The Mercenaries (Dark of the Sun) Reviews

  • Sep 28, 2020

    In the mid-1960s, mercenary Captain Bruce Curry (Rod Taylor) is publicly hired by Congolese President Ubi to rescue European residents from an isolated mining town about to be attacked by rebel Simbas in the Congo. However, his real mission is to retrieve $50 million of diamonds from a mine company's vault. Ubi insists the operation must be completed in three days, as the money is needed to pay off loans from foreign banks that are about to be delinquent. Curry's subordinates include his friend Sgt Ruffo (Jim Brown) and alcoholic Doctor Wreid (Kenneth More). He also reluctantly recruits ex-Nazi Captain Henlein (Peter Carsten) because he needs his military expertise and leadership skills. Ubi gives Curry a steam train and Congolese government soldiers commanded by Henlein. However, as the mission is in violation of UN accords, the train is fired upon and damaged by a United Nations peace- keeping plane. At a burned-out farmhouse, they pick up a traumatised woman named Claire (Yvette Mimieux), who watched her husband, a mine company representative, being hacked to death by Simbas. Tension begins to develop between Henlein, who is aware of the diamons, and Curry, whose leadership Henlein resents. At a train junction, Henlein casually kills two children for being possible Simba spies, and later makes advances towards Claire. When confronted by Curry, the German attacks with a swagger stick and then a chainsaw. Curry overpowers Henlein and nearly crushes his head under a train wheel before Ruffo stops him. Further complications arise when the mercenaries reach the mining town. First, the diamonds are in a time-locked vault delaying the train's departure. Second, Dr. Wreid insists he can't abandon a pregnant woman at a nearby mission hospital. Reluctantly, Curry agrees to let the doctor stay behind. As Curry waits anxiously for the vault to open, the Simbas arrive and begin attacking the town and station. Eventually, the train, loaded with the diamonds and residents, slowly leaves under small arms fire. However, just as it crosses a river viaduct, a mortar round destroys the coupling between the last two carriages. The last coach - carrying the diamonds and most of the Europeans - is left to roll back into the Simba-held town as the rest of the train steams away... The film was considered extremely violent for its time showing scenes of civilians being raped and tortured by Simbas. One contemporary reviewer was moved to comment that the director's main objective appeared to be to pack as much sadistic violence into the film's two hours as he could. On the subject of violence director Jack Cardiff commented: "Although it was a very violent story, the actual violence happening in the Congo at that time was much more than I could show in my film; in my research I encountered evidence so revolting I was nauseated. The critics complained of the violent content, but today it would hardly raise an eyebrow." I have never heard of "Dark Of The Sun" before, but it´s truly a brutal, dark, violent, intense and quite different film from 1968 with an intense story and subplots that raises questions about all sorts of thought-provoking topics. The film was based on Wilbur Smith's 1965 novel, "The Dark of the Sun", while both the book and the film are a fictional account of the Congo Crisis (1960–1966), when Joseph Mobutu seized power during the First Republic of the Congo after national independence from Belgium. The film was considered extremely violent for its time and one contemporary reviewer was moved to comment that the director's main objective appeared to be to pack as much sadistic violence into the film's two hours as he could. On the subject of violence director Jack Cardiff commented: "Although it was a very violent story, the actual violence happening in the Congo at that time was much more than I could show in my film; in my research I encountered evidence so revolting I was nauseated. The critics complained of the violent content, but today it would hardly raise an eyebrow." I reckon it the violence can be questioned, but at the same time I do think it does have it´s place in this particularly film. We get great cinematography for a film being made in 1968 and with very nice colours in the BluRay version. Rod Taylor is great as the hardboiled mercenary leader Captain Bruce Curry, Jim Brown great as Sgt Ruffo and lovely Yvette Mimieux us great as Claire. I liked "Dark Of The Sun". Trivia: Taylor's fictional character is a light homage to Congo mercenary leader "Mad" Mike Hoare, who led the Congolese 5 Commando during the actual Simba rebellion and was a technical consultant on the film. The original cut of the movie was so violent that many scenes were cut out even before movie was submitted to the ratings board which still demanded additional cuts on some of the graphic scenes. Scenes which were cut because of the violence and other reasons include: Curry forcing Claire to have sex with him, Simbas raping nuns and throwing them to crocodiles, Simbas raping women during the village massacre and gang raping Liutenant Surrier, Simbas dragging a guy tied to the motorcycle and then pouring gasoline on him and setting him on fire, a longer death scene of Ruffo in which he tries to grab Henlein after he stabs him but Henlein stabs him again killing him, a longer fight between Curry and Henlein and a longer death scene of Henlein in which Curry kills him in a very graphic and bloody way. Some action scenes were also cut, some deaths too. Because of the many cuts made on the movie some scenes suffer from bad editing, most notably parts of the village massacre and death scenes of Ruffo and Henlein.

