Friday, November 10, 2017

Film Review: No Mercy (2010)

No Mercy (Review)
South Korea/2010
Format Viewed for Review: DramaFever
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It is dark, gritty, and relentless."

A forensic specialist is forced to aid a suspected killer in order to rescue his daughter from his clutches...

No Mercy follows forensic specialist Kang Min-ho (Sol Kyung-gu). As he waits for his daughter to arrive in South Korea from the United States, Min-ho is called upon to aid in the investigation of a young woman's murder. This woman, found at a local river, is found dismembered and decapitated. Thanks to the work of Min-ho and rookie cop Min Seo-young (Han Hye-jin), the crime is tracked to environmental activist Lee Sung-ho (Ryoo Seung-bum). Sung-ho happily confesses to the crime, too. However, after Sung-ho's capture, Min-ho finds his daughter has gone missing—and Sung-ho is responsible. So, in order to save his daughter, Min-ho must save Sung-ho. Don't worry, most of this little summary occurs during the first act, but I won't spoil anything else anyway. It's a film where the less you know, the better it is. It leads to a great ending, too.

No Mercy is a great crime thriller. It really shows no mercy to its audience, as a matter of fact. It is dark, gritty, and relentless. The mystery kept me engaged from beginning to end. It's fascinating watching all of the pieces come together. There are some very suspenseful moments, too, and the entire film chokes you with a tense atmosphere. It doesn't sugarcoat anything, either. When it goes for something, it really goes for it. It might not leave an impression like I Saw the Devil or Oldboy, but it does pack a punch. Like I said, try going into this film blind. I suppose the pacing could have been a bit better, though. There are a few unnecessarily slow moments.

The acting was great, though. Sol Kyung-gu and Ryoo Seung-bum are fantastic. I especially enjoyed Ryoo's performance. Han Hye-jin and the rest of the supporting cast were also good. The film was shot well. I liked the camerawork and the cinematography. The music was hit-and-miss. It matched the mood at times, then it didn't. The film was written and directed by Kim Hyeong-jun. The writing suffers from a few contrived moments and it does feel a little cliché, you might have seen a very familiar film before, but it still works. The direction fares a lot better, creating a tense atmosphere, suspenseful scenes, and pulling great performances from the cast.

Overall, No Mercy is a great film. It's a dark, disturbing, and exciting crime thriller. It may feel like other movies in the genre, but it ultimately leaves its own impression thanks to the performances, the direction, and the twisted plot. If you love Korean thrillers, this one is for you.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some nudity and sex.

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