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‘No Mercy’ (R)

By Paul Attanasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 23, 1986

In "No Mercy," Eddie Jillette (Richard Gere), a maverick Chicago cop with a mouth like a sewer, gets a tip that a couple from New Orleans has traveled to the Windy City looking to hire a hit man. He also hears that the woman (Kim Basinger) is drop-dead gorgeous. That's all Jillette needs to hear. He's that kind of guy.

As Basinger flounces across the screen, you might expect Roy Orbison to warble, "Mercy." But he doesn't. Do you know why he doesn't? Because there's noooooo mercy!!!!!!

Jillette masquerades as the hit man, but the operation is a botch, and Jillette's partner is brutally murdered. As we all know, the bond between partners is stronger than the love of brothers, the vows of the priesthood, the law of omerta`, the code of chivalry, the blood oath of the Cherokee, loyalty to the principles encoded in "The Marine Hymn," scout's honor or adherence to an installment agreement for the purchase of consumer durables. All of which boils down to one thing: Jillette has to find that woman, and when he finds her, he will show her noooooo mercy!!!!!!

Well, find her he does, and he drags her by the handcuffs through the Louisiana bayous, only to discover that it wasn't her fault at all. In fact, as a young girl she was sold to a drug dealer and slave trader named Losado (Jeroen Krabbe). Losado is one vicious guy. He doesn't have a coat of arms, but if he did have one, it would say something like this:

Noooooo mercy!!!!!!

(Only in Latin.)

Count me among those who would be perfectly happy if they never saw another movie in which a big-city cop, fueled by the death of his partner, seeks revenge against a corrupt small-town sheriff, a wily and ruthless pillar of the Establishment, a psychotic killer or (as here) all three. While you're at it, count me among those who would be happy never to see another starring role for Gere, except maybe as Felix in a remake of "The Odd Couple."

Gere suffers by comparison with the uniformly fine supporting cast (including Gary Basaraba and the remarkable William Atherton), contributing his usual preening to the unlikely role of a tough guy. Basinger has elsewhere insisted on being taken seriously as an actress. This translates to pouting, strutting around in a form-fitting negligee and rubbing her breasts with cold water through a diaphanous blouse, a scene director Richard Pearce, with impeccable good taste, shoots in close-up.


"No Mercy" is rated R and contains graphic violence, considerable profanity and mild sexual situations.

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