Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (Review)

mission-impossible-rogue-nation plane

The Best Mission Impossible Yet!

Most film franchises crash into a brick wall by their fifth film such as Star Wars (Attack of the Clones), Rocky (Rocky V), Planet of the Apes (Battle of the Planet of the Apes), and etc.  Mission Impossible has taken a different route. Every Mission Impossible film is better than the previous.  Rogue Nation is the best Mission Impossible film yet. It’s success goes the director (Christopher McQuarrie), writer (Drew Pearce), and the cast that includes: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin, and Sean Harris.

Ethan Hunt (Cruise), Benji Dunn (Pegg), Luther Strickell (Rhames), and William Brandt (Renner) are trying to prevent terrorists from stealing biochemical weapons that could wipe out an entire city. Hunt boards the terrorist’s getaway plane while its taking off and successfully steals the weapons. Brandt is attending a close door Senate hearing about previous incidents IMF’s (Impossible Missions Force) has caused over the last decade . CIA Director, Alan Hunley (Baldwin), wants to shut down the IMF and allow the CIA to control its operations. Meanwhile, Ethan is in London getting his next assignment when he is ambushed by the leader of the Syndicate, Solomon Lane (Harris).  Lane wants to torture Hunt to the point where he will work for the Syndicate. Ethan escapes with the help of Ilsa Faust (Ferguson) and calls Brandt to inform that the Syndicate is real. Brandt informs Ethan that the entire IMF has been discontinued, and Ethan should turn himself in.  Ethan goes on the run and searches for the Syndicate and their leader while avoiding the IMF.

The only negative about Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is nothing. Honestly nothing comes to mind about Rogue Nation that detracted from the film. The pacing was great. McQuarrie knew that he needed help while writing the film. He has a good eye to direct action scenes and is a good story teller. He asked Paramount to bring in Drew Pearce to help mold the story, the character arcs, and sure up his original screenplay to make the best movie possible. Their collaboration was a success because every character had their spotlight of delivering a punchline or doing something humorous. There wasn’t a lot exposition that had to be explain through dialogue. Rogue Nation was a fast paced film and film starts out with a bang.

The action sequences are fantastic. There are about five major action sequences in the film. Ethan boarding the plane is the opening action sequence. The best action sequence might be the car chase through Casablanca in Morocco. Personality, I don’t think that I have seen a better car chase on screen since I have started watching movies as a young kid. Tom Cruise does all of his own stunts as does the rest of the cast. He is holding onto the side of the plane while it takes off, underwater and has to hold his breath for  two plus minutes, or performing that car chase with Simon Pegg in the passenger seat. He does all of the hand to hand combat too. The man loves his fans and will do anything to entertain them. The overall cast really shine in this movie but Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, and Sean Harris stand out.

Rebecca Ferguson nails the female lead

Rebecca Ferguson nails the female lead

Rebecca Ferguson and Simon Pegg might have stole the show. Ferguson plays a powerhouse as an assassin. She has sex appeal, charm, but like a black widow spider is deadly when she attacks. She did her own stunt and had several impressive hand to hand combat scenes.  Simon Pegg kills it and the person who goes to see the movies with me said “Simon Pegg stole the show.”  He adds so much humor his role of Benji. Benji is really the heart of the movie. Pegg is very pivotal to the plot.  The rest of the cast kills their parts. Sean Harris really plays a good villain. He is a multidimensional character.  The audience learns his motivations and is very deadly. The rest of the cast really nail their parts and even Alec Baldwin, who can be a melodramatic, killed that ignorant boss who eventually sees your point of view. Cruise does a have Point of View shot in the film and it was completely different from the other four movies.

Overall, Rogue Nation is one of the year’s best films. It is the best blockbuster of the summer. Rogue Nation gets a 4.8 out of 5.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (Review)

Bard Bird directs Ghost Protocol which is the best Mission Impossible film

Bard Bird directs Ghost Protocol which is the best Mission Impossible film

The Franchise’s Best Film Yet.

