A few good kicks can’t rise this above mediocrity
The Last Mercenary is a loud, cheesy action flick with an equal dose of eye-rolling and genuine chuckles. The film itself is essentially a throwback to a bygone era, and for some they’ll absolutely love this. For others, this will feel less like a self-aware love letter and more a regurgitation of tired and cliched tropes we’ve seen before.
The story itself revolves around a man named Richard Brumere. Known as ‘The Mist’, Brumere is a former secret service agent who’s now working as a rogue mercenary. During a mission early on, he receives a message from secret agent Fernand; Brumere’s son Archibald is in danger.
This immediately sees Richard return to France where he finds out Archibald has been falsely accused of drug trafficking by the police. As our unlikely duo team up, they uncover a much larger conspiracy at work and assemble their own team to uncover the truth.
There’s a bit more going on in the plot than that though, with scene-hopping shenanigans stitched together with hit-and-miss comedy and a mixed bag of action.
The former most notably settles on slapstick, misunderstandings and absurdist comedy for much of the run-time. Admittedly, there are a few good jokes in here, but equally some real duds too – this is material we’ve seen a million times before and none of it feels all that original.
By comparison, the action start off with a pretty impressive car chase but fails to really use that as a stepping stone to better things. To be fair, there are a couple of decent segments involving Van Damme – a creative locker room brawl for instance – but everything else feels like well-worn ground.
The plot is largely unsurprising too, with an obvious climax thankfully smothered by an earlier twist uncovering who the mastermind is. No spoilers here of course, but it’s a welcome injection of drama nonetheless.
Despite its flaws, The Last Mercenary has just enough in the tank to last a few rounds; just don’t expect anything punching above mediocrity with this one.