Sunday, June 25, 2017

Now on Netflix: Mercenary (2016)

Mercenary (2016) - Written and Directed by Sacha Wolff; Starring Toki Pilioko, Iliana Zabeth, Mikaele Tuugahala, Laurent Pakihivatau, Petelo Sealeu.

By Kenny Howell

A young Wallisian man from New Caledonia is recruited to play rugby in France, and his life spins out of control in this Netflix original film.

Soane gets picked by a ruthless agent named Abraham to make the move to the hub of rugby in France. Soane takes him to see his abusive father, but he is not willing to let him leave. He tells Soane that if he leaves, he no longer has a son. This doesn't stop him, as Soane decides this is a step he has to take. He then wakes him one night to his father telling him he needs to get out and never return.

Things don't get easier when he gets to France. The man he was supposed to play for meets him at the airport, but instantly rejects him because he is not over 300 pounds like he was told. Soane seeks out a distant family friend who sets him up with a small club in tiny French town, and his professional career begins.


But things still don't get easier. Some of his teammates don't accept him right off, Abraham is on his ass as if he owns him, and he hasn't started performing well on the field. But he does meet a local girl that keeps him grounded until he can work things out.

There isn't much revolutionary about Mercenary. The person leaving their fractured family behind to go achieve their dreams is a story told tons of times. What Mercenary does have working for it is it tells this story in a world not usually seen, with a man of Wallisian decent playing in the world of French rugby. Writer-Director Sacha Wolff is also not afraid to show the harsh reality without laying it on too thick. Soane already has to deal with his horrible father, but he also has to battle the terrible people like Abraham that got him to France. It makes a traditional story seem more original and human, and a peak inside a world we don't often see.

Mercenary is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: ***

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