Sunday, 1 January 2017

Retro Review: No Mercy (1986)

No Mercy
1986
Cast: Richard Gere, Kim Basinger, George Dzundza, Jeroen Krabbe, William Atherton
Genre: Thriller
U.S Box Office Gross: over $12 million 

Plot: A Chicago cop heads for the Big Easy in search of those who murdered his partner and ends up involved with the killer Cajun's lover 







'Lawd Have Mercy'

This movie has one word going for it: stale. That's what it is. Everything about No Mercy is stale, boring and pedestrian. But for the location shots and the gritty sounding title. And to think I watched this back in the 1990s when it aired on TV, late one night and enjoyed it - well, as a 30 something adult, things change. 

Chicago cop Eddie Jillette and his partner Joe get a tip from a Louisiana couple who have travelled to the windy city in search of a hit- man. Only to bump into a woman, played by Kim Basinger. When Joe gets killed, Eddie is seeking vengeance, with the help of the hitman's girlfriend. It sounds kind of promising, at first. And yet, that is virtually when the good stuff ends, because from then on, the rest of the film operates as one plain, generic dull cop thriller, the likes of so many we have seen before and after it. 

Richard Gere has shown like in many of his offerings, but for Internal Affairs why I've never been a huge admirer of his films. As a teenager, I always deemed Keanu Reeves as the only wooden actor on the Hollywood block (though I thought he was good in Speed). Nowadays, I'd add Richard Gere to that list: the guy is as one-dimensional as it gets. He has never blown me away in anything he has done. Despite his looks, it is his acting and the types of roles and films he chooses whereby in most of them they are not much to write home about. Almost every film role of his is wasted, given his limited range and that he lacks energy and onscreen presence, as an actor to draw in bigger audiences. And here, he looks completely out of place. He doesn't strike me as being very physical, nor of whom possesses the traits to become a tough guy cop. The role of Jillette could have been easily played by say Bruce Willis or an action film- based actor, and much more effectively and with conviction. Basinger meanwhile is reduced to nothing more than being eye candy for the male audience and having the camera panning on her breasts, as she rubs cold water on them in one scene. 

The cast seems to be going through emotions; so much so, the performances feel as if they are so tacked on. Thus, not one single actor made an impression. Followed by a formula where two people can't stand each other and so they clash and are at odds with one another at first, and later end up working together to foil the bad guys. And even fall in love. Again, this has been done many times over in other films and single-handedly done better in around 80-90% of those efforts than in No Mercy

The only thing going for this film is the location shots of the Bayou, especially the river. That's about it. After seeing the title, I expected this to be an engaging, enthralling action thriller with plenty of twists and shocks. Yet this has virtually none of that. The story is more forgettable rather than memorable and the performances are good.... good enough for this film to be nothing more than B-movie, straight to DVD fodder. Despite it being a big budget film, No Mercy is really a B-movie in disguise with not much substance, very little going for it and then - big stars in Gere and Basinger. Their pairing sounds like an attractive proposition, especially on paper - and yet on screen, they were just not able to deliver the performances that ought to have ignited the spark this film needed.

No Mercy later turns into a revenge story, but the way this is executed just doesn't thrill or excite me at all. To say this is better than Final Analysis, I beg to differ: both films are individually as poor and come off as being so passe, it's unreal. The Louisiana accents sound off in a way in this movie; I don't know, I'm not from that region but judging by some of the criticism, it seems as though they were not that impressive.

The killings are bloodless, which is surprising for a film rated R, as they do not amount to greater effect. 

The protagonists are boring, the villain is boring and they all lack chracterisation. The action is not great at all. Let's face it, personally, it was and is forgettable and it would've been truly more laughable, had it not been a straight-up serious thriller this film is originally billed as. 






Final Verdict:

Richard Gere and Kim Basinger fizzle, rather than sizzle in this taut and lifeless Bayou thriller; lacking in thrills and suspense and this matched with some unimpressive performances. No Mercy has straight- to- DVD written all over it and along with Gere's and Basinger's unconvincing turns, one doesn't have to think long and hard enough why their careers didn't take off in a big way, like with so many other actors and actresses around during the mid 1980s, of whom did go onto bigger and bigger things, later on.

For Richard Gere, but for Internal Affairs and An Officer and a Gentleman, arguably he hasn't had a truly noteworthy and momentous performance in his film career that I truly loved and enjoyed. 

The film itself is not very interesting and the story isn't exciting, enticing or good enough to make you or be it I to draw me into it, as much as it should've done. 

No Mercy is as derivative, pedestrian, one-note and mediocre; so much so that despite the names of Richard Gere and Kim Basinger, it's no wonder this film is not that well known. 

Because it is not that good. 



Overall:


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