Mercury Rising

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • R
  • Action, Thriller

Contrived, slapdash and utterly false, this action thriller with a cynically soft center exemplifies the worst end-product of contemporary Hollywood formulas. Authority-hating FBI renegade Art Jeffries (Bruce Willis) has a thing for abandoned children, or so the explanatory opening sequence is meant to make us believe: Jeffries, who's infiltrated a militia...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Contrived, slapdash and utterly false, this action thriller with a cynically soft center exemplifies the worst end-product of contemporary Hollywood formulas. Authority-hating FBI renegade Art Jeffries (Bruce Willis) has a thing for abandoned children, or so

the explanatory opening sequence is meant to make us believe: Jeffries, who's infiltrated a militia group, must watch helplessly as two slack-jawed teens in thrall to their wacko dad get killed in an FBI showdown designed to recall Ruby Ridge. Anyway, for his intemperate behavior Jeffries gets

busted down to wire-tapping detail (he decked a commanding officer and the department's shrinks have labeled him a paranoid loose cannon), until he's inexplicably called in on the case of a missing child of murdered parents. He finds the boy, nine-year-old Simon (Miko Hughes), and is immediately

plunged into the mother of all conspiracies. Autistic savant Simon has cracked a supposedly uncrackable government code, and now the full nefarious resources of the sinister NSA have been diverted to killing him. But they weren't counting on Art Jeffries... Perhaps Simple Simon, the novel

on which this lazy hack job was based, does a better job of integrating the preposterous spyjinks and the DAVID AND LISA stuff. But on screen, Simon is basically just a prop to make Art Jeffries look like a nice guy, rather than a testosterone-driven schmuck with a gun. And using handicapped kids

to get the sympathy vote is a really cheap and sleazy stunt. Co-star Alec Baldwin, who has approximately one-quarter Willis' screen time, plays Jeffries' NSA nemesis Lt. Col. Kudrow as the prince of darkness in a pompadour. It's not an image that bodes well for any real-life political aspirations

he may have.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Contrived, slapdash and utterly false, this action thriller with a cynically soft center exemplifies the worst end-product of contemporary Hollywood formulas. Authority-hating FBI renegade Art Jeffries (Bruce Willis) has a thing for abandoned children, or… (more)

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