HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
   
 
Newest Articles
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
   
 
  Dark of the Sun Keep Your Um Bongo
Year: 1968
Director: Jack Cardiff
Stars: Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux, Peter Carsten, Jim Brown, Kenneth More, André Morell, Olivier Despax, Guy Deghy, Bloke Modisane, Calvin Lockhart, Alan Gifford, David Bauer, Murray Kash, John Serret, Danny Daniels
Genre: Drama, Action, Thriller, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: 1960, The Congo, and a crisis has erupted in the country where the rebel Simba army has begun to take over, causing civil war throughout the region, with all the social unrest and huge refugee problem that brings with it. Into the Congolese capital comes Curry (Rod Taylor), a mercenary, and his best friend from the Congolese army Ruffo (Jim Brown), who have a meeting with President Ubi (Calvin Lockhart) with a job for them: go to a town called Reprieve in the middle of the jungle and rescue the townsfolk there - oh, and also pick up a cache of diamonds worth a great amount of money.

Dark of the Sun, also known as The Mercenaries, was drawn from a novel by Wilbur Smith, that expert at man's man adventures based in Africa, a bestseller all over the world although some would place him a level just above Sven Hassel in terms of literary merit. That may be why his books were regarded as pulp fiction and why this subsequent adaptation garnered a snooty reaction at the time of its release, most of the criticism centering on the bloodthirsty violence the filmmakers brought over from the source. This was at a time when such action thrillers were becoming more explicit in the mayhem they could depict, something the next decade would really capitalise upon.

So if you were squeamish in 1968, you would not be found in a cinema watching this, but if you sought fullblooded derring-do to sate your jaded palate, then Dark of the Sun would fit the bill. The African setting (actually Jamaica) would appear to be appealing to those who would see the continent as a hotbed of savagery, and certainly that's the main issue those who disliked it would bring up, as if merely showing tribal violence was racist when the white characters were the focus and seen to be somehow "better" than the black ones, but actually there was a degree of far more ethical shading here than many would give it credit for. Not everyone accepted the morals, which to them looked tacked on at the end, but they were there.

This went further than simply having one nice black character and one evil white character for flimsy contrast, as although that was the case it was more complex than that. Once Curry and Ruffo board the train, they're not alone, as they have had to recruit a platoon of Congolese soldiers too, who are led by the frankly Nazi Henlein (Peter Carsten) - he is even wearing a swastika when we first meet him - and it is he who becomes the main focus for the villainy, more so than the rather anonymous hordes of the Simba who show up much later. The point of this is a battle for the soul of Curry; he's a man of violence, but he likes to think he's doing good and Ruffo is his right hand man and compass when it comes to behaving with decency and nobility.

If this is reducing a national tragedy into merely how it affects one man who's not even a native, then you could take against the film for that, but Curry remains an intriguing personality and Taylor does very well with his portrayal making a double act with Brown which could have done with a few more movies to explore (he'd already starred with harrassed female lead Yvette Mimieux). But primarily this movie's fans liked Dark of the Sun for its uncompromising action, and the set of its jaw as it went about the business of trying to stay uncorrupted while having to take part in most unsavoury dealings, which included a United Nations plane having no qualms about strafing the characters with bullets, a fight with a chainsaw which nearly sees the antagonist with his head crushed under the train wheels, a mass rape of women and men as the Simba dominate, and a final duel to the death which has Curry finally give in to the depravity he has been trying to rise above. If that wasn't shocking enough, there was always Kenneth More (as an alcoholic doctor) telling someone to "Piss off". Fine music by Jacques Loussier.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3426 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: