Posts Tagged ‘tom cruise’

Mission Impossible Rogue.Nation

After seeing a colleague shot to death, IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is convinced that an organization called the Syndicate, made up of rogue agents from around the world, is responsible for a number of tragic events around the world.  CIA Director Hunley (Alec Baldwin) is not convinced that the Syndicate even exists, he thinsk that their existence might be a figment of Ethan’s imagination to keep the IMF alive and funded.  Hunley goes before Congress asking the IMF to be defunded and the money and resources to be transferred to the CIA. Hunley  asks William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) to tell him about Ethan’s whereabouts, but Brant denies any knowledge of what Ethan is up to.  Ethan is in Austria trying to prevent the assassination of the Austrian Prime Minster.  Ethan has taken along Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) for logistical support.  He runs into not one, but three assassins trying to kill the Prime Minster, including Ilsa Faust,(Rebecca Ferguson) a pretty assassin with a deadly shot.  Ironically, Ilsa has saved Ethan’s life before they meet in Vienna, is she there to kill Ethan Hunt or save him?  Does Ethan prove the existence of the Syndicate or is the IMF finally disbanded?

Was I expecting originality from the fifth installment of this film?  Not really, but it borrows heavily from the Bourne series with the whole rogue agent plotline.  Frankly, that plotline has been far too overused since it was used to perfection in the Bourne movies.  This movie, on the other hand seems to be going through the motions, car chases, explosions, dangerous stunts that don’t look all that dangerous, villains that can’t kill one good guy even though they are all paid assassins. The good guys don’t even get hurt, one example Cruise flips his car over five times in one sequence and emerges without a scratch.  The car chases aren’t that spectacular, the best car chases is still from Bullitt with Steve McQueen. The stunts in Rogue Nation weren’t eye popping, it’s nice to see a woman do some butt-kicking instead of the usual damsel in distress routine, but that’s the only bright spot.  The movie is entirely too long, and when the moviegoer thinks it’s over, it starts up all over again.  It’s exhausting.  They’re taken a good franchise and squeezed the life out of it.  There will probably be another one. But at least I didn’t see Fantastic 4.

The acting is just ok, not great not bad.  Tom Cruise does what he always does.  When there is a dramatic scene he raises his voice, and his speaking pattern becomes staccato, and he emphasizes certain syllables, and there’s always the glare, to tell the audience he’s serious.  He had success with Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow, and so he’s paired with another Brit, Rebecca Ferguson, but there’s hardly any chemistry with her, they don’t even kiss. Cruise looks tired, and old, but he produced the movie, so he is the star, and so we see a lot of the AARP cover boy acting like a 20 something.  Ferguson does a good job with her role, both the action and the speaking part, but because they rotate the female leads in these movies, she probably won’t be back.  Jeremy Renner plays a paper pushing bureaucrat, and that’s a severe under-utilization of his skills. Ving Rhames is a glorified driver, the writers could have definitely beefed up his role.  Simon Pegg was just comedy relief, and Alec Baldwin was good, in a ham-handed way, in a small role.

The direction was standard for an action flick, the audience sees one chase from the point of view of the rider, there is an airplane stunt that was not spectacular, and an underwater stunt that was average.  The pacing suffers when the movie slows down for exposition, and the director gets fair performances from all the actors.

Mission Impossible:  Becoming more like Mission Predictable.

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Movie Review: Oblivion (2013)

Posted: January 25, 2014 in Drama
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oblivion

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is a drone repair technician in the year 2077.  Aliens named Scavs have blown up the Earth’s moon, and made the Earth largely uninhabitable. The Earth is patrolled by drones, which guard the few remaining humans left on the planet.  All Jack has to do is repair a few drones, and head to Titan, Saturn’s moon, with his colleague, Victoria. (Andrea Riseborough)   Even though Jack has had his memory wiped, he is tormented by dreams of a woman he’s never met.  One day, the drones shoot down a spacecraft, and the lone survivor on the spaceship, is a woman named Julia. (Olga Kurylenko)  Julia is the same woman appearing in Jack’s dreams.  Who is Julia?  Why is she in a downed spaceship?

This is strike two in Tom Cruise’s comeback career.  What is the word I’m looking for to describe the plot?  Incomprehensible?   Maybe it’s unintelligible.  The problem with this plot is that it borrows very heavily from other, more successful sci-fi movies.  It takes heaping helpings from The Matrix, Independence Day, Star Wars and the 1968 version of The Planet of the Apes.  It even reminded me of another Tom Cruise film, Vanilla Sky, which also had a plot which was impossible to discern.  Oblivion thinks if it can borrow from these movies, add some special effects and lots of explosions, that constitutes a movie.  It doesn’t.

The acting is not good.  Is it that I’m just noticing Tom Cruise’s acting is wooden?  Or was his acting always wooden?  I don’t think so, I think his acting was ok, at one point, and it’s just not good anymore.  I like Andrea Riseborough, she was trying to provide this façade of normalcy with all this strangeness going on around her.  Olga Kurylenko spends all her time on screen fighting an accent, so I couldn’t really judge her performance beyond that.  I felt badly for Morgan Freeman, he was doing a warmed over Lawrence Fihsburne role from the Matrix, thankfully for him, it was a small role.

