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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Mercury Rising (1998)



Reviews and Comments

The plot for this conspiracy thriller is nonsensical, even by action movie standards. Apparently the government tests encryption codes by putting the ones already in use in puzzle magazines for geeks to attempt to solve. When somebody does, panic ensues. Here's a tip: how about testing out the codes before using them to protect our national security?

The conclusion of the plot is as unlikely as its set-up: the badguys, who had been killing people indiscriminately the whole movie, settle on just capturing the main goodguys and carrying him off in a helicopter to someplace where they'll just kill him anyway. This badguy behavior is infamous in Bond movies, but it works there because Bond is a spy fantasy rather than an attempt at escapist realism.

It's the stuff in the middle that interested me in Mercury Rising, which consisted mostly of Bruce Willis and an autistic child running from resourceful conspirators. There wasn't much substance to it, but this portion of the movie was fun and engaging as an action movie with heart (it did have a heart, even if it didn't have a head). I can't bring myself to recommend this movie, but I also hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Not that the good stuff in this movie is quite so precious as the baby is in the analogy. If you like Bruce Willis' usual action fluff, there's no reason you won't like this one.