Mercenary for Justice (2006)
By: Devon B. on April 6, 2014 | Comments
Sony | Region 4, NTSC | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English Dolby Digital 5.1 | 96 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits

Director: Don E. Fauntleroy
Starring: Steven Seagal, Jacqueline Lord, Roger Gueneveur Smith, Luke Goss, Michael Kenneth Williams
Screenplay: Steven Collins
Country: USA, Aruba, South Africa

I have two problems with the title of Mercenary for Justice. The first is that I don't understand why someone would give the movie a name so close to working with the silent "Steven Seagal is" that precedes so many of his films' titles and then not follow through. This title doesn't work unless an extra "a" is added, but it's not the same to call the movie Steven Seagal is a Mercenary for Justice, so it's no good. The other, and perhaps more substantial, problem is that the title is hugely inaccurate. Stevie and his crew are quite happy to kill people who are simply doing their nine to five jobs, and where's the justice in that? The team's mission isn't all that just either, and Stevie wouldn't be doing it if the bad guy wasn't forcing him to. No, this movie should be called Mercenary by Coercion, or That's it for You, Poophole! The second suggested title is taken from a line of dialogue in the film, but when I went to write up this review I found out it's actually not "poophole" but something much less funny. The line is evidently, "That's it for you, poepol!" and as everybody knows "poepol" is Afrikaans for "asshole." So, really, the line means the same thing either way, but oh to dream of how good it would've been if someone called Seagal a poophole…in the toilet, no less! In fact, somewhere there's probably a version of this movie that's edited for television in Africa, and when the censors got to this line they said, "Well, you can't say 'poepol' because that's too offensive, so you'll need to find a less rude word with a similar meaning that can be dubbed in its place. Hopefully you'll find a word that sounds somewhat similar so the change isn't too noticeable." Yes, I have faith this edition exists, so I'm going to refer to this movie by the name it really should have.

That's if for You, Poophole! gets off to a very convoluted and confusing start as a few people, not poepol, are introduced with titles so you know exactly who they are. Then more people are quickly introduced, but without titles so you only kind of know who they are. There're a LOT of titles and locations, like "Athens Greece" in case you didn't know where Athens was, in the first five minutes, so the beginning is very muddled.

In Africa, Galmoral Island has been taken over by mercs. I guess this is Stevie's team, but a reporter mentions that the coup has been going on for years, and I don't think years have passed between this scene and the first scene. Regardless, Stevie's team are on the island and are annoyed when the French Army arrives to displace them. It's some sort of double cross or something, but it doesn't really matter because Stevie gets away. He then goes to visit the family of a fallen team member, but the rest of his team appear and apprehend him, where he's taken to meet the guy from the first scene who I think did the double cross. The guy forces Stevie to go on another mission.

The film starts very choppily, but once it settles down the viewer can reasonably be expected to follow the admittedly far-fetched situation, at least when the plot makes sense. The movie is very busy, but it's not awesome like Stevie's early work. It takes Stevie a while to turn up, and when he does, he's dubbed by some other guy. Stevie isn't the only one to suffer from sloppy ADR, and the shoddiness of the ADR may account for the wandering accents in the movie. There is the one cool fight in a toilet, but most of the action utilizes guns, and that's not really why I watch Stevie's movies. Also, with the genuinely bad ass Michael Kenneth Williams on hand, it's hard not to compare Stevie's character here to the much more realistic and compelling character of Omar from The Wire.

The genuinely cool factor may be low in That's it for You, Poophole!, but often that can be a recipe for hilarity in a Steven Seagal movie, and there are certainly some things to laugh at. There's a reporter that's allowed to just wander into a war zone, a guard that simultaneously thinks Stevie is representing the Cape Town police and the American government, and a neck break that has all the power of a vogue dance move. As usual, the funniest bit is to do with Stevie, whose hair now looks like something you'd find on a stuffed Glenn Danzig doll. In this movie, Stevie decides that walking away would be too difficult, so he simply teleports himself across the street. So I laughed a few times, but the movie is mostly competent so it's not that funny overall.

A sadly lacklustre effort from Stevie, this won't please fans of aikido and lacks the insanity and inanity of Stevie's more enjoyable (unintentional) comedies. I guess it's an okay direct to video mercenary movie, but it's ultimately disappointing.

The Disc
The image is clean and clear, but colours can be oversaturated. A bit of clarity is lost in darker colours, like when Williams' face disappears in a poorly lit environment, but when the scenes are well lit and are not trying to capture the intense heat of Africa, the film looks much better. The director is very fond of tight close ups, so I hope you like looking at actors' pores. I was pleasantly surprised with the 5.1 track. The movie features a mini war zone and recreates it pretty well sonically. Tanks shoot off into the distance, bullets fly and guns bark. It's a frantic track, but I think that's the goal. After the first few scenes the audio does calm down, but it leaps into life whenever practical.

The only extras are trailers for Freedomland, The Da Vinci Code, The Detonator, Dirty and Today You Die.
The Verdict
Things don't always add up in That's it for You, Poophole!, but unlike a lot of Stevie's DTV movies the plot threads are usually followed through. It's not an entirely awful film, but it's not very exciting either.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
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