Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

There was absolutely no reason for ‘Mercenary for Justice’ to be as bad as it was.  No reason at all.  Let me break away for minute to assure you that I am not a Steven Seagal fan.  This may be hard to realize at first since there are more reviews on this site for Steven Seagal movies than for any other actor.  Part of this is because Stevie makes more movies than any other actor but the main reason for this is that he makes the kinds of movies that people like me want to see.  This is sad, but what can I tell you.  I’m a guy, a dude, a man.  I’m a child of the 80’s and I like women and beer and liquor and football and I will not apologize for this.  I grew up watching and loving movies like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, New Jack City, Time Cop, Under Siege and the like.  I would watch ‘Enter the Dragon’ for the fiftieth time before I’d watch ‘How to lose a guy in 10 days’ for the first.  Hollywood for the most part has abandoned these kinds of movies that guys and gals like me love, with the exception of the occasional Jet Li, Jason Stratham joint, leaving this genre in the hands of the Direct-to-Video author.  So when Stevie, or Van Damage, or Wesley or even Dolph releases one of these things, despite the fact I know there is a 90% chance that it will be beyond awful, I rent and watch and hope.  I have no choice.  Over the years, and especially since I’ve become a semi-legitimate film critic, my world and my tastes in film has broadened considerably.  But in my heart I still long for that elusive awesome action flick despite the fact, like the Great Pumpkin, it may never come.

Solid B-actors Luke Goss and Roger Guenveur Smith are playing ‘Agency’ deputy director John Dresham and scurrilous mercenary General Anthony Chapel respectively, engaged in a meeting about some high level secretive mercenary project and the ‘Agencies’ need for plausible deniability.  The two men run through the crew

they need for this gig – the gig is happening as they speak – and they realize to effectively pull of this assignment they the ‘best’ and of course that would be one John Seeger (Seagal).  But to get the best they need his best friend Eddie Jones (Tumi Mogoje) to come on board or else Seeger’s not getting down.  Not spoil anything, but one these two dudes is gonna die during this battle leaving the other one real pissed off and squinting his eyes throughout the rest of the picture.  Since the job went so bad, Deputy Director Dresham decides to send a crew to ‘take Seeger out’.  As if.  I have an idea Mr. Director, why don’t you get on a rowboat and see if it can take you to the moon.  I like your chances with the rowboat much better.

Now the story at this point gets real convoluted.  Dead friend Eddie has left a wife and son – I hate to get sidetracked again, but the actress playing the dead friends wife is a lady named Faye Peters, an though this lovely, obviously intelligent and talented actress is far more than the sum of her breast, it doesn’t change the fact that at probably 115 pounds her body to breast ratio is about as out of whack as any woman I’ve recently seen.  And I’m pissed the hell off that she didn’t come CLOSE to giving us a nude scene.  Damn.  So Evil general kidnaps wife and kid, forces hero to do a job requiring freeing some Arab dudes son from prison.  Evil Director still wants hero dead.  Hero has a girlfriend (Jacqueline Lord, who looks like a poor mans Catherine Zeta-Jones, which is no insult because any comparison to Mrs. Jones-Douglass equals freaking beautiful anyway it shakes out) and this girlfriend loves-hates the hero AND they are planning a South African bank job.  In between the mercenary job.  And freeing the hostages.  Don’t think that Seagal is going pull all of this off?  Then you get on that boat to the moon with the Director dude.

Again, this didn’t have to a crappy as it turned out.  Director Don E. Fauntleroy whose first film I saw was horrific ‘Light Speed’ which had me thinking that this is a guy who should be working behind a 7-11 counter and not an Arriflex 35mm proved to me with this flick that ‘Light Speed’ was and aberration and given a decent budget, he can direct mindless action with best of the DTV crafters out there as he kept the explosions fast and furious.  The cast was above average with the afore mentioned Goss and Smith being very good actors and far above the material that they were given here.  Michael K. Williams of ‘The Wire’ fame did good work and even Stevie wasn’t nearly as distracting in this flick, possibly because he had way less screen time than we usually expect of the star.  But the story was so convoluted, over wrought and confusing that it made it near impossible for the flick to gather any kind of rhythm or speed.  If they could have just scaled this thing back a bit, maybe take out the ‘bank job’ angle, because it was stupid anyway, or left out the ‘racist Afrikaners’ because that was lame too and just stayed with the one simple storyline of freeing the Arab dudes son – this would have been almost good.  But no, they tried to turn this thing into the ‘Bourne Supremacy’ or something instead of sticking to the simpleness that we expect – no, DEMAND from our DTV action flicks.

But hey, why am I talking you?  You’re probably like me and you either have seen ‘Mercenary for Justice’ already or about to get on some torrent and illegally download it… errrr, put in your Netflix cue.  I know that movie we are waiting for is out there gentlemen.  No, this isn’t the one, but somewhere, if we keep keeping on, we will be rewarded for our loyalty.

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