JJ Abrams and Tom Cruise created a great third installment for the Mission Impossible franchise. Brad Bird took over the directing chair and blew JJ’s film out of the water.  Bird captured everything that has made the Mission Impossible franchise fantastic with exotic and extravagant shooting locations, action sequences,  but told a cohesive story that introduced several new characters.  Mission Impossible: Protocol introduced Jeremy Renner and instantly became a fan favorite of the series. Simon Pegg also had an expanded role which helped him become beloved too. Ghost Protocol could be considered one of the best action spy thrillers of all time.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is in prison after killing six Serbians and is disavowed by IMF. Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and Benji Dunn, who has been promoted from technician to field agent, (Simon Pegg) break Ethan out of prison.  Ethan, Jane, and Benji are given orders to infiltrate the Kremlin, Russia’s Fortress for to protect their government executives, to obtain information about Cobalt. Cobalt is a secret identity for a unknown terrorist. Benji and Ethan are in the Kremlin but discover the files are not there. Cobalt hacks into the IMF frequency and plants a bomb that destroys the Kremlin. Ethan barely escapes but is hospitalized. He is interrogated by a SVR (Foreign Intelligent Agency) agent while in a hospital but Ethan escapes then contacts the IMF. Ethan is picked up by the Director of the IMF (Tom Wilkinson) and his chief analyst, Wiliam Brandt (Jeremy Renner), and told that he and his team are labeled traitors. The President had initiated “Ghost Protocol” which disavows the entire IMF. Ethan tells the Director that he has seen Cobalt and shows Brandt who identifies the individual as Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqist), a Swedish Nuclear Strategist who wants to destroy the world. The Director, Ethan, and Brandt are ambushed by the Russians.  Ethan, Brandt, and his team must stop Hendricks from using the Russian Nuclear device that he stole to start World War III.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol has breathtaking action sequences. Tom Cruise climbs the tallest building in the world. The action sequence happens in Dubai. One of his gloves malfunctions and it makes the audience feel like Ethan in his serious trouble. Ethan chases Hendricks in a car chase scene in Dubai during sandstorm. In the Dubai hotel, Jane fights the assassin that killed her partner in a hotel room during the Dubai action sequence. She amusedly kicks the assassin out the window and shrugs her shoulders that she doesn’t care.  The story was the best part of the movie.

Bird and the screenwriters, Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, crafted a story that is driven by the action and characters.  The plot grabs the audiences attention within the first few seconds. The prison breakout scene really helps to explore the relationship with Benji and Ethan. The creative team had the characters drive the plot and used the action sequences as consequences to the character’s actions. Brandt gets flushed out and it is discovered he played a part in Ethan’s past.  Jane and Ethan share similar experiences and their characters come to trust each other. Cruise and Pegg have amazing chemistry together and create moments of hilarity. Paula Patton really does stand out as a female action hero. The Mission Impossible film franchise has developed strong female characters which is one of the major strengths of the franchise. The only problem with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the villain. He is one dimensional.

Overall, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the best Mission Impossible movie. Rogue Nation has superseded it with the critics.  Ghost Protocol is my favorite Mission Impossible movie.  Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol gets a 4.5 out 5.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation comes out Friday. I’ve included the trailer below.

Southpaw (Review)

Gyllenhaal could get nominated for best actor

Gyllenhaal could get nominated for best actor

Gyllenhaal and Whitaker Shine in Star Studded Cast!

Southpaw is a boxing film starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Oona Laurence, Curtis “50 cent” Jackson, and was written by Kurt Sutter with Antoine Fuqua directing it. Eminem was originally going to start in the role but dropped out to write the soundtrack for the film. He did the theme song “Phenomenal.” The late James Horner composed the score.

Gyllenhaal and Eminem

Gyllenhaal and Eminem

Boxer Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) turns to trainer Tick Willis (Whitaker) to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife (McAdams) in a tragic accident and his daughter (Laurence) to child protection services.  He also has Jordan Mains (50 Cent) always lurking in the corner.

jake-gyllenhaal-southpaw

Southpaw is a very generic boxing movie at the core. Although it doesn’t hurt the film but it doesn’t add anything new the genre. The major problem in Southpaw is the redemption story takes a while to get started. That’s where the film picks up. Even though Rachel McAdams has great chemistry with Jake Gyllenhaal on screen and the audience feels disheartened when she is killed, the storyline has Gyllenhaal fighting another opponent due to the manipulation of his promoter.  The movie really becomes a redemption story when Gyllenhaal  turns to Forest Whitaker.

The two men who make the story believable. Forest Whitaker could be nominated for best supporting actor

The two men who make the story believable. Forest Whitaker could be nominated for best supporting actor

The acting in Southpaw is stellar. Gyllenhaal delivers a knockout performance with every other cast member. His relationship with his the young actress (Laurence) who plays his daughter is the glue that holds the story together. Laurence displays a range of emotion and her acting skills are impressive.   Gyllenhaal’s and Whitaker’s relationship and chemistry is what makes the film enjoyable. The two men have a understanding of each other and know what motivates each other. These two actors bring it every time. Whitaker has an Academy Award for best actor on his mantle but this movie might get Gyllenhaal his first one. The plot has underlying dark themes but the ending makes you feel hopefulness in your life. The boxing scenes are realistic and Gyllenhaal did get hurt a few times while filming the movie.

