From the writers of Burton's PLANET OF THE APES and Cannon's SUPERMAN IV comes an inspiring tale in the slick/big budget/all-star cast/conspiracy thriller-mode that was quite in vogue in the late 90s (ABSOLUTE POWER, CONSPIRACY THEORY, ARLINGTON ROAD, ENEMY OF THE STATE, ERASER, EXTREME MEASURES, THE FIRM, THE GAME, MURDER AT 1600, THE PELICAN BRIEF, SHADOW CONSPIRACY). Occasionally laughable but usually enjoyable, it's also secretly (er– actually, openly) a message picture about autism.
A few quick observations:
#1. Miko Hughes (KINDERGARTEN COP, PET SEMETARY, APOLLO 13, WES CRAVEN'S NEW NIGHTMARE, FULL HOUSE, John Hughes' son) is put in vehicular harm's way
even more often than in PET SEMATARY, a movie whose most notable feature (besides the Ramones song) is Miko Hughes being run over by a truck.
#2. Also, I'm wondering if– differing color corrections aside– Willis is wearing the same (or basically the same) brown jacket and jeans as he wears in PULP FICTION. Maybe he wanted elements from PULP FICTION around in his other 90s work as a good luck charm, like Buscemi in ARMAGEDDON or Sam Jackson in DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE or Mexican standoffs in LAST MAN STANDING.
#3. The versatile actor John Carrol Lynch– playing a character named Lynch– has a prominent role in two of the most notable contemporary films about ciphers and code-breaking: MERCURY RISING and ZODIAC.
Perhaps only John Carrol Lynch can truly solve... THE DA VINCI CODE. (I would actually watch that movie.)
#4. The brilliant character-actor Peter Stormare (FARGO, MINORITY REPORT, ARMAGEDDON, etc., etc.) is completely wasted as a grunt-uttering henchman with about two minutes of screentime.
Peter Stormare: he deserves better.
#5. For fans of TV's 30 ROCK, Alec Baldwin's villainous "Kudrow" in MERCURY RISING will come across as a carbon-copy, albeit "serious" version of Jack Donaghy– complete with pompous board-room persona, laughably right-wing sentiments, deep-voice affectation and all. This is especially fantastic in a wine cellar showdown whereupon Baldwin unsuccessfully instructs Willis not to handle his wine twice
which prompts Willis to make the power play of destroying an entire vintage-packed wine rack
causing Frasier Crane, somewhere in Seattle, to wince terribly without even knowing why.
I must applaud this, ecstatically.