A grizzled cop escorts five prisoners through landscape ravaged by floods in “Gun of Mercy,” an OK action drama punctuated by sf/x that survives thanks to classy playing by vet actor Liu Peiqi in the lead role. Not spectacular enough to make the grade as a disaster movie — it’s not even in widescreen — this could scrape into Mainland film weeks as an audience-pleaser between more serious fare. Pic releases locally in mid-October.
Gangbusters opening, as disastrous floods force the evacuation of a city jail, is continued as the van carrying Officer Ma (Liu) and his charges is swept into a river by a breaking dam. Ma manages to get them out, and thereon everyone is at each other’s throats as they trudge through a giant forest. Ma has only five bullets (pic’s Chinese title) in his gun, and the story is paragraphed into segs as he uses each projectile. Jiang Wu, as a grinning weirdo, gets the showiest role, and David Wu, as a convicted businessman, the coolest, but it’s Liu who gives the pic some passing stature. F/x by Kiwi companies Park Road Post and Weta Digital are pulpy.