Overall, Southpaw is a good sports movie. The actors gave stellar performances. It’s a hard R movie; therefore, parents don’t take your children with you. I noticed a few kids in the theater, and they don’t need to hear the language in the movie. Southpaw gets 3.5 out 5.

Mission Impossible III review

Tom Cruise stars as Ethan Hunt trying to take down Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Tom Cruise stars as Ethan Hunt trying to take down Phillip Seymour Hoffman

JJ Abrams Makes a Spectacular Directorial Debut!

Mission Impossible II was released in 2000 and had mixed reactions among critics and fans. It took Mission Impossible III six years to be released, and it was met with a lot of positive praise.  David Frincher was originally going to direct the film but left over creative differences. Tom Cruise called his friend, JJ Abrams, and asked him to direct his first ever movie. JJ Abrams decided to reboot the story and have Ethan Hunt be retired and getting married as the premise for the third installment.

Ethan Hunt is retired from IMF (Impossible Missions Force) and training new operatives for the field.  He is also engaged to a nurse, Julia (Michelle Monaghan).  Ethan gets a call from assistant director, John Musgrave (Billy Crudup), about his former protégé, Lindsey Farris (Keri Russell), being held captive in Germany.  Ethan leaves to rescue her with his team of Luther Strickell (Ving Rhames), Declan Gormley (Jonathan Rhys Myers), and Zhan Lei (Maggie Q). The team successfully rescues Lindsey but Lindsey needs to tell Ethan something important about the IMF. Her captor, Owen Davian (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), triggers a device in Lindsey’s head that kills her instantaneously.  Ethan and Musgrave are reprimanded for the death of Lindsey by the director of the IMF, Theodore Brassel (Lawrence Fishburne).   Lindsey before her death sends Ethan a encrypted chip that the IMF technician name Benji (Simon Pegg) decodes. Ethan learns Davian is going to the Vatican to buy an item called the “Rabbits Foot.” Ethan and team capture Davian and take him back to IMF. They are the Chesapeake Bay Bridge when Davian’s crew ambushes Hunt and his team. Davian escapes then captures Julia, Ethan’s fiancé. Ethan is taken into custody by Brassel and branded a rogue agent. Musgrave helps Ethan escape and tells Ethan the location of the Rabbit’s Foot.  Ethan must save Julia by obtaining the Rabbits Foot and exchanging it with Julia while alluding the IMF.

Mission Impossible III has several glaring negatives. As you watch the movie, the plot switches from a revenge flick to save the love of my life flick. Ethan goes to Vatican City to capture Davian. He is obviously filled with vengefulness and hate towards Davian and goes to capture the killer of his protégé without his two bosses knowing about it.  It’s unsanctioned operation that could cost Ethan his life and career. However, the plot of the movie switches when Davian escapes. He captures Julia and forces Ethan to steal the Rabbit’s Foot and bring it to him for Julia’s freedom.  The final negative is the movie is all action and tension. JJ needed to have scenes to flush out the characters. However, the action is also a positive of Mission Impossible III.

JJ Abrams delivered a heart pounding non stop action spy movie. He also incorporated more spy technology into the film. Abrams did a fantastic job in directing action scenes and added humor within those sequences.  Cruise is the face of the Mission Impossible franchise. Ethan Hunt is the leader of the teams and develops as a character. He is getting married and retired in the beginning of the movie. Luther even tells Hunt that he knows that active IMF Agents can’t have successful marriages. Ethan replies “that’s why I retired because I love her.”   The chemistry and acting is one of the strong points of the film.  Cruise has great chemistry with every cast member, and the main cast gives great acting performances.  Fishburne, Meyes, Maggie Q, Monaghan, Crudup, and Pegg stand out in the movie. Pegg really stands out, and included a clip below to show you why.  Phillip Seymour Hoffman really stands out.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays a wonderful villain. He tells Ethan after he is captured that he is “going to find his love ones, torture him in front of them, kill him, and then them.”  His goal is to sell the Rabbit’s Foot, although we never know what it is going to do.  Hoffman shows a little remorse in the movie. He has been the best Mission Impossible villain in the four films.

Overall, Mission Impossible III has a confusing plot while watching it but it is a damn good movie. Mission Impossible III gets a 4 out of 5.

 

Mission Impossible II (Review)

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt is back for an action pact sequel

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt is back for an action pact sequel

Tom Cruise Nails Being A Action Hero!

