Picks and Pans Review: Without Redeeming Merit. That's the Verdict on This Witless, Uninspired, Cliched and Just Plain Lumbering Action-Adventure-Drama Featuring Willis as the Good Guy and Baldwin as the Baddie. It's the Kind of Movie Where Everyone Is Ju

updated 04/13/1998 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/13/1998 01:00AM

allegedly shooting down their fellow students in Jonesboro, Ark., is still all too fresh in most minds, the last thing one wants to see is an ammo-saturated movie in which a 9-year-old autistic child is targeted for assassination.

Mercury Rising's alleged plot has the kid deciphering a top-secret government code. Rather than change the code, covert agency head Baldwin decides to whack the kid. Willis, an FBI agent, tries to protect the boy. As directed by Harold Becker (City Hall), none of this seems even remotely plausible or entertaining. Neither Willis nor Baldwin are given much in the way of character or dialogue to work with, nor do they strike sparks in their few scenes together. (R)

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