You're right about the 'flashback structure' (noose structere) : this remark belongs in the review. I just forgot to mention it, but that has been settled now. Thanks.
Like with the two Garko/Cammaso twin movies, 10.000 and 100.000, Diecimila and Centomila (Tweedledee and Tweedledum), the question is always: which of the two is the best. I have avoided the problem a little, after some hesitations. The review was getting too long, even for a Top 20 movie, and it's probably more up to readers to decide such things. Those who prefer This one, usually find The Mercenary a bit 'pointless' (the finale of compañeros, with Yodlaf's choice, is their 'point made'), those who prefer The Mercenary, complain about the script of this movie, using more or less the same arguments as you (a bit flat, not eventful enough).
I still prefer The Mercenary, but Compañeros is getting better with multiple viewings too.
Still have to check the remark on 'the newspaper'
Completely overlooked it!
(Why do all these stupid things always happen to me)