No Mercy (1986)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||1986|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Richard Pearce|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
When one compares the difference between Europe and America, one need only look at the difference between the most sexually repressive nation in the latter (the United States) and the more liberal in the former (Holland). No Mercy, as written by James Carabatsos and directed by Richard Pearce, is a perfect example of said difference, where the difference between heroes and villains gets to be somewhat confused. This is, in fact, one of those films where one will want to root for the bad guy, although I suspect this is an example where said desire is more pronounced among viewers who have seen a fair amount of European cinema. Said viewers will be well aware that Richard Gere as an actor playing the good guy is so far out of his league against a bad guy played by Jeroen Krabbé that it's not funny (Die Hard, anyone?).
The plot centres around a policeman by the hilarious name of Eddie Jillette (Richard Gere), who begins the film on a stakeout when, after acting on a tip that goes awry, he finds his partner murdered by a rather nasty man called Lasado (Jeroen Krabbé). Thirsty for revenge, Eddie goes to New Orleans, where he encounters numerous thugs and a woman called Michel (Kim Basinger). Michel has the insider's edge that is needed in order to bring Lasado down, but first, a huge web of N'awlinsian intrigue has to be cut through, including some laywering by Allan Deveneux (William Atherton), who just happens to be related to one of the links in the tipster chain.
Anyway, we're not here to criticise acting (which I am about to do anyway), and I have seen far less entertaining films with much larger budgets, so No Mercy scores as being entertaining, with notable support roles by the likes of George Dzundza. The director and lead actor put a great deal of energy into the film, which keeps it from being a total write-off, but both Richard Gere and Kim Basinger are two of the most thoroughly B-grade actors I have seen in my life (which is saying a lot). This is not helped by the fact that Krabbé has appeared in a number of my favourite films, and has previously put in performances that make this effort look like a pantomime. Still, if violence, foul language, and suggestive photography in amounts that can legally be shown to early teenagers without supervision is your idea of entertainment, then this will fit the bill nicely.
In the interests of expanding some people's horizons, other films in which you can find Jeroen Krabbé include The Prince Of Tides, Scandal, and a number of Dutch films including Soldaat Van Oranje, which just happens to be a big favourite of mine. Astute readers will also recognise William Atherton from his work in two of the Die Hard films as well as the original Ghostbusters, three roles that can be considered thankless jobs. Anyway, now that I have that minor detail out of the way, let's dive into the presentation...
Four words come to mind when summarising this transfer: good, but not great. This film is roughly sixteen years old, and while it looks better than some efforts with films of this age which I could mention, it does look every one of those years most of the time.
The transfer is presented in the theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.
The first shot in this film had me worried, as it was a rather murky, hazy effort that was also marred by a number of film artefacts, but this improved once the story got underway. The sharpness of this transfer is very good, although it does have a certain harshness about it that is often a characteristic of inferior-quality transfers of older films. The shadow detail is very limited, but thankfully there is no low-level noise to worry about.
The colours in this transfer are rather muted and dull. I cannot tell if this is intentional, but the colour saturation more than anything else is what reminded me that I was watching a sixteen-year-old film. You won't see any vibrant displays of what the format is truly capable of here.
MPEG artefacts were not noticed in this transfer, although the grain inherent in some shots threatened to tip the encoding over at times. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some minor aliasing on fences, such as at 15:44, and on car doors, such as at 62:15. At all times, the aliasing was within acceptable limits. Film artefacts consisted of the usual amount of black and white marks that are to be expected in a film of this vintage.
There are English subtitles present on this disc, but they do not contain any captions for the Hearing Impaired. They also contain the occasional, but very wild, variation from the spoken dialogue. Burned-in subtitles are present at 67:56 to translate a conversation in French between Jeroen Krabbé and Kim Basinger.
There are five soundtracks on this DVD, all of which are in Dolby Digital 2.0 with surround encoding and a bitrate of 192 kilobits per second.
The first, and default soundtrack, is the original English dialogue, followed by dubs in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Because I was ill when I did this review, I stuck to the default English soundtrack, despite being tempted to sample the Italian dub.
The dialogue is clear and easy to understand most of the time, with no serious problems, even with Jeroen Krabbé's accent. The audio sync is also quite good.
The score music in this film is composed by Alan Silvestri, and it does a reasonable job of adding tension to certain scenes. A few contemporary numbers are also thrown in for good measure, but they mostly serve to date the film.
This is a very frontal soundtrack, with only minimal amounts of signal going to the rear channels at all times. One could simply turn their receiver into stereo mode and not miss a thing (ditto for those who wish to simply use the stereo inputs on their television).
The subwoofer didn't get a look-in at any point in the film, although there are numerous sequences where it could have been used to great effect.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is static, silent, and not 16x9 Enhanced. On the plus side, it is very easy to navigate.
This two minute and twelve second trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.
Minimal biographies for Kim Basinger, Richard Gere, and director Richard Pearce.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Definitive information on this title is not easy to come by, but it appears that the Region 1 version of the disc carries an additional Pan & Scan version of the film for those who want to remain in the nineteenth century when it comes to cinematography. Other than soundtrack differences and a handful of extras on our version, there is no real difference otherwise.
There is also a Region 2 version of this film that has been scheduled for release in Germany, which appears to be more or less identical to the local version. There does not seem to be a compelling reason to favour anything other than the local version.
No Mercy is a decent night's entertainment, but it does highlight a problem with the calibre of acting that Hollywood often assigns to its lead roles, and I would only recommend it to fans of Jeroen Krabbé.
The video transfer is above average, but nothing special.
The audio transfer is also above average.
The extras are rather minimal.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-835|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|