December 11, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it an A

If you’re a sucker for macho action flicks like The Expendables, then Jack Cardiff’s Dark of the Sun (1968, 1 hr., 40 mins., PG) is required viewing. Need an extra incentive? Just check out the photo of the chain-saw brawl above. Nowadays Cardiff is mostly remembered as an Oscar-winning cinematographer — he shot everything from The African Queen to Rambo: First Blood Part II. But he was also an underrated director. This rollicking red-meat adventure tells the story of a hard-living band of elite commandos (led by a terrific Rod Taylor) who venture into the Congo to recover a stash of diamonds and rescue civilians trapped in a brutal civil war. For years, though, it’s been impossible to get ahold of the movie on DVD.

Thankfully, Warner Archive recently remastered this object of cult devotion (Quentin Tarantino is an outspoken fan) and made it available on its direct-order website ( What you’ll get is a disc stripped of EXTRAS, but a tale as dirty as The Dirty Dozen and as wild as The Wild Geese. Best of all is Taylor, the star of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, who oozes sweaty, 100-proof charisma as he grapples with the choice between doing the moral thing in an amoral world or turning a blind mercenary eye to the whole mess and cashing the check that will put his gun-for-hire life behind him. That is, if the guy with the chain saw doesn’t get him first. A

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