A jaded ex-mercenary and diamond smuggler, looking for a way out of Africa.
- Amoral Afrikaner: Downplayed. He is both quite the Anti-Hero and Politically Incorrect Hero, but he is portrayed with a pretty sympathetic backstory and is ultimately a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Dark and Troubled Past: His childhood was not a happy one; his parents were brutally murdered when he was nine, and then Colonel Coetzee trained him to become a killer.
- Freudian Excuse: His tragic backstory goes some way to explaining how he became such a jaded asshole.
- Not So Different: From Captain Poison; both are amoral men (albeit Poison is ten times worse than Danny is) who want to use Solomon Vandy and the diamond he found to escape Africa.
- Perma-Stubble: Sports this look constantly.
A Mende fisherman trying to provide for his family.
- Action Survivor: An unlucky everyman who's thrust into several life-threatening situations.
- Badass Pacifist: Although he finds himself in many dangerous situations, Solomon never resorts to violence save for when he takes revenge on Captain Poison for endangering his son.
- Berserk Button: Threatening his family. Poison learns this the hard way.
- Determinator: Even though he's a mild-mannered fisherman with no combat experience, he stops at nothing to rescue his son from the rebels.
- The Everyman: Solomon is just a fisherman living with his family in rural Sierra Leone. Through sheer misfortune, he gets thrust into a dangerous intrigue between both the bloodthirsty RUF and a band of opportunistic Boer mercenaries.
- Papa Wolf: Nothing, absolutely nothing will stop Solomon from rescuing his son.
- Scary Black Man: When he's killing Captain Poison, his sheer anger makes him pretty scary.
- Shovel Strike: How he kills Captain Poison.
- Took a Level in Badass: He's just a fisherman with no combat training at all, but he's pushed far enough that he manages to pummel Captain Poison to death.
- Unstoppable Rage: After remaining calm the entire film, Solomon cuts loose on Captain Poison.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He's almost a victim of this from Coetzee.
An American journalist who aids Danny and Solomon.
- Danny: "If you saw this girl, you would not forget it."
- Intrepid Reporter: Maddy is very determined to expose the horrors of the diamond trade.
- My God, What Have I Done?: More of a 'What have I said', but Maddy is very disturbed when she realizes how cynical she's become."The entire country's at war. Why should I help this one person? (beat) I can't believe I just said that."
- Refuge in Audacity: She manages to defuse a stand-off with a local militia by offering to take their pictures.
Solomon's beloved son.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: By Captain Poison and the RUF.
- Child Soldiers: Captain Poison turns him into one.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Dia's a nice kid, and Captain Poison puts him through all kinds of brainwashing techniques to twist him into a merciless soldier. Thankfully, Solomon gets to him before it becomes permanent.
- Living Macguffin: Averted; he's Solomon's motivation but we see plenty of Dia's story and he gets a character arc of his own.
A ruthless mercenary commander who employs Danny.
- Affably Evil: Coetzee can be a pretty likable guy when he's not killing people.
- Amoral Afrikaner: His only motivation is profit
- Bad Boss: He's certainly not above killing his own men without a second thought.
- Big Bad: Coetzee is the most present antagonist.
- Boom, Headshot!: How Danny finishes him off.
- Character Death: Danny manages to get the upper hand on him, shooting him in the chest and then in the head.
- Colonel Badass: Rides in the Hind gunship leading the attack on the rebel mining camp, and his service record indicates this is nothing new.
- Evil Mentor: He recruited Danny when he was just a boy, and turned him into a badass mercenary.
- Expy: Of Colonel Eeben Barlow, the South African head of the extraordinarily successful PMC Executive Outcomes, which turned the war around in Sierra Leone. His firm is one for EO as well, right down to the helicopter gunships and jumbo jets used.
- Mutual Kill: He dies at Danny's hands but not before one of his shots manages to hit Danny in the gut, which ultimately proves to be fatal.
- Playing Both Sides: As noted by Danny. He sells arms to the rebels, then the government pays him to take the rebels out when they become a problem.
- Private Military Contractors: He owns his own mercenary company, a thinly disguised expy of Executive Outcomes.
- Villainous Rescue: He leads an attack on the diamond mining camp in an MI-24 Hind gunship, giving Solomon the chance to kill Captain Poison.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Plans to do this to Danny and Solomon.
Colonel Coetzee's right-hand man.
- Character Death: Danny uses him as a human shield, and Coetzee subsequently shoots him.
- The Dragon: To Colonel Coetzee.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Mention is made of his wife and children.
- Faux Affably Evil: He acts pleasant enough to Danny, but there's a definite smug undertone to the conversation.
- Private Military Contractors: Like Danny, except Brown hasn't retired to become a smuggler.
- We Used to Be Friends: His interactions with Danny give off this vibe.
A vicious warlord of the Revolutionary United Front who comes into conflict with Solomon.
- Arch-Enemy: To Solomon Vandy.
- The Corrupter: He brainwashes young children into becoming Child Soldiers.
- Eye Scream: Early on, Poison loses one of his eyes.
- Freudian Excuse: It's only alluded to, by Poison himself.
- Karmic Death: Ends up getting beaten to death by the man whose son he kidnappped.
- Not So Different: From Danny Archer; both are amoral men (albeit Poison is ten times worse than Danny is) who want to use Solomon Vandy and the diamond he found to escape Africa.
- Scary Black Man: A violent leader of the RUF.
Rudolf van de Kaap
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Of his company.