Mercury Rising

Harold Becker

Ryne Douglas Pearson (Novel: Simple Simon)
Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal (Screenplay)

Bruce Willis – Art Jeffries
Alec Baldwin – Nick Kudrow
Miko Hughes – Simon Lynch
Chi McBride – Tommy B. Jordan
Kim Dickens – Stacey
Robert Stanton – Dean Crandell
Bodhi Pine Elfman – Leo Pedranski

Country: USA

Language: English

Release Date:
3 April 1998 (USA)

IMDb: 6.1/10
Flickchart Global Ranking: 4784
Netflix: 3.6/5
Roger Ebert: 2/4
Rotten Tomatoes: 17% (Rotten)


L-R: Bruce Willis, Miko Hughes, & Kim Dickens

Mercury Rising is a just OK thriller. Bruce Willis plays Art Jeffries, the standard “rebel cop” who knows better than his bosses and is demoted because of it. Got it? He’s a crack undercover FBI agent who is now stuck in a basement office listening to wiretaps because he punched out a superior FBI officer. Some people are so touchy. Jeffries gets a shot at redemption when he receives a call to investigate a crime scene, because…all the other agents in Chicago are at lunch?

What Jeffries steps into is a conspiracy. An autistic boy named Simon has cracked a code that the National Security Agency spent two billion on making impenetrable, they can’t let America’s enemies know this so what can they do? Put Simon on the payroll and take advantage of his savant genius? No. The NSA’s Lt Col Kudrow, played venomously by Alec Baldwin, decides that Simon has to die. Jeffries comes to realize that he’s the only one who can protect young Simon.

Is this starting to sound familiar? Yeah, it’s basically Witness except replace “Amish” with “Autistic.” But not as good. Not even close.

Using the NSA (“No Such Agency”) as the villains might have been novel in 1998, but they’ve been quite controversial since the post 9/11 Patriot Act and Edward Snowden’s revelations. Even now Congress is considering cutting down their surveillance of all our phone calls.

By the way if you’re wondering what the hell a Bodhi Pine Elfman is, he’s not a diminutive superhero who lives in a tree. He’s actually an annoying actor who is the nephew of rock star/composer Danny Elfman and, inexplicably, the husband of Jenna Elfman.

The Misplaced Boy MST3K Scale:

If you haven’t seen Witness, see it instead of this one. It’s so much better. It’s actually pretty much perfect. Mercury Rising is OK, but just OK.







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