Mercy Streets (2000)   3/53/53/53/53/5


David A.R. White in Mercy Streets (2000)

Show it Some Mercy

He was planning on going straight, but when John (David A.R. White - The Moment After) got out of prison his old partner in crime, Rome (Eric Roberts - The Prophecy II), was waiting and ready to talk him into doing one more job. Having regretted agreeing and accepting 50k from Rome John decides to run only to lose the money down a drain and then finding himself being hunted down by Rome. With nowhere else to go John heads to the home of his estranged twin brother Jeremiah a man of the cloth. But when Rome shows up and takes Jeremiah thinking he is John it not only forces Jeremiah to act like John but John has to pretend to be Jeremiah and take on his spiritual duties.

As a Christian and a movie reviewer one of the things which frustrates me is when people won't even give a movie a fair go because it is labelled as being "Christian Cinema". Sometimes these movies can be a surprise and that is that case of "Mercy Streets" as in truth it is an improvement on the norm when it comes to Christian movies. Now before I go on let me say that compared to big screen, Hollywood movies of course this doesn't compete but director Jon Gunn gives "Mercy Streets" both style and energy which lifts it up above the norm.

Eric Roberts in Mercy Streets (2000)

Now lets be honest the first hour of "Mercy Streets", once we have the twins switching places. is pretty obvious. As John finds himself in the religious shoes of Jeremiah he immediately tries to work a con but finds something deeper whilst Jeremiah having to act a criminal finds himself confronted by temptation. The set up to this moral conflict is obvious but I use the word moral because that is why "Mercy Streets" is more than a movie which forces a Christian message. Sadly the final third of the movie from a narrative point of view falls apart which really is a shame as what goes before is good.

What makes it good is firstly director Jon Gunn brings a nice edge to "Mercy Streets" with some nice action scenes and a visual style which is between independent and mainstream with some creative use of slow motion and freeze frames. He also uses a decent soundtrack which makes this feel anything but a stuffy piece of Christian cinema. But he also shows that you can make an action thriller with out the need for the characters to swear every other line or end up in bed. He also delivers just the right amount of humour so that he gets that desired smile but never takes it too far into the realms of making "Mercy Streets" cheesy.

But secondly we also have David A.R. White who is good at playing the twins and giving them mannerisms to differentiate between them. Yes you could say that as John he is not a real bad guy but he gives him a reasonable edge which makes him entertaining rather than dangerous. Entertaining is definitely the word for Eric Roberts who has some great fun with intentionally fun lines and acting the bad guy as Rome.

What this all boils down to is that I will be the first to admit that "Mercy Streets" is not great cinema but it is better than most direct to video and TV movies thanks to the acting and the directing. So basically I am saying give "Mercy Streets" a go even if Christian cinema is not your thing as it might surprise you how entertaining it is.


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