Mockbusters. What are these great gems you speak of? Well let me drop some knowledge on you. A mockbuster is pretty much a low-budget straight-to-DVD movie that is meant to piggyback off the publicity of a major film that has a similar name and/or theme. Piggybacking off of The Expendables 3 is the movie Mercenaries a.k.a. Expendabelles 3.0 (it says it in the title screen). Mercenaries stars a who’s who cast of the top female action stars that…wait a minute, that would be the currently in-the-works Expendables spin off, Expendabelles (yup it’s still a thing). This movie stars a veritable who’s who cast of actresses we’ve either forgotten about, never really heard of, or just stopped caring about.
Mercenaries is about four female convicts who were former government operatives who possess a certain set of skills that the CIA needs in order to save the president’s daughter. Why does the president’s daughter need saving? She’s been kidnapped by a psychotic warlord, of course! Obviously, this is an off-the-books mission and if they are successful they are free from prison (of course). The Mercenaries are played Zoe Bell (Raze), Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill Vol 1), Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), and Nicole Bilderback (Bring It On) with the warlord being played by none other than Brigette Nielsen (Rocky IV).
Like The Expendables, each character has a set of skills that makes them stand out: Zoe Bell is a former Delta Force with a mysterious past, Nicole Bilderback is an explosives expert and pilot, Kristanna Loken is an ex-Marine Corp scout sniper, and Vivica A. Fox is a former CIA agent.
This movie is bad - like unreasonably bad - but it does have some unintentionally funny moments. Like president’s daughter trying to use a knife that you can see is bending when pressed against someone’s neck. And the extremely long gunfight where only three people get shot…out of 20. My all-time favorite scene is Zoe Bell giving a spin kick session to a group of henchmen, armed with AK-47s and no intent on shooting this woman at all.
The story isn’t anything you haven’t seen before, with a double cross that you see coming a mile away to boot. That would be fine if the action (and the acting…oh God, the acting) compensated for it. I know it’s a low-budget movie, but we’ve see low-budget projects with way better action, props and CGI. So I don’t see how these straight-to-DVD movies would be any less responsible for their failure to deliver. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled way too much. Who knows?
What I do know is that you shouldn’t watch this movie by yourself. Watch it with a friend or, even better, a group of friends that enjoy getting off some jokes at the expense of bad movies.