Posts Tagged ‘MissionImpossible’

Mission: Impossible 2

Posted: August 17, 2018 in Movies
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Anticipation was high for Mission: Impossible 2. Back then, in the late 90’s, Cruise was not known for coming back for sequels. For a while we didn’t know if he would be back or if the sequel would have a new team. It turned out a bit of both happened. See when the sequel went ahead the agenda for these films was for each one to be distinct. The only connecting tissue to be Ethan Hunt, Ving Rhames’ Luther Strickell and an impossible mission. It would be the next installment in the franchise, MI3, which would introduce characters and plot points which would continue across further sequels but with this first sequel Cruise & co. were still figuring out what this franchise was. That is why this one comes across as set apart from other entries in the franchise.

John Woo signing up to direct Mission: Impossible 2 was a big deal. Throughout the 80’s and the 90’s Woo had earned a reputation as one of the best action directors working in the industry. His films and his name carried a huge amound of weight and expectation. The mid-90’s saw Woo move into Hollywood and he turned out several hits such as Hard Target, Broken Arrow and Face Off. For a budding action franchise like Mission: Impossible Woo was a sure bet. The first publicity stills for this film showed Cruise’s character scaling a cliff face without a rope. Hardcore. Then the teaser trailers started to arrive, the interviews in Empire and Total Film magazine were gearing up anticipation and the footage in the trailers was impressive. Everyone assumed a home run, a more action focused/heavy film than the first movie and backed up with a solid cast.

The results are a mixed bag. See the finished film is a servicable action movie, a tad on the long side, but it’s mostly well done and entertaining. It’s not a great example of Woo’s amazing talents as a filmmaker nor can it be called one of the better entries in the Mission: Impossible series which, to date, is known for quality sequels. The best way to sum up this experiment is that sometimes what seems great in theory doesn’t always result in the outcome you want. I can’t say what went down during production but I can relate what I felt worked and didn’t for the sequel.

Some of the best parts of the film are the IMF scenes. Prepping for the mission, recruiting agents, infiltration, face masks or engaging with the bad guys is when the film feels like a Mission: Impossible movie. This film’s McGuffin is fine. A deadly virus. It could wipe out millions of innocent people if the wrong people get a hold of it. Okay. We got it. That works. The notion of one of Ethan’s peers going rogue is a good touch too. What brings all of this down a bit is the execution in how the script deals with all of this.

The virus stuff for example. One minute you think it’s a case of the bad guys have it and will unleash it but then it’s like oh no hang on… no one has it, no one is sure who has it and the baddies actually just want to sell it. It just feels a bit too dense for such a simple concept.

Then there’s Thandie Newton’s character Nyah. Talk about wasted oppertunity. First of all I think Newton is awesome and I like her character in this. Yet the film seems intent at keeping her away from all of the action and excitement! Instead she’s there just to take part in this weird over the top romance between herself and Ethan which comes out of nowhere. The worse part is how the script/movie introduces her as this cool Catwoman like master theif who Ethan has to recruit and THEN his boss is like “Actually we don’t need her skills as a theif. We just want her to go back to her ex-boyfriend-“ and be a damsel basically. Why build her up if that’s all you want to do with her? I think she should have been involved in the infiltration stuff, like actively over seeing it and kicking arse.

The action, as you’d expect, is well done but I would not say it’s brilliant. There are some neat Woo staples. A bit more hand to hand combat which is always boss to see and a decent shoot-out or two. The irony creeps in on the action though once it starts being a bit too John Woo in style. It just feels misguided. Ethan Hunt as a John Woo hero, for me, doesn’t work. It comes across as surprising at best and – sorry – corny at worse. All billowing black leather jackets and shades AND doves. That stuff works great in the right movie but this is not the right movie. Even the high speed bike chase doesn’t seem natural to this world. BUT – you gotta always see the positive guys – I do appreciate the care and detail that went into pulling off those stunts and action scenes. Cruise goes all in on all of the hand to hand combat and the results are great.

Mission: Impossible 2 is a decent addition to the series and as an action film it’s good. Sure there’s better out there. I just feel this one has gotten a bit of a reputation over the years as being the lesser entry in this franchise and while I can see it has issues it’s hardly what I would call a bad movie. Don’t forget this was uncharted land for Cruise and his fellow producers. For all we knew the next film would have an even more distinct auteur style because that was the direction Cruise felt the series should go. As we know now it never but as a glimpse of what way this series could have went this is an interesting take.

