A greedy Polish mercenary aids a mine worker and peasant girl as they lead a revolution against the oppressive Mexican Government, and are pursued by an American rival.


A mercenary who goes by “The Polish” (played by Franco Nero) sells his services to any army or pack of bandits who are willing to pay his high fee. He’s great at assembling long machine guns and at organizing militias to defeat larger armies. He has tactical prowess and a cocky personality, but whatever side he’s on wins. A Mexican revolutionary just coming up in the world named Paco (Tony Musante) hires him even though he can barely afford him, but suddenly with The Polish on his crew his army grows and his coffers expand. As the days turn to weeks and months, The Polish has another contract for his services drawn up, and his demands far exceed his worth. But Paco agrees, even as his army begins to suffer under his mercenary’s flagrant, exuberant excesses (like using the army’s only water supply to openly bathe in front of everybody just because he demands it). Meanwhile, both Paco and the mercenary have a mortal enemy that goes by the name of Curly (Jack Palance with crazy looking curly hair), and as Curly and the Mexican Army track them and wage war against them, Paco and The Polish will have to settle their differences if they’re going to make it out of the coming war alive.

A fun, energetic spaghetti western with some great leads, The Mercenary is one of Sergio Corbucci’s lighter action adventures. Nero is good in a rascally role, and Palance (as usual) makes a great villain. Ennio Morricone provided a lively score, and if you’re a fan of these Italian westerns from the ’60s, you’ll have a great time with this one.

Kino Lorber’s new blu ray of The Mercenary looks and sounds fantastic. Previously made available on a crummy on-demand DVD from MGM, this is the way to go if you’re going to purchase it. Filmmaker Alex Cox provides an audio commentary, and the original trailer is also included.

About the Author

david j. moore

david j. moore is the author of World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies and the upcoming book The Good, the Tough and the Deadly: Action Movies and Stars, coming April, 2016 from Schiffer Publishing.