After 19 weeks and thousands of nominations and suggestions the Underrated series is finally over. Thanks to everybody who has…
He sells death to the highest bidder! Buy or die!
While a Mexican revolutionary lies low as a U.S. rodeo clown, the cynical Polish mercenary who tutored the idealistic peasant tells how he and a dedicated female radical fought for the soul of the guerrilla general Paco, as Mexicans threw off repressive government and all-powerful landowners in the 1910s. Tracked by the vengeful Curly, Paco liberates villages, but is tempted by social banditry's treasures, which Kowalski revels in.
There is a moment in Sergio Corbucci’s The Mercenary when I realized that this Spaghetti Western is going to be something special. Earlier in the film inside a crowded saloon, there’s a poker game going on and the camera’s focused on the table. It pans to the hand of the first player, four jacks, so it’s favorable. The other player shows his and it’s a losing set but it has a pair of queens. “Two ladies...” he glibly replies then the shot immediately cuts to the speaker, chiseled face Jack Palance, “Plus two more makes four...” he smugly mentions and two women randomly appear standing by his side, “And in case of emergency there’s this...” he finally says revealing a…
Dream, Paco, but dream with your eyes open.
-Sergei Kowalski (AKA: The Polish)
Franco Nero starred in Sergio Corbucci's original cult classic, Django, a film that has spawned a ludicrous amount of unofficial sequels and homages. Two years later Nero returned under Corbucci's direction in Il Mercenario (aka: The Mercenary, aka: A Professional Gun), the director's first Zapata Western, and the first film in his Mexican Revolution Trilogy.
While Django was more of a traditional Spaghetti Western, here is one of Corbucci's many films where the protagonists go beyond being anti-heroes and are no better then the antagonists of the film. Nero's character, Sergei Kowalski, goes beyond simply doing things for money and truly has an evil streak within him.…
Rockets to its conclusion with such propulsive energy, humor, and action that you'll barely notice that it went off the tracks somewhere in the middle (probably around where Jack Palance disappears for a large chunk of the movie. It makes his return, thrilling though it is, seem inconsequential to the rest of the plot). By the final frames the bulk of the political subtext has been packed away in mothballs so Corbucci and friends can have more fun with the the characters than they would if they were trying to lecture the audience on third-world revolution and its opportunistic exploitation by first world interlopers.
Is it a coincidence that Palance's character in City Slickers is also named "Curly?"
Another brilliant Sergio Corbucci movie with as lead Franco Nero accompanied by Jack Palance and Tony Musante.
Despite being a very cynical capitalist mercenary (under fire he refuses to fight unless he is being paid in cash upfront) Franco Nero cannot help but ooze charisma and win your heart over.
Tony Musante is excellent as the charming yet quite inapt revolutionary leader Paco Roman, who has a dream but little knowledge and ideas how to run a revolutionary.
Jack Palance, although he is only present in a few scenes, is excellent as the vengeful Curly and has a lovely way of winning at poker.
Highly recommend for any Sergio Corbucci movie lovers!
PS:Again a excellent music score from Mr. Morrione
An especially rollicking look at the Mexican fight for independence, with Franco Nero dropped into the center as the titular gun-for-hire. I experienced a few moments of frustration as the story rollicked a little too jauntily away from coherence at times, but it pulls together wonderfully in the final sequence and I wanted to watch it again immediately. Jack Palance is a delicious villain and Tony Musante mugs agreeably as an immature revolutionary learning as he goes, with tactical assists from "the Pollack" and moral instruction from the luminous Giovanna Ralli, but Nero is undeniably the star. I would love to watch a movie about his mercenary and Elliott Gould's Marlowe trying to see which one can find the most unlikely surface on which to strike a match.
Also, were I a rating sort of fellow, this would get an extra star for the way Franco Nero says "Hello, Curly" at a critical moment in the narrative.
Not quite a personal favorite spaghetti western for me, but I expect that might change on repeat viewings since it builds (and builds, and builds) to a very satisfying third act. Needs a little bit more Palance.
My expectations were probably way too high due to my love for Corbucci's other western, The Great Silence, released in the same year. Despite being a bit bloated, The Mercenary is a solid Spaghetti Western with a good score, great action sequences, and a cool ending.
Directed by Sergio Corbucci this film stars Franco Nero, Tony Mustane, Giovanna Ralli and Jack Palance. A former Polish officer is hired by Mexican miners to help them fight in the Mexican Civil War.
The plot of this film is fairly meandering but full of action set pieces to keep the viewer entertained. Unfortunately the film has little say about either the characters or the Mexican Civil War so has no real depth to it. There is more than a touch of Sergio Leone in at least one sequence but the film never reaches the heights of the master of the genre.
Nero and Morricone's whistle-heavy score are the chief attractions here. There are some fun action sequences and a massive-even-for-this-genre body count but the writing is pretty average. Nero has an interesting character to play but the movie lets him down somewhat. Should probably be a little better than it is.
Somehow I missed this Corbucci western. It immediately became one of my favorites by the director. A high quality blend of action, surrealism, politics and grit.
In many ways this is a dress rehearsal for Compañeros, from Corbucci's political ideas to the dynamics between the main characters. Morricone's score once becomes another classic, Musante is not as fun as someone like Milian, but he's a nice change cast-wise. Sure, the final act is a rehash of For a Few Dollars More finale, but it's nicely done.
Two years prior to Corbucci's "Companeros" came this movie, and they have alot incommon. We have a story that takes place in Mexico. Franco Nero's character is from northern Europe (Poland in this case) and just as in "Companeros" joins up with a boyish mexican revolutionary. We also se Jack Palance as the bad guy.
As a fan of "Companeros" I know this is a good setup for a really great movie. "Companero"s is one of the best western-movies ever made, but this is just half as good. "The Mercenary" are in need of a Tomas Milian as a side kick, a better plot and Palance really need to toughen up, or sissy up some more. Either way is good.…
A cheesy Spaghetti Western done right. You can see all the Tarantino references along with a badass Franco Nero performance, great action set pieces, surprisingly a lot of humor, and probably one of the top standoffs of all time.
Another great Sergio Corbucci western. I really liked Tony Musante in the role as Paco and he held his own with other more high profile actors who've played Mexican bandits like Tomas Milian, Eli Wallach and Rod Steiger. I thought he was a weird fit when I went to watch this, probably because I always think of Musante as the pensive writer in The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, but Musante really played well alongside Franco Nero, like Milian did in Companeros.
I don't think The Mercenary is as strong as Corbucci's Companeros but it has that same kind of carefree, survive by the skin-of-your-teeth chaos to it that I loved. Jack Palance shows up as "Curly", wearing one of the most ridiculous wigs in Western cinema history. He still managed to be menacing. This is right up there with some of the best Italian Westerns I've seen. I've never come across a bad one from Corbucci.
Try coming out of this movie not whistling hard.
- The Hired Hand
- Blood on the Moon
- The White Buffalo
- Face to Face
- 3:10 to Yuma
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- The Proposition
- True Grit
I was going to do a list of movies from the year I was born, since a lot of people…
- The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
- Ride in the Whirlwind
- The Big Gundown
- The Shooting
- Once Upon a Time in the West
A much better decade for westerns than its reputation. Lots of great films and plenty of enjoyable routine ones.