Follow TV Tropes


Film / Men of War

Go To
Before there was Gunnar Jensen, there was Nick Gunar.

Men of War is a 1994 action film starring Dolph Lundgren. Other notable actors include B.D. Wong and a young Catherine Bell (before her debut appearance on JAG no less).

Nick Gunar is a depressed special ops soldier-turned-mercenary that is coaxed into a job by his former commanding officer, Colonel Merrick. He's tasked with leaning on a tribe inhabiting an island in the South China Sea to sell the rights to their mineral deposits. In order to do so, he rounds up a diverse band of associates well versed in the art of war.

Once they actually reach the island, things turn out to be more complicated than they initially seemed...

This movie provides examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene
  • Affably Evil: Colonel Merrick.. He is genuinely disappointed and saddened when Nick decides to help the villagers, and arranges a boat and supplies to give Nick a way out without having to kill him.
    Col. Merrick: I envy you. You're going to die for something you believe in.
  • Artistic License – Physics: At the range the Colonel was shot at with the Carl Gustav, both Nick and Keefer should have taken *some* damage.
  • Ax-Crazy: Keefer loves war and killing a bit too much.
    Keefer: Kinda reminds you of Angola, doesn't it Nicky? Mmmh? All that burning flesh? God, I was afraid I would never breathe this smell again, Nicky!
  • Bad Boss: Keefer kills one of his own men in order to pin a murder on Nick. Of course, since his other troops don't retaliate, either they're scared of him or incredibly loyal.
  • Badass Crew: Everyone that Nicks gathers for his job is a badass in their own way.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ocker seems to be one of, if not the, most mellow members of Nick's crew, but shows how ruthless he is at killing when the time comes.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At one point, Nick is about to be killed by Nolan when the latter is shot in the back by Loki, Nick's love interest.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Nick and his remaining loyal crew manage to end the corporation's exploitation of the island and its inhabitats, but many natives (as well as Jimmy and Ocker) have lost their lives.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Jimmy gets killed.
  • BFG: The Carl Gustav that Nick brings along.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: In the climax, after some bare-fisted fighting, Keefer gets impaled through the throat and jaw with a sharp bone fragment, and is then drowned in a mud pool by Nick.
  • Determinator: The villagers themselves epitomize this trope, though one in particular really stands out. When Blades decides enough is enough and starts full-on terrorizing the villagers in Nick's absence, a village elder steps forward with a handaxe. At first, it seems like he might attack one of the mercenaries, but he instead proceeds to get on his knees and chop his own hand off before cauterizing the stump in a fire and then offering the severed hand to Blades with his remaining good hand as a sign of defiance!
  • Dual Wielding: Schtick tactic utilized by Jimmy.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When shown the decapitated heads of his employers, the Colonel decides to stop fighting. Not that it does him much good...
  • Evil Brit: Keefer.
  • Extended Disarming: Upon checking into the Southeast Asian bar, Jimmy is stopped by a metal detector at least three times and ends up producing an arsenal of weapons to the doorman/bouncer.
  • Large Ham: Keefer.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Blades, Nolan, and Jimmy.
  • Friend to All Children: Jamaal eventually bonds with and is saved by a group of boys he teaches to play football.
  • Good-Looking Privates: Nick, Keefer, and Grace aren't exactly ugly.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Nick, Jamaal, Grace, and Ocker eventually decide to stop their intimidation of the island's inhabitants, and instead protect them from exploitation. Jimmy comes back to help, though he was motivated more by love.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: When the islanders decide that they want to go back to the ways of the Old Ones....look out.
  • Love Redeems: Jimmy decides to defect back because he truly loves Grace.
  • Made of Iron: Blades. He manages to survive a Carl Gustav blast, resulting only in some facial scarring.
  • Neck Snap: How Blades kills Ocker.
  • Missing Backblast: Averted. You do NOT want to stand directly behind a rocket launcher.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: What Nick endures at the hands and feet of Keefer in order to keep his men from being arrested on a bogus charge.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Right after Nick attempts to chop Keefer in the skull with an axe...that harmlessly breaks.
    • Some mooks start running for their lives when they see Nick aiming at them with his trusty Carl Gustav.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Usually muttered by Nick when he's about to blast someone to bits with the Carl Gustav.
    • Spring, era jävlar! (Swedish for "Run, you bastards!")
    • You want a firefight? You got one!
  • Psycho for Hire: Keefer.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    Keefer: Torch the jungle! EARN. YOUR. BLOODY. MONEY!
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Though good at the art of fighting, each member of Nick's crew has their own assorted flaws and troubled past.

  • Redemption Equals Death: Jimmy.
  • Redshirt Army: Most of Merrick's band of hired guns are woefully incompetent and end up summarily slaughtered.
  • Scary Black Man: Again, played straight with Blades and averted with Jamaal.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Nick carries an Armsel Striker as his primary weapon, which he puts to good use.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Blades and Keefer. The latter, moreso.
  • The Big Guy: Both Blades and Nick are the biggest members of their crew.
  • The Gambling Addict: Nolan. So much so, he comes back to fight against Nick and those that stayed loyal to him because he preferred those odds.
  • The Squadette: Grace seems to know about weapons as much as any of the other guys, gets into the swing of things during a bar fight, doesn't seem to mind roughing it, and fights just as hard when the time for action comes.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Grace is the only female merc in Nick's crew.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: Downplayed. The villagers already have a history of warfare, and only need minimal instruction from Nick and his remaining crew.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Oddly enough, after Keefer takes off his uniform shirt to throw down with Nick, he is never seen wearing another shirt for the remainder of the film.
  • Warrior Poet: Downplayed with Ocker. While he's shown to be at least somewhat reverent/spiritual, this aspect of his character is never given a thorough exploration.