Mercury Plains | Movie Review

Scott Eastwood is currently fast-tracking it through Hollywood, after a string of TV, he has been noticed as one freaking insanely gorgeous hunk who could act, just like a young version of his dad, some guy named Clint. After some small roles in FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, INVICTUS and FURY he got the ladies (and gay) vote in the pretty woeful THE LONGEST RIDE. After this one comes out you will be seeing him in SUICIDE SQUAD, FAST 8, SNOWDEN and LIVE BY NIGHT, in the next couple of years he will become a household name. Until that time, I present to you Kernel Jordan’s review of MERCURY PLAINS, a somewhat less than A-Grade film that will give you plenty of Eastwood eye candy and some decent shoot-em-up. MERCURY PLAINS is releasing direct to DVD in Australia on June 22nd, you could say we are a tad early with the review, it can be pre-ordered from our friends at Eagle Entertainment HERE :). Enjoy Jordan’s thoughts…………all the best…………..JK.

 

Mercury Plains DVD Cover image

 

BY JORDAN DODD

The issue of drug cartels will always be a tough issue to tackle. MERCURY PLAINS is an entry from Charles Burmeister, a name you probably won’t know as he hasn’t directed a film since 2008 (COLUMBUS DAY starring Val Kilmer). More importantly though, this is a vehicle for Clint Eastwood’s son, Scott (THE LONGEST RIDE and upcoming SUICIDE SQUAD and FAST 8).

Mitch (Eastwood) isn’t in a good place, living just north of the border in Texas, with his mother and her boyfriend, who sells porta-potties. I couldn’t help but find that funny, and there are a few unexpected funny lines in this vein throughout the film.

Mitch can’t find work, because there isn’t any in his town, and while smoking on his porch (in a pair of cowboy boots and underwear) he is approached by a friend who wants to take a trip.

Come to Mexico, let’s have some fun!

Mitch has nothing better to do so he takes the trip with his friend down south. His friend wasn’t much of a friend however, bailing on Mitch in a bar/brothel. A memorable exchange occurs between Mitch and the proprietor of this establishment, who tells Mitch that his friend didn’t pay for the sex. The following conversation is easily the best part of an average script.

 

Mercury Plains Scott Eastwood as Mitch (Drool)

 

Needless to say, he ends up kicked out of the place, and (very conveniently) is then approached by a man who was in the bar. Come eat, you must be starving he says. Suddenly though, while eating with this stranger, Mitch is being recruited; offered work that promises riches.

The legality of this job is very shady, as we find out that he is actually joining a paramilitary group. Their methods can be extreme, even if they are unsure of guilt. One of them quotes a U.S. law that allows them to operate in Mexico legally. I’m not sure if it is a real law, but if situations like this do exist, the result would be much messier than what we see here.

It is about halfway through MERCURY PLAINS when you realise where the writing of the story falters; it is hard to imagine Mitch, being the noble, friendly guy that he is, associating with a paramilitary organisation south of the border, intent on ‘kicking ass’ and hitting the Cartels. Which is an insane idea in the first place!

The group is mostly made up of young men not unlike Mitch, with the exception of the Captain who was my favourite character, even if his motives didn’t make much sense. His zeal is obvious, and the sad thing is that the Captain here is easy to believe, such is the hatred some have for Mexico and those who live there. And of course we can’t forget about the allure of large amounts of cash.

 

Mercury Plains Angela Sarafyan image

 

While this isn’t a traditional western, it is nice to see Eastwood playing a role in a place you could certainly consider the Wild West – the areas in Mexico where anything can and does happen, with not a soul to do anything about it. This is of course what the squad counts on, having the freedom to exercise their version of justice without consequence.

The Captain’s next move, the one that will get them their payday, is to Jaurez, where we are told the Cartels are struggling for power. There was some tension earlier, but it rises when the group move to Jaurez, including a decent shootout. While the story may seem a little silly, the film sticks to its guns, meaning the ending is near-impossible to guess.

For a low-budget movie, this also is very well-made. Not brilliant, but not horrible either. An example of this are the peaceful shots of the setting sun, contrasting the boiling pot of a situation Mitch has found himself in.

Unfortunately, the script is easily the worst part of MERCURY PLAINS, despite the already weak story. It was boring, nobody had anything of interest to say – most of the dialogue is limited to words that drive the narrative forward. It isn’t anything cringe-worthy, far from it. It just rarely captivates the viewer, apart from a few humorous comments here and there.

 

Mercury Plains Scott Eastwood as Mitch (Drool)

 

In addition to the Captain of this paramilitary squad, Eastwood is the only other actor who really gets a character to inhabit. And even he is very shallow; though this could be because, much like his father in those classic westerns, he doesn’t say a lot unless needed. We don’t get to know the rest of the men that make up the squad at all, meaning shoot-outs are entertaining, but not emotionally investing as we don’t really know who has been killed, or even what their name was.

As I’ve touched on, the story is extremely simplistic and unrealistic, as it is hard to imagine Mitch agreeing to any of this. The sound editing is also pretty atrocious: the gun shots don’t hit as deep as they should, and most noticeably, it is often hard to understand what characters are saying, despite the lack of a harsh accent or any noise in the background.

Let’s be honest though, this is all about Eastwood. He easily has the most lines, the most screen-time, and is of course often shirtless. Time will tell if he can make his father proud, but after watching this, he certainly has a smooth screen-presence. Give him some time and a better script and I think we’ll see some great things from him in the future (Ed’s Note: His upcoming films are all A-Grade blockbusters, including taking over from Paul Walker in future FAST movies). MERCURY PLAINS however will not be the one to put his name on the map.

 

2 and a Half Pops

 

 

Jordan Dodd is an aspiring novelist hailing from Adelaide, Australia. His first book is a chronicle of his experiences in a rehab centre that was more of a cult than anything else, and his goal is to finish it and pitch it to someone who matters. It can be found here. He also enjoys writing about film, which is probably his biggest obsession (apart from writing). When not writing for Salty Popcorn Jordan has his own website – he can be contacted via www.epilepticmoondancer.net