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Art Jeffries (Bruce Willis), a renegade FBI agent, combats ruthless federal agents to protect Simon, a nine-year-old autistic boy who has cracked the government’s new “unbreakable” code. He can read MERCURY, the advanced encryption code, as easily as other kids read English. This skill renders the new billion-dollar secret code vulnerable, especially if enemies of the United States should learn of Simon’s abilities and capture him. Program chief Nick Kudrow (Alec Baldwin) orders the “security threat” eliminated, but Kudrow hasn’t counted on Jeffries getting involved. As they are trailed by deadly assassins, Jeffries quickly realizes that no one can be trusted. Now time is running out, and he discovers his only hope of survival is using Simon’s special ability to bring their adversaries to justice.
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Furthermore, the pacing was suspenseful all the way through, except in those moments in which the film must establish that the child, Simon, lives with loving parents, or that Bruce, as the FBI "man-of-action" agent, must slow down to tentatively figure out how to interact with (and protect) the extremely sensitive, reactive Simon. At these moments, NATURALLY there will not be any car chases, crashing planes or other explosions. How about that??!! And while we all know that Bruce will get the bad guys in the end (sorry, was that a spoiler?? :-< ), during most of the movie we see Bruce getting deeper and deeper in a hole, and I, as viewer, had no way of guessing how he was going to get out, even in the last 10 minutes. So that seems pretty suspenseful to me!!
One more thing, and this is something I seem to find only in Bruce Willis movies and NOT with any other "action hero": Bruce is able to convey moments of touching tenderness (don't miss the last 3 minutes!!), and this has the effect of making the viewer all the more invested in the characters and the outcome of the movie. A dimension beyond far beyond cartoonish, Road Runner-type explosions and mayhem.
By the way, something else I noticed. Mel Gibson, in his movies, gets socked, beaten down, and goes into his poor-ole-me martyr-shtick. Bruce's action-guy shrugs it off and gets sarcastic. Which do you prefer?
As for the premise of this film: could our government do such a thing? I'd say, after the lies that led us into Iraq, and the knowledge that the president, Congress, and the Justice Department lied about torture and spying on all US citizens, the only thing we know is that the US government will tell us as little as possible, and lie about the rest.
The Jackal is the better of the 2 and is an updated remake of the 1971 Anglo-French classic "Day of the Jackal" based on the novel by legendary writer Frederick Forsyth. Bruce Willis plays an assassin with no name who is hired to kill someone important in the US after a drug raid in Russia, involving a senior FBI agent (played by Sydney Poitier) that results in the death of the younger brother of a Russian drug lord. The FBI brings in Dermot Mulqueen (played by Richard Gere) who is the one of the only living people who actually knows what The Jackal looks like. Just like the original, this is a taut, well-written thriller that will keep you on edge to the final gunshot.
The blu-ray transfer is excellent. There are no frills, but the movie is still worth getting. even Mercury Rising is worth watching.
There are two discs, one for each movie. This, in fact, a two-disc repackaging of the two movies from their original separate packaging.