Bullet Points: Men of War
I picked up Men of War as part of a DVD 4 Pack that included Hidden Assassin (also starring Dolph Lundgren) and Bounty Hunters and Bounty Hunters 2: Hardball starring Michael Dudikoff. At least I thought I did…
When I put the actual DVD in, Men of War had been replaced with the Dolph Lundgren TV pilot known as Blackjack… a movie so bad that I could not finish it in one sitting.
Fortunately, I did manage to track down Men of War and unlike Blackjack, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
- The Premise: Nick Gunar (Dolph Lundgren) is hired to go to a remote island and convince the natives to sign over the mining rights to a couple of investors (played by Thomas Gibson of Criminal Minds fame and Perry Lang of “I’m also the director of the movie” fame). Gunar’s old commanding officer, Colonel Merrick (Kevin Tighe of Roadhouse fame) is the one who suggested Gunar for the job and who Gunar seeks out before assembling his team.
- Putting The Band Back Together: Gunar begins to assemble his team. His first choice, Jamaal (Tom Wright) who he finds at a bar in Cicero, Illinois. Next he finds Blades (Tom “Tiny” Lister a/k/a Zeus from No Holds Barred!) in a Baton Rouge prison. Then there’s Jimmy G (Tony Denison) who is shaking people down for money in Brooklyn. Gunar then goes to the west coast to find Ocker (Tim Guinee) in San Diego. And last but not least the whole gang goes to Bangkok, where they watch Nolan (Don Harvey) fighting (and swindling) the locals.
- Guys Night Out: Before they go on this mission, the guys want to have some fun. So naturally they go to the local strip club/brothel to let off some steam and talk about what is so important on the island, Nolan believes it is jade. You may notice that the strippers in this part of the world have different grooming habits than those in the United States. Also an FYI… The rates for making friends with the prostitutes is much higher than the rate for fornicating with the prostitutes. It is all fun and games until Grace Lashield (Catherine Bell of JAG and Crash Dive fame) shows up and is harassed by a creepy character known as Goldmouth. Gentleman Jimmy G steps in to assist Grace and before you know it a knock down drag out bar fight ensues.
- Taking One For The Team: With all the commotion it was only a matter of time before the authorities showed up and they did, led by the Minister of Defense Keefer (Trevor Goddard) a man who also served under Colonel Merrick along side Nick Gunar. He threatens to lock up Gunar and his crew for murder… when it is pointed out that nobody has been murdered, Keefer pulls out a gun and shoots one of his own men. Gunar makes a deal with Keefer, he’ll take him on one on one right there if he doesn’t arrest Gunar and his men. Keefer agrees but has some stipulations of his own. If Gunar touches Keefer one of Keefer’s soldiers will kill one of Gunar’s men. In essence, Gunar becomes a human punching bag for Keefer. Keefer puts a beating on Gunar and even adds insult to injury when he has his boot shined on the back of Gunar’s neck as he was on his hands and knees on the ground.
- Heels Get Heat: In pro wrestling terms Keefer just got major heat on himself. He abused his power, he put the babyface (Gunar) in a no win situation and did so with great delight. All this will make it even sweeter when Gunar gets to deliver some comeuppance to the ego-maniacal Keefer. And Keefer did all this in his first appearance in the film! That’s impressive.
- Welcome to Paradise: Gunar and his crew along with Grace Lashield (Jimmy G has a crush on her) make it to their destination and how are they greeted when they come ashore… by B.D. Wong’s character Po urinating. It is no wonder this island is not a popular tourist destination. Po takes the soldiers to the village. When the villagers see the soldiers, they refer to them all as G.I. Joe. Which got me to thinking, which G.I. Joe member would best fit Gunar and his crew…
- Arthur Frommer Eat Your Heart Out: Po gives Gunar the guided tour of the island. Po does speak English and this is explained that he picked it up when the people from National Geographic were on the island. We later learn that he also spent time in the United States and was waiting tables in San Francisco. Since he is now on the island, we can assume that Po left his job in San Francisco, which I believe is something Tony Bennett sang about. Anyway, Po even goes so far to offer the village beauty, Loki, to Gunar. If that were in the travel brochure, I think most guys would overlook the public urination greeting.
- Punk’d: The villagers end up making Gunar and his crew honored guests. There is dancing and singing and of course a feast. Gunar and his crew are each given a big egg, this is a rare delicacy. The villagers all watch quietly as one by one their guests crack open the eggs and suck down the insides. When Gunar asks if they only eat this on special occasions, Po then informs them that they “never eat that sh*t” much to the delight of the villagers. They pulled the same prank on the National Geographic people. Suckers!
- The Party’s Over: When some of the Claymore mines go off around the village, the villagers and Gunar’s crew know they are not alone. Goldmouth and some of his men are looking for the jade they think is on the island. A firefight ensues, villagers are caught in the crossfire… but Goldmouth’s men are no match for the professional mercenaries. With his men taken out, Goldmouth makes it to the beach and it looks like he will escape by boat, that is until Grace blows up the boat with a bazooka. Fortunately for Goldmouth he jumped off the boat just in the nick of time.
- Keefer Incorporated: The two investors, Warren and Lyle, who started this whole thing are on a boat off the island, but they have some explaining to do to the man with the power, Keefer. Keefer wonders why they hired Gunar, when the job was in his own backyard. Before the conversation is done, Keefer not only gets the job he becomes one of the partners of the corporation along with Warren, Lyle and a mystery man.
- When a Simple No Won’t Do: Most of Gunar’s crew are enjoying their time on the island while they wait for Gunar to work things out with the village elders over the mining rights. Ocker is in love with a native, Jamaal is teaching the kids how to play football, Jimmy G is trying to make time with Grace… but guys like Nolan and Blades are not happy. Blades is getting increasingly impatient with the whole process and when Gunar, Po, Loki and Loki’s kid go up to the mountain. Blades assumes command and is not nice about it. When he starts threatening the villagers, one of the elders runs out, chops his own hand off and sticks his bloody stump in the fire!
- Voted Off The Island: When Gunar returns after his trip up the mountain and an evening with Loki, he comes back with a different mind set. He is now on the side of the villagers. He immediately orders Blades off the island and tells anyone else who doesn’t like it that they can go to. Nolan goes, so does Jimmy, but much to Jimmy’s chagrin Grace says she is staying. The team is now divided. Meanwhile all the villagers have gone into hiding in a secret cave where they are preparing for war.
- Mystery Man Revealed: Keefer and his new found friend, Blades show up with the mysterious fourth investor… it is none other than Colonel Merrick. Merrick tries to convince Gunar to leave and let Keefer take care of the villagers. Gunar isn’t budging, Merrick tells Nick he envies him since he will die for something he believes in.
At this point the battle lines are drawn and another Keefer/Gunar showdown is inevitable… but this time it will be a fair fight!
Men of War delivers the action. It has a great cast of characters and the story moves at a good pace. It is definitely worth watching. And while you are watching here are two more things to look for…
- Midget Tossing: Blades would not make a good day care worker. He was not afraid to toss some village kids around and the Hulkster wasn’t around to stop him.
- Boobs: At one point in the film Nick Gunar watches a topless Loki bathing while he cleans his gun. And let me make it clear when I say “cleans his gun” it is not a euphemism, he is actually cleaning his gun.