January 7, 2020 (NYC)– The Mercenary is a winner. As one of the first martial arts action film releases of 2020, the film offers promise for the genre in the decade that lies ahead.
The straightforward plot involves the failed attempt of an ex-Mercenary to walk away from his violent past after a near fatal assault by his own men. Dominiquie Vandenberg is mesmerizing as the star of this Jesse V. Johnson directed action film. Vandenberg plays Maxx, the Mercenary with a conscience. Maxx struggles to gain redemption in the wake of his near death experience in the sanctity of the Church, whose Priest, played warmly by the recently deceased Carmen Argenziano, nursed him back to health. That sanctity is quickly disrupted by the discovery of Louis Mandylor, Maxx’s former Mercenary Leader, that he is alive. This revelation drives the circumstances of the film’s final act.
Vandenberg, Mandylor, and Argenziano are a real “Triple Threat” in this film. Powerful, engaging performances by all three elevate this film from merely a bloody, violent, action packed movie to a highly entertaining piece of film making.
Dominiquie Vandenberg commands the screen. His years of martial arts training, film work, and military service have converged to, potentially, make him the new decade’s leading martial arts action sensation. As a 50 year old, bearded, balding martial artist I found myself routing a little harder for Vandenberg in The Mercenary.
Jesse V. Johnson does not disappoint. His films are well scripted, well executed, and always well fight-choreographed. He teams with Luke LaFontaine and Malay Kim for this one in the stunt and fight choreography. As is the custom in Johnson films, the fights are graphic, brutal, fascinating to watch, and realistic. Vandenberg’s skills with a knife is woven into the fight choreography in ways that I have never found so enjoyable to watch.
The Mercenary is a watchable, adult, action thrill ride. I highly recommend you watch it and then watch it again, just because it is that good.
-Review by Marc Zirogiannis, Editor-in-Chief