Mercury Rising (Universal’s Flops Vol. 1 #7)

I know what you’re thinking. “Mercury Rising” has something to do with the rise of late frontman Freddie Mercury. Maybe, a spin-off of “Sailor Moon” focusing on Sailor Mercury. Both are false. The premise is about a down-on-his luck FBI agent must a protect a little boy (who’s way on top of the spectrum) from NSA agents after he inadvertently cracks a government code.

Mercury Rising was released in 1998. (same year The Mask of Zorro came out) It received negative reviews from critics and movie goers alike. To put salt in the wound, the movie didn’t recoup its expenses at the box office. Bruce Willis won a Razzie for “Worst Actor” in “Armageddon” “The Siege” and the aforementioned movie. Honestly, his performances weren’t terrible. Matthew Broderick should’ve gotten his Razzie for “Godzilla.” You know, this particular line? “That’s a lot of fish.”

Recently, I’ve been given multiple requests to review box office bombs related to major studios. I was given a task to review 20 films based on MGM’s financial flops. This time, I’ve received an overwhelming number of requests. To procreate countless reviews, I’ve selected 20 movie articles per volume in order to build a proper structure separate from individual major studios such as Universal, Paramount, Sony, Disney, Fox, MGM, Lionsgate and Warner Bros. Think of it as a comic book storyline in one package.

Today’s review contains SPOILERS. If you’re somewhat interested in seeing this movie, read at your own risk.

High & Low Qualities

High: Bruce Willis & Alec Baldwin both did a solid job for their respective performances. They also appeared in “Motherless Brooklyn.”

Action Sequences were pretty good.

John Berry (known for the James Bond theme) orchestrated the music.

Cinematography felt stable without having any technical issues.

Bruce actually wore the same brown bomber jacket from “Pulp Fiction.” Cue the words, “Zed’s dead baby, Zed’s dead.”

Brian Grazer produced the film. He and business partner Ron Howard founded the production company, Imagine Entertainment.

One scene shows Simon (the little boy) wearing a “Rugrats” t-shirt. A movie based on the show also came out in 1998. Don’t forget Bruce voiced Spike in “Rugrats Go Wild.”

If you’re a fan of “American Horror Story” like me, character actor John Carroll Lynch (Twisty the Clown) has a small role as Simon’s dad.

Peter Stormare plays one of Kudrow’s henchmen. He also co-starred with Bruce in Armageddon. Coincidently, Michael Bay’s flick came out in 1998.

Jeffries tells Kudrow “Happy birthday.” Alec’s character turned 40 the exact same day Mercury Rising came out. Oh, the irony!

Low: Screenwriting duo, Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal didn’t do quite well crafting a Three Act Structure. They’re the same guys who wrote “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” & Tim Burton’s “Planet of the Apes.” YIKES!

A Plot Hole involving The U.S. Government are dumb at their jobs not properly hiding a code. They somehow place it in a puzzle book. You can’t be that stupid to give away classified information in public. Heck, even Kudrow points out the idiocy.

Jefferies often has flashbacks of a teenager who got shot in a botched undercover mission. I didn’t feel a connection with Jefferies and the teen in the beginning. The Last of Us’ prologue managed to bring a tragic connection to Joel’s loss. If you’re fully aware of the shocking opening, you probably know why.

Another Plot Hole involving why didn’t Kudrow task one of his hired men to erase Simon’s memory like try to inject an experimental serum, rather than trying to kill him? Turns out, Kudrow is a complete moron.

During a chase scene, henchmen randomly show up like enemies in a video game.

Most of the movie is set in Chicago. Which is Christopher Nolan’s hometown besides London.

The Climax pales in comparison to “Die Hard.” Jeffries’ fight with Kudrow felt short. I want more of them duking it out. Kudrow falling to his death, is a carbon copy of Hans Gruber’s death scene.

Product Placement (Pee Pee for short) featuring brands such as Starbucks, Motorola, Hitachi, Budweiser & American Airlines. I’ll let this con slide. Because I couldn’t find any other brand to shove down my throat.

The Final Verdict: D, FOR DEGRADING!

Mercury Rising is a miscalculation. Basically, a nonsensical plot that could’ve been solved in The First Act. If you wanna see a much better action spy thriller. I highly recommend “Enemy of the State.” Which Universal box office flop should I review next? Please leave a comment and I’ll respond back.

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