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Recently, I had the pleasure of watching Men of War with Dolph Lundgren. For those wondering what it is, it's a 1994 action/spec ops movie that was actually a direct to VHS release. For a direct to VHS release, this movie is damn good and honestly better than it has any right to be.

Filmed in Thailand, the cinematography is really good. All of the scenes in the pacific have these awesome orange sun-soaked vibes that are very reminiscent of Apocalypse Now and a late 80s early 90s Tony Scott film.

Not only that but the acting is actually pretty good. Dolph himself feels like he has come a long way since Showdown in Little Tokyo and Universal Soldier. While I enjoy those films, his acting was never great. Here he actually gives a performance. He has personality and a little depth to his character. Being almost a Solid Snake/Big Boss like character that is former special forces soldier/retired mercenary suffering from PTSD from the things he did as a mercenary. At times he is serious and he even gets in a few witty quips. Don't expect a Gary Oldman performance but expect a good Dolph Lundgren performance.

Regarding the acting, the supporting cast was great. One of the things I love about 80s and 90s action and horror films that's missing in modern movies that even modern characters have personality. They do something to make their short and small role memorable. For what ever reason this largely disappeared from film when the 2000s came.

Tiny Lister gives a great performance as the hulking Blades. His not just a tough guy but an angry man who feels like society has wronged him.

B.D. Wong is really good as the native villager P.O. His character speaks fluent English but despite being a native he's sarcastic as hell and isn't afraid of the men with guns trying to drive him from his home. He's a great secondary hero with excellent comic relief moments.

Character actor Tim Guinee gives probably the best performance as the former special forces turned hippie. He's a but like Lance from Apocalypse Now if Lance was a functioning drug addict. One point Tim Guinee dons war paint on his face and goes "Heart of Darkness Baby!"

Charlotte Lewis, Catherine Bell and Kevin Tighe also give great performances.

The action in this movie is great. Because of the nature of it being a small band of mercenaries on a small mission, the action feels closer to a 2010s film. It's almost like 90s dialogue/pacing/cinematography and humor meets a 2010s post 9-11 spec ops thriller. The characters feel more Kevin Williamson or perhaps Stephen Sommers while the action feels more like Zero Dark Thirty or 12 Strong. It's hard to explain but when you see it, it makes sense.

The kills are all cold and quick, the soldiers get low and ammo and need to reload and it's kind of gruesome at times! But seriously, for a direct to VHS film this was way better than it had any right to be!


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