair. We have Zoe Bell headlining this thing, who popped out of her mother's womb being awesome, and of course the legendary Bridgette Nielson… legendary despite 'Flavor of Love'… who seemed to have a great time being the baddie in this nonsense. Vivica Fox, who twenty years ago was in the top ten of the hottest women on the planet Earth, and who can play sassy about as well as anybody, Kristanna Loken, who is about as well put together as any woman ever, and one with a history of playing female badasses, and when she an Bridgitte square off, that's like twelve feet worth of woman doing battle, and of course Nicole Bilderback. We have no idea who this woman is. She's pretty hot though. And we have to give a shout out to actor Tim Abell, playing some kind of Khazak strongman, who is actually a pretty solid actor who has the misfortune of only showing up in movies like these. I mean I'm happy to see him in these movies, but I don't know if he's happy to always be in them.

The story we are given is braindead simple, and the filmmakers didn't do anything to try to trick this story out, and we appreciate this. The action is plentiful, and while some of this action is admittedly suspect, there is still a lot of it and we appreciate this as well. And since this is an action movie with a simple narrative, there may be the occasional plot point or character action that will not compute, but these inanities at least keep this one hurtling forward. A few notes… Future Warlords, don't give strange women with guns free reign to your compound. Also, don't trust your information from Wikipedia. Also, when shooting somebody dead, make sure the bullets actually hit them before making that declaration. And don't play poker with Sassy Sista's with guns. And if you're a lesbian, make sure the person you are putting the moves on is one too. Just some random notes for future warlords.

'Mercenaries', while still not legitimately a good movie, can't really can't call it that, but I can say that it met… and maybe even exceeded my expectations for it. We will gladly take that and call it a day.
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