    In the mid-1960s, mercenary Captain Bruce Curry (Rod Taylor) is publicly hired by Congolese President Ubi to rescue European residents from an isolated mining town about to be attacked by rebel Simbas in the Congo. However, his real mission is to retrieve $50 million of diamonds from a mine company's vault. Ubi insists the operation must be completed in three days, as the money is needed to pay off loans from foreign banks that are about to be delinquent. Curry's subordinates include his friend Sgt Ruffo (Jim Brown) and alcoholic Doctor Wreid (Kenneth More). He also reluctantly recruits ex-Nazi Captain Henlein (Peter Carsten) because he needs his military expertise and leadership skills. Ubi gives Curry a steam train and Congolese government soldiers commanded by Henlein. However, as the mission is in violation of UN accords, the train is fired upon and damaged by a United Nations peace- keeping plane. At a burned-out farmhouse, they pick up a traumatised woman named Claire (Yvette Mimieux), who watched her husband, a mine company representative, being hacked to death by Simbas. Tension begins to develop between Henlein, who is aware of the diamons, and Curry, whose leadership Henlein resents. At a train junction, Henlein casually kills two children for being possible Simba spies, and later makes advances towards Claire. When confronted by Curry, the German attacks with a swagger stick and then a chainsaw. Curry overpowers Henlein and nearly crushes his head under a train wheel before Ruffo stops him. Further complications arise when the mercenaries reach the mining town. First, the diamonds are in a time-locked vault delaying the train's departure. Second, Dr. Wreid insists he can't abandon a pregnant woman at a nearby mission hospital. Reluctantly, Curry agrees to let the doctor stay behind. As Curry waits anxiously for the vault to open, the Simbas arrive and begin attacking the town and station. Eventually, the train, loaded with the diamonds and residents, slowly leaves under small arms fire. However, just as it crosses a river viaduct, a mortar round destroys the coupling between the last two carriages. The last coach - carrying the diamonds and most of the Europeans - is left to roll back into the Simba-held town as the rest of the train steams away... The film was considered extremely violent for its time showing scenes of civilians being raped and tortured by Simbas. One contemporary reviewer was moved to comment that the director's main objective appeared to be to pack as much sadistic violence into the film's two hours as he could. On the subject of violence director Jack Cardiff commented: "Although it was a very violent story, the actual violence happening in the Congo at that time was much more than I could show in my film; in my research I encountered evidence so revolting I was nauseated. The critics complained of the violent content, but today it would hardly raise an eyebrow." I have never heard of "Dark Of The Sun" before, but it´s truly a brutal, dark, violent, intense and quite different film from 1968 with an intense story and subplots that raises questions about all sorts of thought-provoking topics. The film was based on Wilbur Smith's 1965 novel, "The Dark of the Sun", while both the book and the film are a fictional account of the Congo Crisis (1960–1966), when Joseph Mobutu seized power during the First Republic of the Congo after national independence from Belgium. The film was considered extremely violent for its time and one contemporary reviewer was moved to comment that the director's main objective appeared to be to pack as much sadistic violence into the film's two hours as he could. On the subject of violence director Jack Cardiff commented: "Although it was a very violent story, the actual violence happening in the Congo at that time was much more than I could show in my film; in my research I encountered evidence so revolting I was nauseated. The critics complained of the violent content, but today it would hardly raise an eyebrow." I reckon it the violence can be questioned, but at the same time I do think it does have it´s place in this particularly film. We get great cinematography for a film being made in 1968 and with very nice colours in the BluRay version. Rod Taylor is great as the hardboiled mercenary leader Captain Bruce Curry, Jim Brown great as Sgt Ruffo and lovely Yvette Mimieux us great as Claire. I liked "Dark Of The Sun". Trivia: Taylor's fictional character is a light homage to Congo mercenary leader "Mad" Mike Hoare, who led the Congolese 5 Commando during the actual Simba rebellion and was a technical consultant on the film. The original cut of the movie was so violent that many scenes were cut out even before movie was submitted to the ratings board which still demanded additional cuts on some of the graphic scenes. Scenes which were cut because of the violence and other reasons include: Curry forcing Claire to have sex with him, Simbas raping nuns and throwing them to crocodiles, Simbas raping women during the village massacre and gang raping Liutenant Surrier, Simbas dragging a guy tied to the motorcycle and then pouring gasoline on him and setting him on fire, a longer death scene of Ruffo in which he tries to grab Henlein after he stabs him but Henlein stabs him again killing him, a longer fight between Curry and Henlein and a longer death scene of Henlein in which Curry kills him in a very graphic and bloody way. Some action scenes were also cut, some deaths too. Because of the many cuts made on the movie some scenes suffer from bad editing, most notably parts of the village massacre and death scenes of Ruffo and Henlein.

  • May 08, 2016

    1968 version of Blood Diamond. Very daring with much violence for the 60's. Great movie of greed and redemption.

    1968 version of Blood Diamond. Very daring with much violence for the 60's. Great movie of greed and redemption.

  • Nov 20, 2015

    I always wanted to meet a real life mercenary. A group of special agents led by crazy Captain Curry cut their way through the jungle on a mission to capture $25 million in diamonds. The agents are a group of mercenaries and they fight numerous would be challengers. A member of the group hopes their mission can help his country and people in some way while Captain Curry is only worried about the goal. "We need him." Jack Cardiff, director of Intent to Kill, My Geisha, Young Cassidy, The Mutations, Penny Gold, The Girl on a Motorcycle, The Long Ships, and Web of Evidence, delivers Dark of the Sun. The storyline for this picture is very interesting and intense in some sequences. There are some unique situations and characters worth following. The cast delivers solid performances and include Rod Taylor, Jim Brown, Yvette Mimieux, Andre Morrell, Kenneth More, and Calvin Lockhart. "Engineer, you ready to roll?" I came across this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and had to DVR this classic since the plot sounded grindhouse good. It was entertaining and a nice jungle action picture in the mold of the original Inglorious Bastards (with Fred Williamson). Overall, this is just above average but worth a viewing. "I'd do it, but I wouldn't like it." Grade: B-

    I always wanted to meet a real life mercenary. A group of special agents led by crazy Captain Curry cut their way through the jungle on a mission to capture $25 million in diamonds. The agents are a group of mercenaries and they fight numerous would be challengers. A member of the group hopes their mission can help his country and people in some way while Captain Curry is only worried about the goal. "We need him." Jack Cardiff, director of Intent to Kill, My Geisha, Young Cassidy, The Mutations, Penny Gold, The Girl on a Motorcycle, The Long Ships, and Web of Evidence, delivers Dark of the Sun. The storyline for this picture is very interesting and intense in some sequences. There are some unique situations and characters worth following. The cast delivers solid performances and include Rod Taylor, Jim Brown, Yvette Mimieux, Andre Morrell, Kenneth More, and Calvin Lockhart. "Engineer, you ready to roll?" I came across this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and had to DVR this classic since the plot sounded grindhouse good. It was entertaining and a nice jungle action picture in the mold of the original Inglorious Bastards (with Fred Williamson). Overall, this is just above average but worth a viewing. "I'd do it, but I wouldn't like it." Grade: B-

  • Sep 26, 2015

    "Dark" gave no insights into the political unrest in the Congo and the characterizations were ludicrous. Hero Taylor is brash, cold and unlikable; Brown is saintly to the point of being unbelievable; Carsten's Nazi depiction is off-the-wall without being funny or campy; while Mimieux has nothing to do but show she's a white woman with blonde hair. It concludes with a bizarre plot devise aimed at making a moral point that frankly escapes me and is too fantastic to believe, anyhow.

    "Dark" gave no insights into the political unrest in the Congo and the characterizations were ludicrous. Hero Taylor is brash, cold and unlikable; Brown is saintly to the point of being unbelievable; Carsten's Nazi depiction is off-the-wall without being funny or campy; while Mimieux has nothing to do but show she's a white woman with blonde hair. It concludes with a bizarre plot devise aimed at making a moral point that frankly escapes me and is too fantastic to believe, anyhow.

