In one picture we have the Easy Rider Peter Fonda, Shaft‘s Richard Roundtree, Superfly Ron O’ Neil and the one time TV Movie version of Captain America, Reb Brown. Most films released under the Cannon Banner during this era secured theatrical releasing, Mercenary Fighters is so shoddy it didn’t even merit the hassle of booking theaters in a less than competitive market. Lacking the charm or filmmaking skill of the Missing in Action series, this Rambo wanna-be is so illogical and disorienting that large segments of the film unspool with little connection to the scene beforehand.
Not that Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo is the model for narrative cohesiveness, but the storyline as presented here is so convoluted it leaves the audience in a state of bewilderment that quickly turns to dis-interest. I’m not asking for much here, I’ve sat through the entire Bloodfist series. I need something to grasp onto or associate with, for all purposes this is on the level of Roger Corman’s schlock, not worthy to be the background in a riff tracks presentation. The disappointing thing is that Mercenary Fighters could have been a guilty pleasure, all the right elements are in place. Yet, the lethargic direction and leaden acting/writing are enough to cure insomnia.
Director: Riki Shelach
Stars: Peter Fonda, Reb Brown, Ron O’Neil