Tired of living with corpses, police academy professor and top medical examiner Kang leaves to go start a new life with his daughter. That’s postponed a bit when a woman’s body is discovered washed up seaside, fully nude. All four of her limbs have been cut off, but remain there except for one arm missing from the scene.
Kang teams with Detective Min, a crime scene investigator who was his student five years prior, to find her killer. A quarter of the way in the film, he’s found; environmental activist Lee Song-hoo confesses to the crime in protest for the government’s alteration of a waterway. Reasons aside, he has more important things to say to Kang — things like, “I have kidnapped your daughter. Get me out of jail within three days or she dies, too.”
And when Kane shifts into desperate-dad mode, No Mercy strangely lost my interest. It’s as if I was too invested in the mystery, only to have it abruptly replaced with a less-interesting race against time (last-minute twist notwithstanding). Worse, the film grows tame, compared to its rather ghoulish and unflinching setup. Another I Saw the Devil, this is not — perhaps due to having a first-time director at the helm.
The DVD marks one of CJ Entertainment America’s first releases on its own label. I welcome their entrance into the marketplace, and trust many future films will be more satisfying. —Rod Lott