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Men of War (film)

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Men of War
Film poster
Directed by Perry Lang
Produced by Arthur Goldblatt
Andrew Pfeffer
Written by John Sayles
Ethan Reiff
Cyrus Voris
Starring Dolph Lundgren
Charlotte Lewis
Music by Gerald Gouriet
Paul Rabjohns
Cinematography Rohn Schmidt
Edited by Jeffrey Reiner
MDP Worldwide
Pomerance Corporation
Grandview Avenue Pictures
Distributed by Miramax Films
MDP Worldwide
Release dates
  • September 3, 1994 (1994-09-03) (Japan)
  • December 19, 1995 (1995-12-19) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6 million[2]

Men of War is a 1994 action film directed by Perry Lang, written by John Sayles, and revised by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris. It stars Dolph Lundgren as Nick Gunar, a former Special Ops soldier who leads a group of mercenaries to a treasure island in the South China Sea.


Nick Gunar, an ex-soldier, is down and out in Chicago in a typically cold winter. When two men offer him a job on a tropical island, he reluctantly agrees and gathers together a group of soldier friends also down on their luck. They arrive in the Far East and come up against the evil Keefer, who was with them in Angola. He now owns the local police force and shows Nick and the others who's boss. Afterwards, Nick and his crew go to the island, which they find is occupied by peaceful natives. Nick respects them, but there is friction caused by a few mercenaries who want to kill natives to reveal where the treasure is. Nick stops them and finds out the treasure they are after is guano (which does have value in sufficient quantities). The two men intend to strip the island to get it, leaving the natives as casualties. The group divides up, and Nick hands half of them their marching orders (and pay) as he refuses to kill the natives to do the job.

Meanwhile, Keefer and the Colonel, who have scented money, join the group Nick kicked out. Many are shot, stabbed, blown up, and worse in the ensuing battle. Though poorly armed, the natives make up for this in trickery and local knowledge. Nick has a bazooka-style weapon (a Carl Gustav), which causes mayhem. After a number of attacks by both sides, many are dead and there is a final showdown between Nick and Keefer; Keefer gains the upper hand in the fist fight and attempts to strangle Nick to death while drowning him. Nick manages to grab a nearby bone and stab Keefer in the neck, then proceeds to drown him. As the natives bury their dead, the few surviving mercenaries leave, but Nick stays behind.



Sayles' original idea for the plot involved a mercenary who rethinks his life when he comes upon a tribe of pacifists. Rewrites from Reiff and Voris added more testosterone-fueled action.[3] Filming took place in Thailand in September 1993.[4]


Vision International sold the rights to distribution at the 1993 American Film Market.[5] Dimension initially released Men of War in the United States in 1995.[6] On November 14, 2000, Dimension released the film on DVD in the United States in Region 1.[citation needed] On February 23, 2009, Anchor Bay Entertainment released it on DVD in the United Kingdom in Region 2.[7]


Michael Sauter of Entertainment Weekly rated it C− and called it a "straight-to-video clunker".[8] Susan King of the Los Angeles Times called it "a better-than-average straight-to-video action thriller."[9] Leigh Riding of DVDactive rated it 7/10 stars and called it "a sturdy action drama" that is "surprisingly intriguing and entertaining".[7]


  1. ^ "MEN OF WAR (1994)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  2. ^ "Men of War". The Numbers. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  3. ^ Ryan, Jack (1998). John Sayles, Filmmaker. McFarland Publishing. p. 50. ISBN 9780786405299. 
  4. ^ Klady, Leonard (1993-02-25). "Vision pacakge unveiled for market". Variety. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  5. ^ Groves, Don (1993-03-02). "AFM ’93; Vision's CEO drops prez title". Variety. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  6. ^ Perren, Alisa (2012). Indie, Inc.: Miramax and the Transformation of Hollywood in the 1990s. University of Texas Press. p. 129. ISBN 9780292742871. 
  7. ^ a b Riding, Leigh. "Review: Men of War (UK - DVD R2)". Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  8. ^ Sauter, Michael (1995-12-15). "Men of War (1995)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  9. ^ King, Susan (1995-12-15). "Alternatives for Rekindling Holiday Spirit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 

External links