The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Expect No Mercy (1995)

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I didn't exactly what to expect with this movie, but I definitely knew what not to expect, and that was mercy. I think it's good that they let us know that going in though, that way if I do get some mercy, it was totally unexpected and refreshing. This was also reviewed over at Cool Target Action Reviews if you want to get a second opinion.

Expect No Mercy has Wolf Larson as an extremely Shaun Cassidy looking baddie that runs a virtual reality martial arts training facility/paid assassination business. Jalal Merhi is the man on the inside trying to get evidence against them, and DTVC favorite Billy Blanks is another cop sent in to help him after the previous dude in Blanks's spot was killed. Can they get the evidence they need and stop Shaun Cassidy in time before he assassinates a prosecution witness?

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This wasn't too bad. Solid 90s action schlock. Blanks and Merhi had some great fights, Anthony De Longis was a solid head baddie's hatchetman, and the action was definitely there. At one point, things slowed to a crawl, and I was thinking this review would sound different than it is, but that slow to a crawl was only the calm before a too sweet shootout at a remote cabin. As far as the 90s schlock goes, great throwback virtual reality silliness, with the headgear, the special effects, a disembodied Jalal Merhi head-- everything you could want.

We love us some Billy Blanks here at the DTVC, and he's pretty sweet in Expect No Mercy. He and Merhi were a part of the fight choreography, and it showed. Some were a little "I hit you twice, you hit me twice"-- the kind of crap I get all over the modern punchfighting flick for-- but the majority were really nice, and were all shot really well. If you're going into a movie like this for some quality Billy Blanks, this isn't a bad deal.

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Yes, that is the disembodied head of Jalal Merhi. Maybe he's not the best actor-- okay, he's definitely not the best actor!-- but at least in Expect No Mercy he gets a good chance to show off his martial arts skills. Though he and Blanks are essentially equals in the film, he gets the fight with Anthony De Longis, while Blanks fought Shaun Cassidy; but a bigger reason for that is that Merhi gets the girl, and she was being guarded by De Longis. While his martial arts skills are legit, it's his jewelry store money combined with a little Canadian tax credit money that allows him to produce and pick a nice leading lady to make out with-- in this case Laurie Holden. Unlike Talons of the Eagle though, we're fortunately spared a sex scene complete with Merhi in his tight black skivvies.

Wolf Larson looked so much like Shaun Cassidy, I was convinced he was Cassidy until I saw the credits. How awesome would it have been if the baddie was Shaun Cassidy? Or if Wolf Larson was playing Shaun Cassidy as a baddie? "After starring for years in The Hardy Boys, I decided to take the money and create this massive virtual reality martial arts training facility/assassination business." Maybe there could be shots of him looking at old Tiger Beat magazines with Anthony De Longis, reminiscing about the good ol' days, then he suddenly gets angry, rips it up, and shoots one of his grunts.

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Whoa, seriously movie? Really? A Poor Man's Billy Drago? Who does that? Who says "I'm not sure we can get Billy Drago, but this guy will work, right?" He looks like a cross between Billy Drago and David Coverdale of Whitesnake. I guess the idea behind the Poor Man's Billy Drago in this instance is he can play a small role, and people like me won't be complaining "oh man, it was a Billy Drago bait-and-switch". Still, I've always thought the Poor man's Billy Drago was Billy Drago, so this is a new revelation.

This isn't too bad, especially if you're a consumer of 80s/90s bad action. Solid fights, solid action, retro 90s computer effects, and a fair amount of fun. It's no longer in print, but you can get it used on DVD and VHS here in the States. If you see it for $5 or less, I'd say pull the trigger.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112998/

17 comments:

  1. I was so close to watching this the other day (I've got the UK edition you show the cover of) but ended up going with Dog Watch - review coming tonight incidentally. It's been damn ages since I watched a Blanks movie so time to make this happen.

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  2. Yeah, I think you'll enjoy this one, it's just good enough to make the bad parts fun too.

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  3. Yeah this was pretty enjoyable, Wolf Larson was also pretty good in Shakedown(not the one with Sam Elliot, this one was rleeased in 2002)

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  4. Great review! Love the disembodied head of Merhi pic! Also happy to see this is entertaining schlock.

    We have this in our VHS pile to review for an upcoming Billy Blanks week.

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  5. Can't wait to see what you think Ty! I bet you'll like it too.

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  6. Only time I've seen this combo was in TC 2000. I'll have to check this out. Love Billy Blanks man.

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  7. Of course Merhi gets the girl. His character gets the girl in just about every movie J. Stephen Maunder has ever penned. No wonder they've done so many movies together: Merhi is virtually guaranteed a minimum of one kissing and/or love scene per film.

    This one is on my roadmap and I'm definitely looking forward to it. Blanks, Merhi's floating head, and bad virtual reality special effects. What could possibly go wrong? Great review.

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  8. Hey there, I gave you an award!

    http://www.horrormoviediary.net/2011/08/miscellaneous-stuff-about-blog-awards.html

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  9. Nice one. I've been digging a lot on the Blanks lately and just finished a review of this myself. Not as good as TC2000, but still pretty nice.

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  10. Mr. gable and Karl, I'm pretty certain you guys will dig this one, as The Goodkind said, it's not quite TC2000, but it's not bad either. And I'll have to check out your review Goodkind, gotta love Billy Blanks.

    And thanks for the award Maynard, I appreciate it!

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  11. It won't post for a while, I'm holding it in reserve for a time when I have brain blockage and am having a hard time writing anything else.

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  12. Sometimes that's the best way to do it with these ones. I need to start taking notes when I do that though, because sometimes I forget big things.

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  13. "You surprise me, I didn't know you could think"... Still one of the most ankwarly delivered lines I've ever seen on film! But these Blanks-films are, along with the first Tiger Claws, Merhi's best. Never cared for his directing, but he managed to produce some pretty good stuff. This, I believe, is the only time we see Billy in the same movie with his brother Michael? Billy, of course, found success with Tae-Bo, but Michael would've made a nice "henchman #2" in many films.

    Virtual reality is kinda scary, isn't it? Guys mowing lawns get weird powers, kids don't watch the news (Cybertracker 2) and Merhi's head might pop up at any time! Perhaps there's a deleted scene of The Lawnmower Man where Fahey is interrupted during that sex scene by Merhi's head? I certainly would want revenge against the world after that!

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  14. Watched this a long time ago. Will have to give it another spin. Very fun movie to poke fun at. I love early 90s movies that involve virtual reality. They're always so sleazy.

    By the way, for those interested they actually made video game tie-in for this movie check it out:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHs0AAV0ggY

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  15. I forgot to mention Billy's brother, so thanks for picking me up there; and that's so awesome that there was a video game for this! Thanks for showing us that!

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  16. Wow, it's kind of embarrassing that this is from 1995. I thought the 80s were over by then.

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  17. They keep holding onto them-- They keep holdin' on... holdin', holdin' holdin'bwaaaaaahhhh la la la I say, ooooh yeah...

    Sorry, had to throw in some Simply Red there.

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