In the chaos of the post-pandemic movie world, with the writer’s strike, the closed Hollywood gates, and the postponed releases piling up in studio vaults and on editing-room shelves, a plethora of low-budget films ready for streaming devices but not prime time viewing is crowding the market. Most of these films are unspeakable, unreviewable, and unreleasable, and I’m not kidding. I have never seen such a pile of junk. Every week brings the opening of between 15 and 21 new titles nobody bothers to see with actors nobody has ever heard of, and by the next week they’ve all been replaced, forgotten, and sent to a purgatory for flops where nobody will ever go.
MERCY ★ (1/4 stars)
The status of movies today is grim, and the future looks grimmer. Re-opened cinemas are empty and grosses are down, and it’s not much fun being a critic trying to stay optimistic while trying to stay employed. Among the new disasters, something called Mercy is about a doctor named Michelle (Leah Gibson) who is hard at work in a hospital when a member of the Irish mafia (Anthony Konechny) is admitted with a bullet wound. An FBI agent (Sebastien Roberts) is waiting to arrest him as soon as the doctor releases him. Also waiting are the gangster’s father (Jon Voight, of all people) and brother (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who take over the hospital by force to rescue him. In the ensuing pandemonium that follows, they also take the doctor’s son hostage.
That’s the hum-drum seen-it-all-before premise of this derivative, boring and unimaginative B-movie programmer, clumsily written by Alex Wright. The script begins with one foot in the archival dust by wasting time on a prologue showing the violence that traumatized Dr. Michelle for life before she left the military for the calmer shores of medicine. That’s about all Mercy does to fill in the character background of its leading lady. Nothing about her life in the present is clear, rendering her distraught emotional state blank. None of the other characters are very human either, nor do we know anything about the Irish mafia or why they choose to waffle away the time terrorizing the hospital staff. They come off more cartoonish than frightening.
The dialogue is witless and dull. The direction by Tony Dean Smith gives the actors nothing meaty to do beyond mouthing words designed to move the narrative forward. Nicolas Cage or Bruce Willis might once have added a spark. At least by clocking in at a mere hour and 25 minutes, Mercy is not long enough to bore you to death—just long enough for a nice nap.
Observer Reviews are regular assessments of new and noteworthy cinema.