Mercury Rising

Bomb Rating: 

This movie is "Three Days of the Condor" with an autistic kid. If you ask me, it's also plagiarism. Instead of having the Robert Redford character from the original movie, writers Laurence Konner and Mark Rosenthal (responsible for feats of originality like "For Love or Money," "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace") have split him into Art Jeffries (Bruce Willis) and Simon (Miko Hughes).

Simon may be autistic, but he also has a brain that works like a computer and he's able to crack Nicholas Kudrow's (Alec Baldwin) super-secret government supercode like he's busting open an egg. How do I know all this? Conveniently, the film provides that all-important computer-like sound every time Simon glances at a puzzle magazine. Apparently, the fact that he looks at the magazine and then calls the top secret phone number encoded there didn't quite get the message across to the mongoloids who attended the test screenings.

"Mercury Rising" encounters all kinds of problems as Jeffries drags the screaming, incoherent Simon around while Kudrow and his men try to off them both. I was particularly fond of a couple of scenes: the one in which Jeffries chases an assassin through the middle of downtown and the finalé atop a tall building.

As Jeffries chases the bad guy he comes to several corners. First he puts his gun around the corner, then he sticks his head around behind it. That's right, Jeffries: Look for a bullet, and if you see one coming just duck out of the way real fast. Jeffries, with all those years of FBI training, apparently forgot the first rule of sharpshooter pursuits: A bullet is not a football. As for the tall building: Does somebody always have to fall off? Is that the only purpose of a tall building? Next time the filmmakers ought to try mercury swallowing.

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