Reviewed by: W.J. Kimble
Are you looking for an action-packed adventure that will keep you on the end of your seat? Do you enjoy a thriller that keeps you in suspense and never lets you go? Do you find movies that have no new ideas, no new plots, and no new themes (yet, is abundant with tense, gut-wrenching action) exciting?
If you can say, “Yes,” to all the above, then “Mercury Rising” is a movie you may want to see. Be forewarned, though, this action-thriller contains extreme and frequent scenes of violence. It is heavy on blood and gore; and while there is no nudity at all, there is at least 9 “f” words, 5 “s” words and 16 uses of God’s name in vain.
In the opening scene, Art Jeffries (Bruce Willis), an FBI agent with 14 years experience, tries desperately to negotiate with members of the Citizens Court of South Dakota. This redneck militia group that includes an overbearing dad and his two teen-age sons, finds themselves surrounded by the police, after failing to rob a bank. As the situation becomes increasingly dangerous, the FBI (who, knowing that Jeffries is inside and working undercover) decide not to grant him any more time and move in and kill the members of this right-winged separatist group. Jeffries, who is left devastated and despondent, is reassigned to menial duties and sent out to search for a missing 9 year old autistic boy, Simon Lynch (Miko Hughes, “Spawn”), whose parents were mysteriously murdered.
Jeffries finds him hiding in a crawl space, deeply traumatized and unable to speak. Sensing danger, Jeffries demands police protection for the lad and has him hospitalized with an armed guard, just outside his room. But what Jeffries doesn’t know is that the N.S.A. (National Security Agency) wants the child killed. Simon, a savant, inadvertently deciphered a top-secret, multi-billion dollar, national security code, which was designed to protect American spies in covert operations around the world. If Simon should ever tell anyone about this code, known as “Mercury,” many lives could be lost. Rather than create a new one, which would cost billions of dollars to create, Lt. Colonel Nicholas Kudrow (Alec Baldwin), orders the assassination of Simon and his parents.
Jeffries takes Simon under his wing and does all he can to keep the N.A.S. from killing him. Although the plot is simple, this compelling drama really comes to life around the relationship that develops between this isolated child and the embittered, disillusioned and broken FBI agent. Viewers will be captivated by Miko’s portrayal of an autistic child. In a “behind-the-scenes” note, Miko spent many hours with Dr. Bennett Levanthal, a renowned psychiatrist, who helped him capture the gestures and idiosyncrasies of autistic children. The friendship that Jeffries has with Thomas “Bizzi” Jordan (“Chi McBride”, “Hoodlum”) adds to the drama, as we come to know that he is torn between his friendship with Jeffries and his need to protect his family and his job.