Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Expect No Mercy
EXPECT NO MERCY (1996)
Directed by: Zale Dalen
Written by: J. Stephen Maunder
Starring: Billy Blanks and Jalal Merhi.
Martial arts and virtual reality collide head on for the action cheese-fest, Expect No Mercy. Starring everyone’s favourite Tae-Bo instructor, Billy Blanks, Expect No Mercy is another fight extravaganza from low budget producer, and co-star, Jalal Merhi (Fearless Tiger). A high tech facility, known as the Visual Arts Academy, is training young people to be the best fighters through virtual reality technology. However, a spot of moonlighting is occurring as the Academy’s founder, Warbeck (Wolf Larson) is training these would be students to be deadly assassins. Enter undercover agents Justin (Blanks) and Eric (Merhi) to bust this illegal organization, and a few heads as well.
Jumping on the mid-nineties (brief) virtual reality bandwagon, Merhi has produced another bargain basement action flick. The now outdated computer effects range from the decent and sort of retro cool to the downright awful. The film fails with its virtual reality angle, as the filmmakers obviously didn’t have the budget to pull it off effectively. The fights set in the virtual world are dull and uninspired and feature an array of increasingly ridiculous opponents who look like rejects from a panto. The film starts off well with an efficiently staged assassination set piece but becomes somewhat befuddled once the virtual reality concept kicks in. The acting, as expected, is often sub par. Larson overacts out of his hair extensions, Merhi is as charismatic as a plank of wood and while Blanks is likeable, his dialogue is a constant barrage of lame one liners: “It’s time for some steam cleaning.” What?
However, the film is saved by some pretty energetic (and non-stop) action scenes, which are mercifully unhampered by dodgy CGI. Blanks’ has a brutal dust off with his real life brother, Michael, and there is an excellent extended shoot-out at a remote cabin. The flick also moves at a fair pace and is made bearable by some decent camerawork and production values. It’s a typical low rent action pic, but Expect No Mercy is brainless entertainment that gets by on its attempts at creativity. Get your buddies round and the beers in and enjoy the bone crunching daftness.