If you’re counting, Cruise has now ruined two genres in his comeback, the action movie, and science fiction movie.  What genre will he take the wrecking ball to next?

Oblivion.  Where Tom Cruise’s career is headed.

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Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is in a Moscow jail.  He is broken out of jail by his IMF compatriots, Jane (Paula Patton) and Benji (Simon Pegg) Once out of jail, Ethan is on the trail of a terrorist named Cobalt.  Ethan identifies Cobalt as Hendricks, (Michaell Nyquist) a Russian nuclear strategist who wants to initiate a nuclear war.  Before Ethan, Jane and Benji can get to Hendricks, he sets off an explosion that blows up the Kremlin, and frames Ethan.  The IMF secretary (Tom Wilkenson) meets Ethan, introduces him to a new analyst named Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and gives Ethan his next mission, before being gunned down by the Russians.

Hendricks kidnaps Leonid Lisenker  (Ivan Shevedoff, and Hendricks, and his henchman named Wistrom (Samuli Edelman) and Lisenker jet off to Dubai, to buy nuclear launch codes  from Sabine Moreau,(Lea Seadoux) a female assassin, who wants diamonds in exchange for the codes.  Ethan, Jane, Benji and Brandt follow Hendricks to Dubai to stop the transaction, despite Jane killing Sabiine, Hendricks and Wistrom escape to India to find a satellite, where they can enter the codes and launch a nuclear weapon.  Ethan, Jane, Benji and Brandt are in hot pursuit, in India. where Jane has to try to seduce an Indian playboy named Brij Nath, (Anil Kapoor) to gain control of the satellite.  Does what’s left of the IMF gain control of the Indian satellite before Hendricks can set off a nuclear war?

This is a disappointing movie.  The story is too long, with too many plots and subplots, the usual rogues gallery of villains, the Russians, (despite the cold War being over for 20 years) international terrorists and only a small band of Americans to stop nuclear annihilation. The Indian subplot is totally unnecessary to the plot, and I suspect it was added to boost international revenue.  The action came in fits and starts, interspersed with long and boring story and back-story that really didn’t matter.  The rule in action movies is keep the plot simple.  But this one is too complicated. The ending just would not have happened given today’s arsenal of anti-missile missiles.  The stunts just aren’t that spectacular, even the much ballyhooed stunt on the world’s tallest building in Dubai just left me bored.

Tom Cruise is an ok actor, as long as you know this, when he’s grimacing he’s serious, when he’s smiling he’s joking, and both expressions are the same. Paula Patton is really good as the action vixen who can kick butt and take names, but then she is reduced to the conventional female seductress role and that is really sad. Simon Pegg was funny throughout and was welcome comic relief in a movie that tended to take itself much too seriously.  Jeremy Renner’s character was much less intense and gritty than the one he played in “Hurt Locker” it was not a great feeling watching Renner play second fiddle to Cruise, but Cruise was the “star” and the producer here, so I guess he controlled the script as well. Anil Kapoor was another victim of bad writing.  His playboy character was perhaps the most poorly written character I’ve seen in a while, especially coming on the heels of his great performance as a smarmy game show host in Slumdog Millionaire.

Mission Impossible 4.  Does the impossible, makes me dislike a Mission Impossible film.

Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) and June Havens (Cameron Diaz) are boarding the same plane, initially Roy is able to board and June is not.  They eventually do board and by the time June gets back from powdering her nose, Roy has killed all the people on the plane, including the pilots, no worries, Roy lands the plane in a nearby corn field.  June learns from Roy’s former FBI  boss  named Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard) that Roy is a rogue agent who has stolen a perpetually renewing battery, and is planning to sell it to the highest bidder.  Roy says he is trying to keep the battery from Fitzgerald and protect the battery’s inventor, Simon Feck (Paul Dano) June follows Roy from Boston to Spain in order to decipher who is telling the truh, Roy or Fitzgerald.  Is Roy a rogue agent, or is he simply trying to protect the battery and its inventor?

This is a dumb movie, and just another excuse for Tom Cruise to run around and act like he’s saving the world.  He’s not even saving his career with this movie.  I knew immediately who the hero was and who the villains were, it didn’t take rocket science to figure that out.  The writers are so intent to have Cruise and Diaz stay together throughout the movie that they make Diaz ex a lame-brained fireman who’s in one scene, gets shot by Cruise, and is forgotten for the rest of the movie.  Needless to say Cruise and Diaz’s acting skills don’t carry this movie.  Cruise’s half-smile, half-sneer expression doesn’t work anymore, and his boyish good looks seem to be leaving him.  Diaz has had one standout performance in her career in Being John Malkovich, plays the ditzy blonde damsel in distress here.  If Goldie Hawn were younger she would be playing this role.  And Diaz is supposed to be a car expert in this movie, sure…I bet she doesn’t know a camshaft from a carburetor.  Whatever chemistry the two had in Vanilla Sky left them both.  Both stars needed a hit, and this sure wasn’t it.

Knight and Day A Knight to forget.