Soldiers of Fortune


There is something to be said about a movie that is not only resigned, but also dedicated, to the cause of absurdity. Soldiers of Fortune is the not-quite-ready-for-export product of Russian outfit Globus Film—no relation to Golan-Globus and its Reagan-era Chuck Norris actioners, other than aesthetic kinship. This movie has got it all: facile class resentment, a crass Tiananmen-tank scene, a climactic catfight on jet skis, and a mission objective called Snake Island, ruled with an iron fist by one Colonel Lupo, who looks like an ’80s WWF villain. Christian “Direct-to-Video” Slater lends not a shred of credibility to the role of Craig MacKenzie, a dishonorably discharged American super-soldier who’s recruited by mysterious operator Cecelia (Oksana Korostyshevskaya) to head an unorthodox mission. With the intention of providing relief funds for her oppressed Snake Island countrymen, Cecelia has created a war-games camp for the Forbes 100 set—MacKenzie is to lead a fire team of motley gazillionaires, including a shoot-’em-up video game designer looking for a taste of the real thing (Dominic Monaghan) and an African arms dealer looking to test his product (Ving Rhames). The routine operation, of course, turns deadly real on the ground, where Maxim Korostyshevsky directs the action for maximum disposability, keeping the bodies soaring through the air with regularity. In the face of all this, reason surrenders, only to be replaced by a stupefied grin. Nick Pinkerton