  • Sep 16, 2015

    I believe this film is the first to ever use a chainsaw as a weapon, predating "The Wizard of Gore," "Last House on the Left" and the most infamous chainsaw film, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." The chainsaw fight comes early in the film, despite the chainsaw being prominently featured on the movie poster. Despite that, the mere thought of someone being torn apart by a roaring chainsaw is indicative of the the type of brutality that this film had the audacity to present. On one level, this film is about the atrocities of war, but I more got the feeling that this film was a classy production of an almost grindhouse action flick. Rod Taylor plays a mercenary hired to by a company to retrieve diamonds worth millions in the midst of a civil war in the African Congo. Besides chainsaws, there's wanton murder, sexual assaults, torture and more. This certainly isn't as rough as a Takashi Miike film, but for it's time, it's pretty startling. Directed by ace cinematography Jack Cardiff, who only made a handful of films, this one stands out as something pretty original for it's time. It certainly falls within the men-on-a-mission sub-genre (ALA "The Dirty Dozen" or "Guns of Navarone") but it has a grit that I hadn't seen in many of those films. It's a dated film for sure, but for fans of men-on-a-mission film or people interesting in seeing something that's kind of proto-grindhouse, it's an awfully good flick. Yvette Mimieux and Jim Brown also appear in the film.

    I believe this film is the first to ever use a chainsaw as a weapon, predating "The Wizard of Gore," "Last House on the Left" and the most infamous chainsaw film, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." The chainsaw fight comes early in the film, despite the chainsaw being prominently featured on the movie poster. Despite that, the mere thought of someone being torn apart by a roaring chainsaw is indicative of the the type of brutality that this film had the audacity to present. On one level, this film is about the atrocities of war, but I more got the feeling that this film was a classy production of an almost grindhouse action flick. Rod Taylor plays a mercenary hired to by a company to retrieve diamonds worth millions in the midst of a civil war in the African Congo. Besides chainsaws, there's wanton murder, sexual assaults, torture and more. This certainly isn't as rough as a Takashi Miike film, but for it's time, it's pretty startling. Directed by ace cinematography Jack Cardiff, who only made a handful of films, this one stands out as something pretty original for it's time. It certainly falls within the men-on-a-mission sub-genre (ALA "The Dirty Dozen" or "Guns of Navarone") but it has a grit that I hadn't seen in many of those films. It's a dated film for sure, but for fans of men-on-a-mission film or people interesting in seeing something that's kind of proto-grindhouse, it's an awfully good flick. Yvette Mimieux and Jim Brown also appear in the film.

  • Aug 20, 2015

    Pulls few (if any) punches, probably ahead of its time. Plenty of guts but little glory......

    Pulls few (if any) punches, probably ahead of its time. Plenty of guts but little glory......

  • Nov 23, 2014

    Another lost review by flixster. This film was unusual in its content and setting, but certainly was not great.

    Another lost review by flixster. This film was unusual in its content and setting, but certainly was not great.

  • Jul 27, 2014

    just another forgettable movie, sorry

    just another forgettable movie, sorry

  • Jan 14, 2013

    (89%) A mostly forgotten gem of a film that truly deserves to be more widely seen as it doesn't even have an English region 2 dvd release, which is a travesty owing to the British talent involved. Rod Taylor is perfect playing a tough soldier-of-fortune with a good heart, likewise big Jim Brown as his sidekick and Ken More as the missions alcoholic doctor. If you can get hold of a region 1 copy, which probably won't be cheap, but it will be worth it, as this is one of the best war films ever made, with fantastic direction, gut wrenching tension and brutal action. A theatrical re-release would be a real treat as the film hasn't hardly aged at all.

    (89%) A mostly forgotten gem of a film that truly deserves to be more widely seen as it doesn't even have an English region 2 dvd release, which is a travesty owing to the British talent involved. Rod Taylor is perfect playing a tough soldier-of-fortune with a good heart, likewise big Jim Brown as his sidekick and Ken More as the missions alcoholic doctor. If you can get hold of a region 1 copy, which probably won't be cheap, but it will be worth it, as this is one of the best war films ever made, with fantastic direction, gut wrenching tension and brutal action. A theatrical re-release would be a real treat as the film hasn't hardly aged at all.

  • Aug 27, 2012

    Even the commonly available, edited version is great. ...on the lookout for the uncut version...

    Even the commonly available, edited version is great. ...on the lookout for the uncut version...