 

 

 

 

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It’s uncommon for a franchise, like Mission: Impossible, to not only still be going after two decades but to constantly prove to be an exciting and action packed time at the cinema. We have Tom Cruise to thank for that. Not Tom Cruise the movie star but Tom Cruise the producer. Cruise took the smart route of being a producer on the 1996 original movie and it is this position which has allowed him to oversee and protect his franchise for this long. From co-stars to directors and writers Tom Cruise had a say in who came on board the Mission: Impossible team. Here we are with the sixth film in the series, Mission: Impossible Fallout, which is not only great but demonstrates how this series can and should keep going for a long as Cruise sees fit.

I enjoyed the plot of Fallout a great deal. In fact I went back and watched the first movie, directed by Brian De Palma, right after I got home from the theatre. The reason for that is Fallout is the most similar sequel, to date, to the first film. The story is dense and because all invovled have done their job right you will be led down a path of mystery, large scale threat and danger right from the opening and up until the pulse pounding finale. Plot points went in directions I did not expect, old faces shine and new characters are introduced which fit perfectly into the world of Ethan Hunt.

Mission: Impossible Fallout sees two first’s for the series, one is the return of director/writer Christopher McQuarrie and the other is a recurring female agent in the form of Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust. Faust almost stole the show in the last movie. It’s great to have her back. It is frustrating how the male characters – Luther and Benji – recur yet we don’t get the ladies back until now. Directors have gone on record saying it comes down to schedule but – please – if you hold off filming or work around the male actor’s schedules why not the ladies? Hopefully going forward we get the return of more IMF lady agents. Paula Patton and Maggie Q both played kick arse characters and I’d love for either or both to be back at some point.

It was a great choice to bring back McQuarrie. He and Cruise seem to work great together and both are clearly passionate about this franchise. Each making sure the action and stunts will thrill audiences. The stunt work in Fallout is excellent. Truly breathtaking stuff. The action is great. From gun fights, to hand to hand combat and high speed chases on land and air. All of it shot brilliantly and clearly. Many people have praised the action in this film and I can see why. Cruise, we know, loves this stuff and sets the bar for his co-stars, all of whom I must say get rightly stuck into the action themselves and that is always awesome to see! All of the cast are great but Henry Cavill’s character, man, I gotta say he’s a force to be reckoned with!

The film, you know it’s fine being constructive and that, so it’s arguably a bit on the long side. I did feel, only breifly at times, it could have been shorter and as a result tighter. Some dialogue felt like the creatives behind the movie sensed they needed to over explain plot beats to the audience and ya know that really was not warranted. On the flipside most of the interaction and banter between the characters was spot on and most welcome. The score is excellent too.

Overall Mission: Imopssible Fallout is a great ride from start to finish and I look forward to seeing what the next impossible mission entails for Ethan Hunt and his team.

 

Mission Impossible

Posted: August 6, 2015 in Movies
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Can you believe the first Mission Impossible movie is almost twenty years old? Well it is! I remember when it came out in the cinema and a school friend had been to see it. During I.T. class I got him to tell me all about it. Totally ruin the movie for myself but hey I needed to know! When I got around to seeing the film I still loved it. It’s a fantastic and clever movie and easily one of the best in the series, which sees it’s latest release with Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, which is at a cinema near you now. Probably.

Mission Impossible came out the summer of ’96 and was directed by Brian De Palma. Tom Cruise stars as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. The purpose of IMF is to take on impossible missions that are beyond secret, so much so that if an agent is captured or killed the government will deny all knowledge of their existence. Ethan and his team start the flick by investigating a disc which if taken by the enemy would reveal the real names of fellow agents currently in deep cover all over the world. Let’s just say things don’t go to plan and leave it at that. One of the best parts of Mission Impossible are the many twists and turns and if  you haven’t see it I don’t wanna ruin the flick with this silly review haha.

You get to see some lovely looking European cities. De Palma capturing the stunning locations with his brilliant eye for detail and creating several beyond tense moments. Cruise and the cast are very good and play everything straight. Notable support coming from the always solid Ving Rhames, Jon Voight and Jean Reno. The rest of the cast all do good work and you may spot one or two famous faces in here beyond the core cast. It all adds to the fun of the film.

Action wise there ain’t much. Don’t get me wrong, there are action scenes but not the all out gun fights and car chases the later films in the series are known for. No, this is most assuredly an old style spy movie. One in which the reveals come with thought and patience. Objectives are obtained via well thought out and executed plans, one of the most intense and still iconic being the break into Langley. The finale does have a fitting and sudden all action pay off however which still impresses almost twenty years later.

The feel and tone of the first film is something I feel like none of the other films in the series have quite managed to capture again. Except maybe with Mission Impossible III which would be my favourite in the series to date. I’ve yet to see Rogue Nation but if it can somehow blend the smarts of one and the fun of three then it could be up there with this first flick and MI:III as the best the series has to offer.