In 2003, Merc Force was released to Netflix. Made on a budget of approximately $3000 by James Panetta of Ikuzo Studios in Philadelphia, it didn't receive the most stellar reviews. Despite this, it continues to make respectable sales on Netflix and was successful enough to result in being reshot as television-length episodes as Mercs.
This work exhibits the following tropes
- Air-Vent Passageway: The maintenance ducts are used by Creed and Varisa to navigate the ship during the hijack attempt in Mercs.
- Making them human accessible was intentional, as with shows such as Star Trek, due to the difficulties of spaceship maintenance.
- Classically Trained Extra: A significant amount of the cast for Mercs was drawn from local Shakespeare companies. The result is not evident to the viewer, although on-set, it came as a great benefit as the actors were already accustomed to rapidly memorizing lines and delivering them clearly enough to be picked up without requiring many microphones on set.
- Conspicuous CG: Less so in the remake, but still significant. That said, the effects are impressive given they're all done in-house by a single man.
- Cut-and-Paste Environments: The corridors and rooms of the spaceship are parts of the director's apartment, stitched together with film cuts and dressed up with different scenery and lighting. The blandness of military decoration and the effort put into dressing the different corridors makes this largely unnoticeable if you weren't already aware of it.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Delivered to Varisa by hacker Tess in Mercs.
- Pretty Princess Powerhouse: Varisa is arguably more competent than the mercenaries she travels with.
- Private Military Contractors: The eponymous mercenaries themselves.
- Star Trek Shake: Almost as conspicuous as the CG, but fitting for the genre.