Alright, this week we have to pause and feed the cycle beast. That’s right, it’s time for the Chain Reaction where we continue our misguided attempt to connect each cycle to each other through shared actors. Someday this will bite us in the ass, but that day isn’t today! Last film in the chain was Random Hearts (based-on-a-book). We used Charles S. Dutton to connect from there to a 1986 film called No Mercy starring Richard Gere and BMT favorite Kim Basinger. Not a huge amount to say about the film other than the fact that it’s surprisingly not well known given the star power that it has up front. Let’s go!
No Mercy (1986) – BMeTric: 22.7
(Not very interesting beyond the fact that this looks more “normal” than the recent 1986 film trajectories. Basically, it reaches a asymptote which is far more typical of a 2000 film if I recall correctly (whereas the 1986 films have looked more linear recently). Compared to other recent films this is a much lower BMeTric as well, but Chain Reaction can do that.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Chicago cop Gere storms into Louisiana Bayou country seeking the killer of his partner, falls for Cajun beauty Basinger — who’s been ‘sold’ to the kingpin perpetrator of the murder. Even the mindless melodramas have to make sense, at least on their own terms; this one’s pretty ridiculous. The two sexy stars don’t really click.
(Alright, let’s get this out of the way: great semi-colon work as usual Leonard. But … do my ears deceive more or is there a suggestion that Kim Basinger plays a Cajun beauty in this film? One second, I just need to catch my breath. You are telling me BMT megastar Kim Basinger pretends to be Cajun in this film? It is like Christmas. If you could see the look on my face right now you would think “huh, must be his birthday or something, because he seems unreasonably happy for no reason”. There are no words for how excited I am right now.)
(I really thought for a while there that Kim Basinger wouldn’t speak for the whole trailer and it would keep up the hope that she actually attempts a Cajun accent. Unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be the case. Alas. In an alternate universe this film was made in 1992 and stars JCVD, which makes the fact that Gere actually stars all the more ridiculous.)
Directors – Richard Pearce – (Known For: Leap of Faith; A Family Thing; The Long Walk Home; Country; Heartland; BMT: No Mercy; Notes: Won the Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin Film Festival for Heartland. Father of Remy Pearce, a prominent costume designer and married to Lynzee Klingman, an Oscar-nominated editor.)
Writers – James Carabatsos (written by) – (Known For: Heartbreak Ridge; Hamburger Hill; BMT: No Mercy; Notes: Not much to find about him. Served in Vietnam and then became a screenwriter, but hasn’t done much since the 80s.)
Actors – Richard Gere – (Known For: Pretty Woman; Chicago; Primal Fear; Unfaithful; Hachi: A Dog’s Tale; An Officer and a Gentleman; The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; The Mothman Prophecies; I’m Not There.; Brooklyn’s Finest; Arbitrage; Days of Heaven; American Gigolo; The Cotton Club; Shall We Dance; Runaway Bride; First Knight; Sommersby; Time Out of Mind; Internal Affairs; Looking for Mr. Goodbar; Dr. T & the Women; Breathless; The Hunting Party; Final Analysis; The Hoax; Hachi-gatsu no rapusodî; Mr. Jones; Power; Yanks; Bee Season; BMT: Movie 43; Autumn in New York; Intersection; The Double; Amelia; The Benefactor; No Mercy; Nights in Rodanthe; The Jackal; King David; Red Corner; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1986 for Worst Actor for King David; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Screen Couple for Autumn in New York.)
Kim Basinger – (Known For: The Nice Guys; L.A. Confidential; Batman; 8 Mile; The Natural; 9½ Weeks; Never Say Never Again; Cellular; Wayne’s World 2; The Door in the Floor; Final Analysis; People I Know; Nadine; Fool for Love; BMT: Cool World; My Stepmother Is an Alien; Ready to Wear; The Informers; Bless the Child; While She Was Out; The Real McCoy; The Getaway; Blind Date; The Sentinel; No Mercy; I Dreamed of Africa; The Marrying Man; The Man Who Loved Women; Grudge Match; Even Money; Third Person; Charlie St. Cloud; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2005 for Worst Razzie Loser of Our First 25 Years; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Actress for Bless the Child, and I Dreamed of Africa in 1995 for The Getaway; in 1993 for Cool World, and Final Analysis; in 1992 for The Marrying Man; and in 1987 for Nine 1/2 Weeks)
Also stars Jeroen Krabbé who we’ve seen in The Punisher outside of BMT. Otherwise famous for Ocean’s Twelve and The Fugitive.
Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $12,303,904
(That is probably a giant bomb. But there is little information to tell. But based on the previous films in the cycle I would assume that the budget was something around $15 million dollars at the least.)
#19 for the Travelogue – New Orleans genre: Movies set in or near the city
(Kind of boring. Funny that this is even a chart. And a little surprising New Orleans has been a film mecca for so long. I knew Nic Cage lived nearby and the city gave good tax breaks for filming, but I didn’t really have a good idea for how long. Seemed only recently that Trespass and Escape Plan and whatnot all were set in New Orleans)
Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (3/14): No consensus yet.
(Uh oh, time to generate a consensus: The stars fizzle in this neo-noir thriller with no chemistry. Gere tries hard to save what amounts to a safe and formulaic New Orleans cop drama. It is the best I can do. Funny enough Ebert liked the film and gave it three out of four stars, so it seems a little divisive. A lot of people complimented Gere whereas another reviewer straight up said he hoped he never got another starring gig. That reviewer was disappointed I think. Also, check out the WaPo review for some comedy gold.)
Poster – Sklog Mercy? I don’t know … (B-)
(I actually kind of dig this poster even though it too prominently features the two actors alone with no filter (too many colors as a result). But there is something interesting done with the poster that makes it look like a classic pulp book cover or something and I obviously love the unique font used for the title. Weird framing of everything though.)
Tagline(s) – He is entering her world to track down the killer she is desperate to be free of (C-)
Murder brought them together. Passion keeps them there. (B)
(Two separate taglines appear on the poster. The first one is too long and not clever and a bit botched on its wording. The second is much better but still botches the wording. Would have probably been an A- if it flowed a little better.)
Keyword(s) – neo noir; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.0 RoboCop 3 (1993); 72.6 Striptease (1996); 69.0 Feardotcom (2002); 62.3 Setup (I) (2011); 58.8 The Crow: City of Angels (1996); 57.3 Daredevil (2003); 56.3 Body of Evidence (1993); 55.8 Catch .44 (2011); 54.6 The Prince (I) (2014); 54.5 The Canyons (2013);
(Okay, The Canyons is certainly a very weird neo noir, but I’m a bit skeptical about the others. Like I feel like Striptease is pushing the definition. Feardotcom is certainly pushing it. This list does remind me that I absolutely want to watch Robocop III. It is apparently a huge load of crap. And Robocop II was already a giant piece of crap.)
Notes – As told in his memoir, Kim Basinger’s then husband Ron Snyder found two love letters penned by Richard Gere stashed in a drawer in Basinger’s home gym at the end of April 1986, decided to follow his wife on one of her late night shoots with Gere, tracked the cheating superstars to a restaurant and watched them passionately making out in the parking lot in Gere’s limo. Snyder later confronted her and the marriage survived the affair, until Basinger started another romance on the set of Batman (1989). (uuuuuuuuuuuuuuh, that is quite awkward. But stars will be stars you know?)
The swamp-lands region seen in the picture was the Louisiana Bayou. Producer D. Constantine Conte said: “The bayou scenes were also shot in North Carolina, in swamps full of alligators and cottonmouth snakes. Richard Gere and Kim Basinger’ were very brave to do these scenes without stunt doubles. Director Richard Pearce said: “The air temperature was about thirty-five degrees and the water temperature about forty-five”. SPOILER: Ironically, it is within these scenes shot in the bayou that Eddie Jillette (Richard Gere and Michel Duval (Kim Basinger) warm toward one another and then fall in love. (awwwwwwww)
To offset the cost of production on several films, Tri Star Pictures, who usually released their films on the home market through parent company RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video, sold off the foreign video rights to No Mercy (1986), 8 Million Ways to Die (1986), Night of the Creeps (1986), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), The Squeeze (1987), Nadine (1987) and Gardens of Stone (1987) to CBS/Fox Home Video. (It was a different time back then. 8 Million Ways to Die was very much on our radar for films to watch this cycle, but didn’t make the cut).
The Louisiana leg of shooting also included scenes set in the Vieux Carre Police Station. Production designer Patrizia von Brandenstein said: “We converted a tourist-information-society building with wonderful murals of old New Orleans into our police station. The funny thing was that the building was due to be converted into a real police station and the department asked to keep some of our counters and other fixtures”. (Now that is a fun fact).