Men of War1994

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Men of War stars tall, craggy Dolph Lundgren as a down-and-out commando who agrees to do another job because there's nothing else he knows how to do. He assembles a crack team and travels to an isolated Pacific island with orders to secure it for a mysterious business venture. But once there, he discovers an idyllic paradise with peaceful natives who welcome the mercenaries into their village. When Dolph learns what the venture is really about, he decides he's on the wrong side and, with part of his team, fights to defend the island from destruction. The first third of Men of War is drenched in sweaty machismo--the camera constantly lingers over rippling muscles and bruised skin during an endless bar fight. But once on the island, the mercenaries frolic sweetly with native children and the scenery is astoundingly beautiful (and beautifully filmed). A native who speaks English delivers some heavy-handed pacifist speeches. Then, as another team of more ruthless mercenaries arrive, the movie again turns into an ecstasy of gunshots and explosions--only, because of the genuinely charming middle third, there are actually some emotional stakes to the violence. Furthermore, the natives turn out to be not quite as peaceful as they presented themselves, adding some surprising layers to the movie's moral tone (likely due to the hand of co-screenwriter John Sayles, the man responsible for Brother from Another Planet and Lone Star). All in all, better looking and better written than any movie starring Dolph Lundgren has any right to be. --Bret Fetzer

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