Dark of the Sun

Brutes! Savages! Heroes! They're Mercenaries... They're Paid to do a Job!

War Adventure Drama
101 min     6.5     1968     United Kingdom


A band of mercenaries led by Captain Curry travel through war-torn Congo across deadly terrain, battling rival armies, to steal $50 million in uncut diamonds. But infighting, sadistic rebels and a time lock jeopardize everything.


John Chard wrote:
Muscular Mayhem! Dark of the Sun (AKA:The Mercenaries) is directed by Jack Cardiff and adapted to screenplay by Ranald MacDougall (alias Quentin Werty) and Adrien Spies from Wilbur Smith's novel "The Dark of the Sun". It stars Rod Taylor, Jim Brown, Yvette Mimieux, Peter Carsten and Kenneth More. A Panavision/Metrocolor production, music is by Jacques Loussier and cinematography by Edward Scaife. A band of mercenaries embark upon a dangerous mission during the Congo Crisis... Back upon release it was met with some consternation by critics who thought it overtly violent and unpleasant, today it is met with disdain by the PC brigade who are unable to view a 1968 movie and accept it as just that! Anyone order a curry in a hurry?! Jack Cardiff's picture is a ballsy men on a mission piece, full of meaty muscular mayhem, acetylene augmented action and preposterous political postures. Wonderfully raw, story sends Bruce Curry (Taylor) and his band of not very merry men on a steam train journey based mission through the Congo. They are to retrieve some diamonds and enact the rescue of civilians caught up in the rampage of the Simbas. Enter a very fractured group dynamic - with Carsten's Swastika sporting merc very much a fulcrum - a number of brutal confrontations involving all manner of weapons, and an exhaustive last quarter of film that's in turn terrifying and troubling as it is potent. A major flip-flop in the narrative annoys a lot, and Mimieux - although not doing anything wrong - is merely dressage to lower the testosterone levels. It should be noted that the pic was filmed in Jamaica and not as listed in some reviews as Africa (splendid scenery utilised, though some pointless back projection work annoys and is baffling), while caution is advised on purchasing a home format copy since cuts have been made over the years. This may lack the ferocious nastiness of The Dirty Dozen, or the intelligent action strains of Where Eagles Dare, but it sure as heck fire punches the gut and tingles the adrenaline beats. 8/10