That old cliche question keeps bouncing around in my mind. What would you do for love? On the surface, "Gods Of No Mercy" most definitely doesn't seem like a film that would bring such questions to mind - and at the same time, it is the perfect film for them. How far would a person go? From the meek to the bold, the forgiving and the wicked... anyone could at some point find themselves addressing this age-old conundrum. This eternal question serves as the springboard for Thor Moreno's film but the movie itself is anything but romantic. This is a film about bad people no matter how you slice it and for the most part, it's just damn good entertainment that reminded me more than a little of the "John Wick" franchise. At first, that comparison may seem to come from the title character sporting a beard and long-ish hair... but there are so many other similarities that at times, "Gods Of No Mercy" feels like a low-budget homage. However, no matter your feelings on the Keanu Reeves group of action films, be advised that Moreno's movie isn't a clone and sports more than enough originality to keep the two beasts separate. So long as you enter into this film with an open mind, most will leave satisfied... mostly.
In this film, we're introduced to Sonny, a successful and often brutal hit-man who has fallen for his bosses girl, Cheyenne. Sonny, otherwise known as, "The Sparrow" is in what many would consider a really tough spot. He and Buster, his boss, share a history and undoubtedly falling for Cheyenne was not done on purpose. Things heat up when Buster finds out and wants Sonny dead - but they heat up even more when Sonny goes looking for Cheyenne ending in a wacky, shotgun shootout that I really don't want to write much more about. To say Thor Moreno's film is a bit unconventional is an understatement and honestly, I'm still not sure how I really feel about some of what I witnessed. One thing is clear... when "Gods Of No Mercy" is running hot it's really running hot and as a whole, I'm more than happy was introduced to this film. It may not be perfect... but definitely has a style all its own.
Production-wise, "Gods Of No Mercy" is a jumpy film. Flashbacks and what I call "crazy vision sequences" can make this film a little tough to follow occasionally. Eventually, even if you do get a little turned around, you're quickly put back on the right path - but I couldn't help but feel some of the sequences, and how they were presented could have been done differently. How exactly? I don't claim to know... I only know I noticed the issues. I also felt the film at times had a slight identity crisis. It didn't quite know what kind of movie it wanted to be. An action scene later in the film is the perfect example, where Sonny ends up Chuck Norris-ing a lady assassin, and the film feels awfully close to a superhero movie. Really cool to watch? Sure it was, but it changed the feeling of the film completely before returning to the movie's regular pacing and feel. This wasn't a lone scene either, the feel of "Gods Of No Mercy" changed numerous times.
Where this movie did excel was when it comes to discussing the acting. I'm not writing that everything was always perfect, and that at no times were things a little awkward, only that for the most part I had no problem believing in these characters. Even through some of the unusual scenes in the film. Speaking of unusual, I must admit that the final act felt a little rushed. I even had the distinct impression that some scenes were not filmed for one reason or another, and that the editor did that they could. I don't know any of this for sure, just a feeling... but with all that written let me also add this. What I've pointed out above doesn't change the fact this was still a great film. The good far outweighs the iffy parts and if asked, I would certainly recommend.
At the end of the day, this is a film for those looking for something a little different, while keeping the action front and center. There are fights. There are guns. There are even one-liners. Very few films, low-budget, or blockbuster are perfect beasts. This one is no different - but at least "Gods Of No Mercy" is entertaining. Thumbs up and an easy three and a half stars. Now excuse me... I have some "Walker, Texas Ranger" to catch up on.