Director – Zale Dalen (Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Street Justice)
Starring – Billy Blanks (Lionheart, Bloodfist), Jalal Merhi (Fearless Tiger, Death Junction), and Wolf Larson (Tarzan, Hard Ticket to Hawaii)
Release Date – 1995
Rating – 2.5/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
When I started my Billy Blanks marathon with TC 2000 I soon realized that I was going to be in for a cheesy good…or bad time depending on how I wanted to look at it. TC 2000 was not for me but there were some aspects of the film that I actually enjoyed. I decided to go with the Vinegar Syndrome release of Expect No Mercy next. I love those cheap sci-fi action films that were direct to video with a large portion of the story centered around a dated technology. It looked like a lot of fun and I had hopes that it was better than the previous Blanks starred film.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a school of assassins that is being trained to kill using cutting edge virtual reality. The feds send in an undercover agent to train as one of them and put a stop to the bloody trail they leave in their wake. **Spoiler Alert**
Expect No Mercy was a better film than TC 2000 but it wasn’t a great one. It’s a movie that had some fun moments and just as many not-so-fun moments. I could see myself watching it with some friends and a bunch of beer when I was in college but this wasn’t one of those times. It was decent at best as a one time watch.
The acting in this one is exactly what anyone would expect from a film of this quality. The cast looks like they are having a lot of fun but the dialogue and action scenes are very. I usually enjoy these heavily choreographed action flicks but this one struggled to find it’s footing. The cast has a hard time delivering any sort of emotion with their dialogue and ham up every scene. It’s fun in a so bad it’s good sort of way but it’s exactly what you expect from a straight to video action flick.
The story for this one is very dated but still has a certain charm about it. The sci-fi films of the early 90s using modern technology as the basis of their stories. Movies like Brainscan, Mindwarp, and so many more date themselves with this but they still have that late night cinema charm that a lot of us enjoy. Honestly, I could really get behind this story if the cast could have been taken seriously.
Finally, the film is not a bloody mess like many of us are looking for. There is a lot of martial arts action and some cheap visual effects but that is the extent of it. Overall, Expect No Mercy is alright for a first time watch but it’s not very memorable and the film could have been so much more if it had a better cast. Check it out, especially if you are a Vin Syn collector, but there is so many other great flicks from them that I would recommend before this one.