The Dogs of War [from Frederick Forsyth’s novel] is an intelligent and occasionally forceful treatment of a provocative but little-examined theme, that of mercenary warrior involvement in the overthrow of a corrupt black African dictatorship.
Script focuses almost exclusively on Christopher Walken, an ‘irresponsible’ American who is drawn to the mercenary’s loner, adventurous life.
Film fails to really get at the heart of the whys and hows of mercenary life, and also rejects the idea of generating any sense of camaraderie among the men.
Details of life in a contempo African dictatorship country, from the bribery and censorship to the military strongarming and oppressive economic conditions, are effectively sketched. Pic displays the political realities without editorializing.