Friday, May 12, 2023

Mercy, Co-Starring Jon Voight

Dr. Michelle Miller’s military background serves her well in Mercy’s emergency room. She is very experienced treating bullet wounds. She is also highly trained in handling firearms, which will come in handy when a Die Hard-like situation breaks out in her hospital. Of course, her son is rattling around the halls someplace, to further raise the stakes in Tony Dean Smith’s Mercy, which opens today in select theaters.

Miller barely survived the bomb that killed her husband, while they were serving together in Afghanistan. Now, she raises her soccer-crazy son Bobby as a single mother, when she isn’t pulling bullets out of patients at Mercy Hospital. Someone really wanted to kill her latest. They even used exploding rounds, one of which goes off in the operating theater. Rather awkwardly, he happens to be Ryan Quinn, the heir apparent of the Quinn crime family, who was in Federal custody, when his brother Sean tried to kill him.

Old man Patrick Quinn has no idea his reckless older son is making a power play. Initially, he only came to Mercy to visit his injured son, as a concerned father. However, Sean’s violently erratic and paranoid behavior sets off a chain of events that results in a hostage situation. The Irish mob patriarch is not at all pleased with this turn of events and neither is Miller, who is one of the only hospital staffers still at liberty within the building.

Obviously, this all sounds very familiar, but it is greatly elevated by Jon Voight’s performance as old school Patrick Quinn, who definitely still believes there are things that should be out-of-bounds for gangsters, like holding an entire hospital hostage. Voight lays on the blarney accent thickly, but that is all part of the charm of his scenery-chewing. When he is on-screen,
Mercy is never boring.

Leah Gibson is also a pretty solid VOD-action lead. She certainly looks like she trained for this film. Jonathan Rhys Meyers uses the same trowel as Voight to apply his Irish accent, but his unhinged twitchiness further energizes what is now a run-of-the-mill storyline.
Mercy is probably his best film since Yakuza Princess and his best performance since Damascus Cover.

Nonetheless, Alex Wright’s screenplay is
Mercy’s fatal weak link. His narrative manages to be both predictable and ridiculous. However, he adds a note of patriotism that is genuinely refreshing, as when the cops and FBI crisis team salutes Miller from afar, as she runs and dodges along the hospital roof.

Most of the production is standard, at best, but
Mercy’s casting was inspired. Voight, Gibson, and Meyers nearly carry the picture as a tag-team and they also get some nice support from Bobby Stewart, as Miller’s steadfast colleague, Dr. Terrence. Unfortunately, they just cannot overcome the film’s lack of wit and severe budget constraints. It is a surprisingly close call, but Mercy just isn’t recommendable when it opens today (5/12) at Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn and releases on digital next Friday (5/19).