A tough colonial adventure, based on a Wilbur Smith novel and released in Britain as The Mercenaries, that follows Rod Taylor and Jim Brown as they become entangled in the civil war in the Congo in 1960.
Mercenary soldier Bruce Curry (Taylor) is the man of no principle, until the script’s sermonising gets to him, while Brown, as his buddy Sergeant Ruffo, plays the Congo native with a conscience.
Curry is put in charge of a dangerous mission to take an armoured train to Port Reprieve to evacuate some residents and prevent a fortune in diamonds falling into the hands of advancing rebel forces.
Kenneth More has a brief role as a drunken doctor, Peter Carsten plays an ex-Nazi officer and Yvette Mimieux a French refugee and Taylor’s love interest.
Directed on location by Jack Cardiff – ace cameraman on films such as The African Queen (1951) – the film’s schoolboy heroics sit awkwardly beside its political rhetoric, but action fans will enjoy the all-stops-out finale.
Captain Bruce Curry