Underrated Gem: Men of War (1994)

Plot: A former Special Ops soldier leads a group of mercenaries to an island in the South China Sea: their mission is obtain the rights to the unusual treasure that the island beholds… bird shit… yup.

Dolph Lundgren stars in this “men on a mission” movie and it’s one of his better films; despite a lag in pace in the mid-section it really picks up and the last half hour is all out war with some of the best bad guy deaths you’ll ever see. A broken bone shoved through the bottom of a jaw? Check. Somebody hung on a boat rotor then dragged out to sea? Check. People blown up with rocket launchers? Yes and yes. Are you sold yet? You damn well should be.

Just skip the first half and watch the last 30 minutes and you’ve got yourself a blast of an actioner. Dolph gives one of his better performances as the soldier with a conscience which ends up splitting his team in two. There was me thinking “oh good, Tommy “Tiny” Lister playing a rare good guy that’s… oh… never-mind”.

The main villain Keefer is played by the late Trevor Goddard (Kano in Mortal Kombat) who is a sadistic psychopath and you are just counting down the seconds until Dolph kicks his ass… you won’t be disappointed; the final punch up is the stuff of legend.

Men of War is nicely shot with great cinematography; the island location looks amazing and the action is awesome too.

It has a Predator-esque score which really adds to the jungle atmosphere and works really well.

Although I said the pacing is slow it’s actually called characterization and story; I know, weird right? Who wants that in an action movie? But that’s the thing about Dolph; he always plays interesting characters who are never one note. The story is something different and the acting in general is pretty good.

If you’re a fan of Dolph and you haven’t seen Men of War then you should definitely check it out as the action alone in the last half hour is pretty spectacular. There is apparently a director’s cut somewhere which I would love to get my hands on; has anyone seen it?