Mercury Rising is not a classic action film by any means but it has enough strong performances (especially from Miko Hughes) to make it worth a watch.
Plot: “Mercury Rising” stars Bruce Willis as Art Jeffries, a renegade FBI agent who combats ruthless federal agents to protect Simon (Miko Hughes), a 9-year-old autistic boy who has cracked the government’s new unbreakable code. He can read MERCURY, the most advanced encryption code yet created, as easily as other kids read English. This ability renders the new billion-dollar secret code vulnerable, especially if enemies of the United States should learn of Simon’s abilities and capture him.
Review: Mercury Rising was always a strange movie for Bruce Willis, it was during his action hero days of the 90’s and this was quite a different role for him. It’s not exactly fast paced and there are no memorable action set-pieces, but I still enjoy the film.
The main thing which stands out is the performance of the young boy Miko Hughes who played Simon Lynch. Simon is autistic and Hughe’s portrayal of him was heartbreakingly authentic. I actually thought Hughes was autistic in real life when I first saw the film.
It’s surprisingly moving and there are some nice directorial touches. When Simon comes home from school, his mother is waiting for him at the front door. She lets him inside and looks across the street at the “normal” kids playing baseball. A pained expression crosses her face knowing that her son will never be like the other neighborhood kids. Just a nice little moment, no dialogue required but it worked well.
John Barry provides the usual wonderful score which was another highlight.
Bruce Willis gives a controlled performance as FBI Agent Art Jeffries who vows to protect Simon because he feels responsible for the death of another boy from the opening scene. Saving Simon means redemption for him, so it’s not just about saving the boy but saving himself.
There are 1 or 2 one-liners from Bruce but not as many as Die Hard or The Last Boy Scout. It’s not the kind of film where they would work though; it’s a pretty serious tale but it really lacks tension or anything really memorable in terms of story.
I’m not a fan of how it was shot either, where it’s a bit grey and miserable looking; Alec Baldwin is a great villain but he really doesn’t have all that much to do and is sadly underused.
Overall, Mercury Rising is not a classic action film by any means but it has enough strong performances (especially from Miko Hughes) to make it worth a watch.