Combustible Celluloid
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With: Christian Slater, Sean Bean, Ving Rhames, James Cromwell, Colm Meaney, Dominic Monaghan, Charlie Bewley, Ryan Donowho, Oksana Korostyshevskaya, Sarah Ann Schultz, Gennadi Vengerov
Written by: Robert Crombie, Alexandre Coscas, Joe Kelbley
Directed by: Maxim Korostyshevsky
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language
Running Time: 94
Date: 06/07/2012

Soldiers of Fortune (2012)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Pain Customers

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Soldiers of Fortune has a good cast, and most of them try their best, but it's a wonder as to why any of them actually signed on for this lopsided movie. 

In Afghanistan, soldier Craig McCenzie (Christian Slater) disobeys orders to rescue his buddy (Freddy Rodriguez) from the clutches of a crooked CIA man, Mason (Colm Meaney). Years later, out of work, he is forced to sign up for "Soldiers of Fortune," a program in which billionaires can play war games without getting hurt. Unfortunately, everything goes wrong, and McCenzie is stuck behind enemy lines with several wealthy civilians (Ving Rhames, James Cromwell, Sean Bean, Dominic Monaghan). What's more, his old nemesis Mason is also around, backing a notorious enemy general. Can McCenzie get his men back to safety, and also clear the slate?

At first the movie seems to be a satire or a social commentary, inventing a real-life war game for rich people. But then it becomes concerned with the rich characters learning how to work together and becoming less selfish. That would be fine if the main character (Christian Slater) had a similar arc, but his entire point is to get revenge against the man who messed up his life.

As for the writing and directing, the movie seems to just go through the motions, copying whatever scenes or ideas seemed to work in other movies, but which do not necessarily work again here. Characters' motivations are cloudy or nonsensical, and attempts to generate suspense range from frustrating to laughable. Perhaps the movie could have worked better if it had gone with a wickeder, more satirical worldview, but as of now it has nothing to say.
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