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'No Mercy' (R)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 19, 1986

Pretty Pouters Kim Basinger and Richard Gere spit and spat and inevitably jump each other's bones in "No Mercy," a standard-issue cop thriller that amounts to "Beverly Hills Cop" in a bad mood. It's the old you-killed-my-partner, now-it's-your-turn-dog-breath scenario, warmed over.

As you'd expect, the leading lookers simply sizzle with pent-up passions -- their mouths forever agape, as if they had nasal congestion -- international body language for "I want you, my lips are your lips, take me," and so on.

In his best role since "An Officer and a Gentleman" (and that's not saying much), Gere is hard-bitten Chicago cop Eddie Jillette, whose partner is killed by a Cajun kingpin, a crawfish-country villain played with juicy ruthlessness by Dutch actor Jeroen Krabbe.

Though Basinger denounced her last outing as a sadist's love toy in "9 1/2 Weeks," she returns to the screen as another sex pet. Here she plays the mysterious mistress Michel, bought and paid for as a girl child by the bayou crime boss. She is one of his favorite things.

Meanwhile, Jillette travels to New Orleans County Parish, walks around the French Quarter for a breath of atmosphere and gets into trouble with the local gendarmes. But by using the luscious Michel as bait, he also gets his man. Finishing a sweaty dance in a clingy peach dress that allows her to show off her pits, Michel is kidnapped by Jillette, who handcuffs the sultry she-babe to his wrist and hightails it into the swamps. Here they come to know each other despite their differences, kind of like "The Defiant Ones," with mud.

Director Richard Pearce of "Country" and "Heartland" goes by the book -- the cop movie manual, that is. The screenplay, with its conventions chained together like a gang of familiar cons, is by Jim Carabatsos -- who just wrote "Heartbreak Ridge," which may explain why the dialogue sounds so familiar. But then, both hard-headed Marines and hard-nosed cops are fond of following up acts of kindness with tough lines like "This doesn't mean we're going to swap warm spit." Tough guys are like that, yeah they are.

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