This three disc set which includes 12 Monkeys(Dec/95),Mercury Rising(Apr/98) and finally The Jackal(Nov/97),is a nice package of Bruce Willis action movies which has Bruce going from being a convicted criminal from the future to being an FBI agent to being a professional assassin for hire.Compelling stories each movie has but some are better than others.Let's see.
The first is 12 Monkeys which stars Willis,Brad Pitt,Christopher Plummer,David Morse and a nice part played by veteran comic impersonator/actor Frank Gorshin.The movie is directed by Terry Gilliam and here he utilizes his favourite backdrop of a kind of retro-futuristic look,much like his world in Brazil.Willis is a convicted criminal who,to earn a pardon,is picked to go back to the past to obtain a sample of a virus that has decimated humanity.He lands in different spots in the past and loses sight of what is reality and what isn't many times.The virus,he has been told,was spread by a group of radicals led by wacko Brad Pitt called the 12 Monkeys.However it is not them but David Morse who works in the laboratory led by Christopher Plummer who takes the virus on an around the world trip to spread it.The film ends with a recurring dream Bruce Willis has had playing out in its entirety;he dying and his younger self witnessing the event.
The film is certainly a complicated animal and while one can appreciate the ability of Gilliam to finally connect all the dots in the end,it is a hard movie to follow for the average viewer.You really have to pay attention or you might find yourself scratching your head more often than once.You may even have to view it a couple more times to really "get" it.But then again if the viewer is put off in the original viewing,they are not likely to watch it again and again.I give this movie a 3 star rating.
Mercury Rising is certainly a step up from 12 Monkeys.This is a straight ahead movie with Willis as an FBI agent.It opens with Willis working as an undercover agent in a take down that goes sour.He is relegated to desk duty back in Washington,much to his chagrin.Meanwhile a code,a product of years of development by the US government,is cracked by an autistic boy who finds it printed in a crossword puzzle book.The section responsible for the code is headed by Alec Baldwin who puts a contract out on the boy.The assassin responsible kills his parents but fails to find the the real target.Willis shows up on the scene as an FBI rep and discovers him hidden in a compartment in the closet.He takes the boy into his custody and from this point Willis is up to his eyeballs in trouble as he and his charge dodge the government hit man.In the end Willis and the boy are lured to a rooftop under the pretense of a pick up by the witness protection program but it is Baldwin and in a touch and go scene,Willis is able to save the boys life and Baldwin goes down....from the roof to the ground.
I enjoyed this straight forward film and Willis does what he does best in his beaten down cop,looking for redemption and finding it mode.All is solid in the acting department and I give this film a 3 1/2-4 stars.
The last film The Jackal is basically a study in the methodology of a professional assassin.The story goes from Russia to Canada to the U.S.The Russian secret service,The MKVD,takes down a Russian mobster with the help of the FBI.However the mobsters brother in Finland vows revenge and hires Willis to kill the FBI director.But Willis is a spider who spins many webs of deception in order to make his ultimate kill.It is his grand form of self protection and just plain covering his butt.The FBI and the Russians work together but it is soon apparent they need help and they conscript a former IRA terrorist.With his help he leads them to the Jackal and they are right behind him when he tries to take out the real target,which is the First Lady.In the end Willis is finally taken out and the the IRA man gets his unexpected freedom.
This is again one step higher than the last film.It is a smart movie that keeps even the viewers guessing and we are often fooled right along with the FBI.It boasts a stellar cast which includes Sidney Poitier,Richard Gere,and Jack Black among others.I give it just about 4 stars.
Technically all the movies are in widescreen with various a/r's and all are clear and crisp.All the movies have extras(too many to mention)and the discs are packaged with one secured to the rear of the keep case and the other two sandwiched on a flip piece on either side.
I recommend this Bruce Willis three pack and it is definitely worth the price.