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Soldiers of Fortune


2012 | 94 min | R | 2.39:1

Soldiers of Fortune

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7
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Movie appeal

 
Action100%
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Theatrical release date


 03 August, 2012

Country of origin


 United States

Overview Preview Cast & crew User reviews News Forum

Soldiers of Fortune Preview  

6
 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, August 3, 2012

“Soldiers of Fortune” is a decent example of a production able to pull something entertaining out of next to nothing. A low-budget actioner with an eclectic ensemble, the feature doesn’t have much in the way of locations, time to perfect filmmaking choices, and a script of significant nuance, yet as B-movies go these days, “Soldiers of Fortune” offers a little more sass and polish than the average bottom-shelf dweller. Engaging, at least for the first hour, the picture knows how to have fun with itself, delivering a dollar store version of “The Expendables” for those who prefer their mayhem limited in scale and their talent affordable.



Dishonorably discharged from the military after saving his friend in Afghanistan, Craig (Christian Slater) has watched his life spiral downward, unable to making a living back in America. Recruited by the “Soldiers of Fortune” organization, Craig is asked to train a group of rich men looking for a thrill on the battlefield, preparing them for an assault on Snake Island, a tiny piece of land ruled by the vicious Colonel Lupo (Gennadi Vengerov) and his right-hand man, former C.I.A. operative, Mason (Colm Meaney). Taking cell phone tycoon Haussman (James Cromwell), arms dealer Grimaud (Ving Rhames), video game designer Sin (Dominic Monaghan), precious metals seeker Dimidov (Sean Bean), and Wall Street wuss Vanderbeer (Charlie Bewley) under his wing, Craig works to turn the soft men into hard warriors, a plan accelerated when war against Lupo is declared, forcing the team into a real battle situation they are only moderately prepared for.

Making his directorial debut is Maxim Korostyshevsky, who’s faced with a difficult task of making a limited budget and remote Ukraine locales look like a mid-sized Hollywood blockbuster. While the material doesn’t exactly pop off the screen, the filmmaker does a commendable job finding the appropriate size for the adventure, trusting in displays of weaponry and gorgeous island vistas to provide some flavor, filling out the frame. Korostyshevsky is best with introductory moments, keeping the viewer engaged as Craig coughs up introductions, learning bits and pieces of personality to achieve a better understanding of motivation and quirks, especially anything concerning the contrast of privilege with the harsh reality of war. The students can’t quite shake their creature comforts (including cell phones, mistresses, and valets) as they begin their war zone education, keeping the first half of the feature lively with humor and trusty sequences of training.



The helmer even manages a unique challenge in Monaghan, who broke his foot before filming on “Soldiers of Fortune” began, creating quite a pickle the production is able to sell as intention, dreaming up ways to keep the actor off his legs and still maintain Sin, looking to disturb his addiction to video game death, as part of the gang. The script, credited to three writers, isn’t clever, but it does supply a helpful pace and a few passable one-liners, given life by Cromwell and his good ol’ boy approach to his character, a man looking to die on the battlefield to prevent his fifth wife from taking his fortune away from his kids. With a setting called Snake Island and plot that features a peasant resistance force rising up against a mustachioed dictator, “Soldiers of Fortune” is exaggerated, yet inclinations toward camp are largely avoided, keeping the picture to a consistent roar of violence and incredulous reactions, accepting the absurdity of the plot without winking itself to death. Korostyshevsky shows patience and skill with this low-grade material, doing his best to keep the effort alert and as stylish as the money allows.



The last act of “Soldiers of Fortune” leaves the great outdoors to wind through Lupo’s underground compound, erasing the limited expanse the picture was enjoying up to this change in scenery. The showdown climax doesn’t contain much in the way of surprise, maintaining body count numbers and adding a few unnecessary twists (and a jet ski chase) to goose suspense. While the conclusion doesn’t inspire much enthusiasm, “Soldiers of Fortune” carries a lot further than most of its ilk, providing a small dose of entertainment in a genre that typically elicits eye-rolls and yawns.

Starring: Sean Bean, Christian Slater, Ving Rhames, Colm Meaney, Dominic Monaghan, Freddy Rodriguez
Director: Maksim Korostyshevsky

» See full cast & crew


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