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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Mercenary aka "Il mercenario" aka "A Professional Gun Il mercenario" [Blu-ray]


(Sergio Corbucci, 1968)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA)

Video: Kino Lorber



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:46:23.752

Disc Size: 28,043,981,167 bytes

Feature Size: 24,221,663,232 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.94 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 7th, 2017



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1555 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1555 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps






Audio Commentary by filmmaker Alex Cox
Mercenario in Pictures: Animated Image Gallery (6:12)
Promoting Mercenario: Animated Image Gallery (10:21)
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:53)





Description: He Sells Death to the Highest Bidder! Sergei The Polish Kowalski (Franco Nero, Django, Hitch-Hike), a mercenary who's only out for himself and a few dollars, joins up with a Mexican peasant-turned-revolutionary, Paco Roman (Tony Musante, The Bird With the Crystal Plummage) to rob a silver mine in Texas. No longer content to toil for the rich and powerful, Roman plans to bring a new order to Mexico by force with his small ragtag gang. While Roman and Kowalski are outnumbered facing the Mexican army, they also have to contend with Curly (Jack Palance, Ten Seconds to Hell), a vengeful killer out for blood. Top-notch direction by Sergio Corbucci (Navajo Joe) and score by the great Ennio Morricone (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly) helped make The Mercenary one the best spaghetti westerns ever made. Co-starring the beautiful Giovanna Ralli (Cold Eyes of Fear).



The Film:

This spaghetti western finds a despotic mine owner (Eduardo Fajardo) the target for revenge by the idealistic patriot Eufemio (Tony Musante). He hires Bill Douglas (Franco Nero) to incite a revolution that will oust the government and the greedy miner. Douglas agrees as long as his creature comforts are insured during the crossing of the unforgiving desert. Ricciolo (Jack Palance) is the mercenary working for the side of the mineowner. Ennio Morricone provides the music for this violent and humorous film.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

During the Mexican Revolution, Nero, the mercenary Sergei Cowalski, is hired to transport silver to a mine in Texas, only to find that Musante and his co-workers have taken control. Switching sides, the hired gun finds himself teaching the rebel leader how to put his revolutionary ideas into practise, but his idealistic fervour is tested when the men's firepower gathers them a personal fortune. Plenty of baroque touches in this spaghetti Western, including Palance as Curly, a white-suited gay gunman.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Kino Lorber Blu-ray of The Mercenary sneaks into dual-layered territory. The 2.35:1 widescreen has earthy tones and exports a typical dusty-western image. It's 1080P and the source is clean, and I noticed no noise - and there are instances of appealing depth and bright deep colors (Franco Nero's blue eyes). This Blu-ray seemed quite competent in exporting a pleasing HD, and consistent, presentation.





















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1555 kbps (16-bit) in the largely DUB'bed English language. There are typical western effects in the film - guns and haorses. The score by the iconic Ennio Morricone (La Luna, A Bullet for the General, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, U Turn, Stay As You Are etc. etc.) and sounds very suitable to the genre. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

There is an audio commentary by filmmaker Alex Cox - a surprising choice until he exports his knowledge - he is always good to listen to and knows his topic. There are also two animated galleries and an original theatrical trailer.



I had never seen The Mercenary and loved it. Another wonderful collaboration between Sergio Corbucci and Franco Nero. It's easily one of the better pasta-comedy westerns. It lightly touches upon political-moral themes and the film itself is so charismatic with rewarding performances from Nero, Tony Musante, and Jack Palance. The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray offers a solid 1080P presentation and an interesting commentary. I can see why this film developed a niche following - I look forward to my next viewing. Strongly recommended!  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 33% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

October 24th, 2017



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