Judge David Johnson cracked a code the other day and he's not even a savant. Actually, that entire sentence is false.
Someone knows too much.
The NSA likes to kill autistic children. Witness the truth here.
Facts of the Case
When a young autistic savant named Simon (Miko Hughes) accidentally stumbles upon the secrets to an ultra-secret unbreakable government code, his life is immediately endangered. The NSA project chief, Lt. Col. Nicholas Kudrow (Alec Baldwin), fearing that the kid's decryption prowess will fall into the wrong hands, sends out his goons to wipe out the entire family.
Luckily, FBI agent Art Jeffries (Bruce Willis, Die Hard) lands on the scene in time, and protects Simon from the onslaught of enemies. But the NSA is tenacious about murdering small boys, and Kudrow does not relent. Jeffries, not knowing who to trust, runs, boy in tow, attempts to unravel the mystery before the President of the United States himself comes gunning for him.
Here we go for yet another flashback to a catalog title, thanks to the crack-like addiction I have to scoping everything out in glorious HD. This Bruce Willis actioner is my most recent hit, a film I had somehow managed to miss since the nine years it had been released.
And I certainly didn't miss out on a whole lot. While not a complete disgrace, Mercury Rising is a misfire, an experience that suffers from a handful of ridiculous moments, a far-out conspiracy plot and dearth of much-needed action. Because I like making lists, allow me to break down what didn't work for me:
Far-Out Conspiracy Plot
Dearth of Action
Still, all that being said, I'll say this much: the idea of protecting a resistant autistic child is interesting and Miko Hughes puts forth a solid enough performance to distant himself from the typecast cutesy roles of Full House and talking about vaginas in Kindergarten Cop. Willis does his typical hard-assed shtick and could easily have been John McClane if his character's name wasn't Art Jeffries; he's supposed to be a loose-cannon cop on the edge, but he struck me as fairly sensible and competent. Chi McBride, as Art's FBI comrade, is hampered by portraying a stupid idiot.
The anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen treatment (1080p, VC-1 encoded) holds up well to scrutiny. While not an eye-scorcher, the updated transfer will do you HDTV investment justice, bringing with it dramatically improved visuals throughout. However, as the disc recycles formerly released special features, there's too much pressure on the picture quality to deliver and for a mediocre-at-best film, it's just not up to the challenge. Good, but not great. For audio, you'll get a 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus track, which, unfortunately, is aggressive enough to subject you to the repetitive and saccharine soundtrack. Bonus materials: a robust, but dated, documentary called "Watch the Mercury Rising," which is more an overlong promotional feature; the deleted scenes are neither compelling nor cleanly rendered; and director Harold Becker's commentary will increase your knowledge of the filmmaking process, but his monotone delivery is likely to put you to sleep.
The picture quality is improved and the beefier sound mix is active, but the movie itself is the weak link in the HD DVD upgrade.
Congress is mandated to launch an immediate investigation into the NSA and its controversial Disabled Child Murdering policy.
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Scales of Justice
• Director's Commentary
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