DARK OF THE SUN (1968)
I've been itching to see Dark of the Sun for a long time. Until its release on Warner Archives DVD-R last year, it's been pretty hard to track down. It has a reputation as a mean little action picture, and it didn't disappoint.
The movie takes place in the former Republic of Congo during the early days of the bloody Simba Rebellion. Rod Taylor stars as a hard-ass mercenary named Curry, hired by the government (backed by a powerful Belgian mining consortium) to lead a hand-picked strike team up 300 miles of Simba-held country and rescue the people stranded in Port Reprieve -- or more importantly for the government, the $50 million in diamonds held in the mining company's safe.
Curry's right-hand man is Ruffo, played by Jim Brown (in perhaps the best performance of his career). Unlike Curry, Ruffo fights for ideology, not money. The Congo is his country, and he wants to help put things right. Despite these differences, the two men are close friends, and we get the sense that they've been through many previous missions together.
Curry reluctantly brings the racist ex-Nazi Henlein (Peter Karsten), current commander of the Congalese military, onto his team, along with 20 of his best soldiers. He also lures an alcoholic doctor (Kenneth More) into his scheme with a case of Scotch.
Curry and his men quickly commandeer an old steam-powered train and head off on their mission. Along the way, they rescue a woman (Yvette Mimieux), the only survivor of a Simba raid on her family's plantation.
Crashing through a U.N. barrier, the rescue team speeds on to Port Reprieve, but not before tempers flare and Curry and Henlein throw down in a vicious chainsaw fight.
Alas, the final showdown between these two will have to wait until later. There are still people and diamonds to rescue, and the clock is ticking. Somehow word of their coming has been broadcast throughout the country, and the race is on to fulfill their mission before a platoon of Simba rebels converge on the little mining town...
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