The Mercenary (1968) - Comedy, Western

Hohum Score



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.

IMDB: 7.2
Director: Sergio Corbucci
Stars: Franco Nero, Tony Musante
Length: 110 Minutes
PG Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 4 out of 33 found boring (12.12%)

One-line Reviews (29)

It's a thrilling western with overwhelming showdown between the protagonists Franco Nero and Tony Musante and the enemies Jack Palance and Eduardo Fajardo.

The occasional religious imagery was intriguing, too.

A fast paced, extremely well made spaghetti western with all the accoutrements of the genre: it's produced by Alberto Grimaldi; scored by Ennio Morricone; the supporting cast includes the likes of Giovanna Ralli and Eduardo Fajardo.

Still, in spite of this; The Mercenary is a very well made and entertaining spaghetti western that should please all fans of the genre.

Even a brilliant director like Sergio Corbucci (arguably as brilliant as that other Sergio; - Leone) has difficulties here to turn a Mexican Revolution scenario into a qualitative and compelling film.

Mexican Revolution westerns somehow always seem a bit tedious and are often also overly idealistic and drenched in a misfit kind of festive ambiance.

Fast paced revolution .

Entertaining start to finish; I didn't quite buy some of the characters' motivations at times, and the blood couldn't be faker.

Anyhow, away from my pointless ramble "The Mercenary" which is first I've seen of any Corbucci's films was an exciting gung-ho spaghetti western that doesn't let up on the violence and colourful characters.

The constraints in "The Mercenary" are the too banal plot, the fake and cartoonesque lead characters, the misplaced comedy and – worst of all – a vast shortage of mean- spirited and relentless violence!

Well I did stick it out (sigh) but the story is really downright ridiculous where I was utterly bored stiff.

This film works principally thanks to a good and interesting story, as well as the characters themselves which are intriguing and work well together.

Of the score, the highlight is easily L'Arena, thunderously epic and operatic-like it turns what could have easily have been a trite climax into almost a mix of Shakespearean drama and dramatic opera.

An oddly paced but reasonably enjoyable Italian western.

Not much plot, but Corbucci's fluid direction keeps it from growing stale and the god performances from the stars make it worth watching.

(To give a good example, at one point, while crossing the desert, Nero makes Paco and the revolutionaries empty their canteens so he can have a shower while they go thirsty.

Jack Palance is entertaining and gloriously over-the top, as always.

While Palance, though not in it as much as you would think, is giving Curly a most intriguing persona, confusing sexuality and religious alibi.

Some aspects of the movie are quite good (such as the Ennio Morricone score) but the plot itself often seems contradictory and confusing.

The story is somewhat far-fetched but is very enjoyable and fast paced in a 'boys own' way.

It just seemed formulaic and nothing in the film seemed to explain this change.

The locations are some of the most vivid and evocative of any Spaghetti Western, while the script is deliciously witty and hilarious without ever getting silly or puerile.

The Mercenary does however contain one very obvious Leone rip off – a drawn out, tense final duel, complete with a circular arena set and rhythmic editing between close-ups.

The film has everything you want in it: solid protagonist, creepy bad guy, entertaining side kick and kicking action sequences, all rounded off with a score so good that has been reused in Kill Bill.

The title theme is a rousing, festive Mexican sounding instrumental.

Nevertheless, he was his equal when it came to staging gunfights and helming snappy action stories.

From a bullring circus opening featuring midget clowns, to a glorious clifftop turkey shoot finale, there is nary a dull moment in the pic.

Corbucci paces the film swiftly by making it more compelling and surprising the further along it went, without letting you doze off because of some well stage scenes like a bank heist, bombing of an Mexican town and the final shootout.

The pace of the film is fast and the excellent (maybe Morricone's best) and rousing score supports the generous action.