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Mercury Rising (1998)

  Directed by: Harold Becker
Written by: Lawrence Konner, Ryne Douglas Pearson, Mark Rosenthal
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Miko Hughes, Bruce Willis
Links: Mercury Rising on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy the Book
Genre: Suspense/Horror/Thriller

This movie gets: 4.00 (2 ratings)
nofreelist.com Ranking: Ranked equal 172nd of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

"Credibility falling." - a review by mino

Some people have a problem with suspending their own disbelief when it comes to movie-watching. They can't watch any movie that isn't totally internally self-consistent, with not a logical flaw to be found. Sci-fi movies, for these people, just aren't enjoyable. Action movies… well, don't even try to watch an action movie with one of these folk. They'll ruin it.

Now, I'm not one of those people — but, Jesus, give me a break. What a load of nonsensical crap Mercury Rising is. The plot is just gibberish.

It's not just incidental details, either. The whole basic gist of the movie is just ridiculous. US Government spy agency the NSA spends billions of dollars on inventing a new top-secret code. Some nine-year-old autistic kid cracks the code. So what do the NSA do? They protect the data they have encrypted with this code by trying to kill the kid. That's right, the NSA — the world's premier super-spooks — think ‘ahh, our code's broken. Let's not trash it, and come up with a new one, let's just off the person who broke it!’. Apparently, the foremost security minds in the world never once stop to think ‘Gee… maybe they have developmentally disabled nine-year olds in Iraq, too! Let's make a new code!’. Nosiree, Bob. In matters of national security, ‘let's off the nine-year old and never speak of it again’ is good enough. Right.

Quite apart from that, there are any number of plot holes large enough to drive a Mack truck full of shrink-wrapped copies of Bruce Schneier's Applied Cryptography through. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, along comes an ending that is such unmitigated hooey that it leaves you kind of wishing you'd done something else instead of watch this movie — like, say, giving yourself paper cuts on the eyeballs and tipping vinegar in them.

Frankly, as soon as you put Bruce Willis in a movie, you're asking for trouble. If you're the sort of person who likes action movies, then sure, Die Hard (1988) was great as far as action movies go; but since then, everything else has been more Try Hard than Die Hard. Willis just can not act. Sorry, but he can't. Look, when The Sixth Sense (1999) is the highlight of your career, you know you suck. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Bruce Willis is the Nick Nolte of his generation. Ha! Cop that, Bruce.

One small plus in Mercury Rising is the presence of Miko Hughes as the autistic child Willis fights so hard to protect. As I've mentioned before, I have little time for child actors, because they're almost universally awful: Hughes, though, is actually very good, particularly given the difficulty of playing an autistic kiddie. Unfortunately, it's just everyone else around him that lets the team down.

Oh, and let's finish with one more annoying thing about this movie (apart from the plot holes, the tepid dialogue, the poor acting, and the lame action sequences): it would seem that Harold Becker only made it as far as page 3 in The Action Movie Villain Cliché Handbook. He read the pages on ‘slicked back hair’ and ‘creepy Germanic-looking folk’, and obviously just skimmed the rest. Hence, you can tell the bad guys in Mercury Rising because they have slicked-back hair, or look kind of Aryan. C'mon, Becker: you can do better than that. Where's the monocles, the trenchcoats, or the Arabs?

mino gives this movie 3 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 5 Dec 2003

Movie review statistics

Ratings given without reviews:

Number of reviews: 1
Number of ratings: 2
Average rating: 4.00
Lowest rating: 3 (by mino)
Highest rating: 5 (by em_fiction)
 
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Reader comments

  1. Hi, why nobody responds me?

    Rating given: 7

    A comment from Maria on Tue 17 Jan 2006 23:34 #

  2. You have an excellent site easy on the eye and very easy to navigate, keep up the good work. Best Wishes.

    Rating given: 7

    A comment from Mike on Wed 01 Mar 2006 06:10 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 7.00 (2 ratings)

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