Begging You For Mercy
I never got to watch "No Mercy" back in 1986, I was still too young, but I doubt my opinion of it would be any the different if I had seen it because beneath the styling it is a predictable, formula driven thriller, a cop looking for revenge movie. In fact watching "No Mercy" now it also sadly ends up a bit corny with some cheesy scenes of eroticism and some dull dialogue. Even the sexy casting of Richard Gere and Kim Basinger fails to really liven "No Mercy" up and it is only the fact that director Richard Pearce fills the movie with style that it doesn't end up forgettable.
Whilst posing as a car wash employee as part of a drugs sting, Chicago cop Eddie Jillette (Richard Gere - The Cotton Club) receives info on a man and woman coming in from New Orleans to hire a hitman. Posing as a hitman Eddie meets with the man from New Orleans but things get crazy when a group of men kill the client, almost kill Eddie and then kill his partner Joe (Gary Basaraba) who is watching over the woman Michel (Kim Basinger - Nine 1/2 Weeks). With his partner brutally murdered Eddie is hell bent on getting revenge and heads to New Orleans to track down Michel in order to then track down his partners murderer.
As storylines go "No Mercy" whilst a well written cop thriller is also very cliche. From the bad guys through to the cop seeking revenge it has all been done before and often much better. Even the way the storyline unfolds, whilst thrilling, doesn't really stand out as being amazing. And that's one of the major issues with "No Mercy" there is little if anything which really makes it stand out be it storyline, action, eroticism or casting. What it does have going for it is that it is surprisingly well written, it builds up the storyline tightly so there isn't that many noticeable plot holes or shocking contrivances. If only the writers hadn't worked their way through what seems like a playbook of 80s cop thrillers then maybe I would have been more impressed and more importantly engrossed.
But whilst the storyline feels all too cliche director Richard Pearce has done his best to distract from the ordinary with atmosphere and it has to be said he does it quite well. Be it the scene in an abandoned cabin, on the swamps or in the bar there is no let up when it comes to creating the right mood, atmosphere and tension. Plus of course with two hot sexy stars in Richard Gere and Kim Basinger there is also an atmosphere of sexual tension going on, slowly simmering from the first time that Eddie spots Michel as it builds up to an expected peak. Although it has to be said that the close up camera work on a hot Michel damping down her body especially her breasts borders both on the tacky and exploitive failing to really be anything more than typical 80s titillation.
The biggest problem with "No Mercy" is that it ends up dating badly. Scenes which would have seemed semi cliche back in the 80s, such as the Eddie and Michel sex scene are now very cliche. And that is not the only one as even action sequences which whilst reasonably well choreographed are extremely cliche. But it is the dialogue where it suffers the most and watching Richard Gere deliver over the top dialogue which is meant to establish him as a tough nut cop now ends up as making it far too corny, even comical at some of the guff he has to try and make work.
The corniness doesn't end there because there is not a single character which rises above being either cliche or corny or at worst both. Gere and Basinger work well together, but between their pouting, preening, Basinger's screaming and often breathless delivery of dialogue it's all over the top and corny. And they are not alone because between them George Dzundza, William Atherton, Jeroen Krabbé and Bruce McGill play a collection of cliche bad guys and cops, which look like and act like the stereotypes set up in the 80s for their parts. There is little when it comes to the acting which impresses and it does boil down to the fact that Gere and Basinger do have a sexual chemistry going on which makes "No Mercy" bearable.
What this all boils down to is that "No Mercy" is a stereotypical 80s revenge movie. From the storyline, the characters, acting and action there is little which makes it stand out from the crowd and watching it now it's also seriously corny thanks to the terrible dialogue. But what stops it from being terrible is that Richard Gere and Kim Basinger have chemistry, the writing is solid and despite being cliche it delivers scene after scene of atmosphere.