The year is 1917 and the Mexican Revolution is in full swing. Set against this backdrop, The Professionals is a hard-hitting western that tells the story of a group of mercenaries hired by an arrogant Texan oil baron, J.W. Grant (Ralph Bellamy), to rescue his kidnapped wife Maria (Claudia Cardinale). Maria went riding across the border into her native country Mexico, and was kidnapped by a ruthless revolutionary, murderer, thief, and all-round bad guy Captain Jesus Raza (Jack Palance). Raza has Maria stored away in a hideout protected by a 100-strong army and demands a $100 000 ransom for her safe return.

Will the hired guns be able to reclaim the billionaire’s trophy? Read on and find out.

The hired men gather at Grant’s private rail car on the Mexican border. Each professional has a unique set of skills —Henry “Rico” Fardan (Lee Marvin) is a weapons specialist, Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan) is a hardened horse wrangler, and Jake Sharp (Woody Strode) is a master bowman. Rico convinces Grant that dynamite is needed for the caper and gets explosives expert, Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster), sprung from prison. Fardan and Dolworth are long-time friends, and even took part in the Mexican revolution. They were old comrades of Raza’s and know both the territory and their enemy.

Grant promises to reward each professional $10,000 for the return of his wife, and upon agreeing to the deal, the four men set off into the rugged, unforgiving Mexican desert to complete the contract. Along the trail, they encounter and outshoot splinter groups of Mexican desperados, getting ever closer to Raza’s heavily fortified camp. The men know they are vastly outnumbered, but still draw up and execute their plan of attack. When they find Maria, they also discover that all is not what it seems, and the mission has been further complicated; a realization that may have come too late as former allies now prepare for the final showdown…

The Professionals has a run time of 117 minutes and is rated PG. This Blu-ray release presents the film re-mastered in High Definition (HD) and comes with special features including:

  • The Professionals – A Classic — a testimonial by Martin Campbell (director of Casino Royale).
  • Burt Lancaster: A Portrait — a tribute to the late actor by his daughter, Joanna Lancaster.
  • Memories from The Professionals — actresses Claudia Cardinale and Marie Gomez discuss different aspects of the film.

The Professionals was kindly supplied for review by Nelmari Claassens, SterKinekor Home Entertainment Marketing Manager for Sony Pictures. Go to www.bluraydisc.co.za to view the latest Blu-ray news, reviews and competitions featured on SterKinekor Home Entertainment’s newsletter. Sony Pictures can be found on the Web at www.sonypictures.com.