The Mission Impossible franchise is one of the best in making enjoyable action pact movies. Every movie has an unique style because each director brings a different style to each movie. The first Mission Impossible was suspenseful “who is the traitor” thriller.  Mission Impossible II is the opposite because the sequel is darker with its plot but has a lot more action sequences.  Tom Cruise nails being the lead actor again. Mission Impossible 2 is usually the least liked by fans but it was my favorite Mission Impossible movie until Ghost Protocol (Mission Impossible IV) came out.

Ethan Hunt is sometimes unavailable to carry out missions for the IMF (Impossible Missions Force).  His double is sent to Italy to escort back a famous microbiologist that has information on a deadly disease.  Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott), Hunt’s double, turns on the IMF and kills the scientist while he steals information about a cure for a deadly disease.  Ethan Hunt is on vacation and is sent to retrieve the former lover of Ambrose, Nyah Hall (Thandie Newton).  Hunt convinces to Nyah to help him. Nyah is a skill thief and gets arrested which Sean bails her out. Ethan forms a new team which includes Luther Strickell (Ving Rhames) to help him eliminate the disease known as Chimera.  Sean meets with John McCloy (Brendan Gleeson), the CEO of the Biocyte (the company that created Chimera) to sell him the antidote. Ethan breaks into the Biocyte to destroy the virus but Sean shows up with Nyah. Nyah affects herself with Chimera, and Ethan has 20 hours to save her. Ethan must find a way to prevent a global disaster and steal the antidote to save his new love.

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Tom Cruise is the reason why every Mission Impossible film is so enjoyable to watch. First, he does all of his own stunts again. He climbed a rock in the opening scene as Ethan Hunt.  John Woo directed this film. He and Cruise designed the sequel to make Ethan Hunt as James Bond type spy. I had no problems with that. Secondly, Woo directed some incredible fight sequences that keep your attention throughout the movie.  Tom Cruise did more hand to hand fighting in I:M-2 than another of the actors who played James Bond or Batman in their respective films. Finally, Tom Cruise has great chemistry with every cast member.  Cruise and Netwon had a good chemistry together on screen. She doesn’t return for MI:III though.  Ving Rhames shines as Luther again. He and Cruise expand on their relationship in the movie.

Mission Impossible has some issues. The movie is very genetic in its plot. Good guy turns bad to get rich and is willing to release chaos and destruction on the world but only the hero can stop him.  The dialogue can be very cheesy. The third member of Ethan’s team played by John Polson is forgettable.  The biggest issue of Mission Impossible II is John Woo.

John Woo is director from Hong Kong that directed some famous action martial arts movies.  Mission Impossible 2 is just too unrealistic at times. The action sequences are shot in slow motion frequently, are so over the top, and it slows down the tension throughout the film.  The final fight between Ethan and Sean is at a beach.  Ethan and Sean just finish a motorcycle chase and jump at each other in mid air. Sean nearly stabs Ethan in the eye with a knife. Ethan stops it. There are scenes with doves which are crazy too. Woo created an action blockbuster that is too over the top.

Overall Mission Impossible is a good movie. It is an action pact thrill ride. I give Mission Impossible II a 3.5. It is hella of a fun film to watch.  Metallica did a song for the film called “I Disappear,” and it is probably one of the best music videos ever made.

 

Mission Impossible: Review (Minor Spoilers)

Beginning of an action franchise starring Tom Cruise

Beginning of an action franchise starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt

First Mission Impossible Good Start but not the Best One

 Mission Impossible was a 60’s classic spy television show before it became known as movie franchise.  It won several Emmys and had well known main cast which included: Steven Hill, Martian Landau, Leonard Nimoy, Sam Elliot, and Peter Graves as Jim Phelps.  Paramount decided to make a movie adaption of the popular television show in 1990s. The main cast from the hit TV show were not spring chickens but expressed interest coming back. Paramount executives decided to go into a different direction. They wanted the story to focus a younger agent, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), who has been framed for being a mole. Jim Phelps, the character, would be returning as Hunt’s mentor played by John Voight.

Jim Phelp’s and his team, which includes Ethan Hunt, are sent to Prague to prevent a theft of the IMF’s (Impossible Mission’s Force) Noc-List (List with names of all of the uncovered agents in Europe).  Phelps and his team are killed besides Ethan Hunt who calls headquarters asking for extraction.  Ethan learns that the operation was a mole hunt while meeting the Head IMF Director, Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny). Ethan survived making him the likely suspect; therefore, has to escape before he was apprehended by IMF and Kittridge. Ethan learns from the meeting with Kittridge that arms dealer named Max brought the Noc-List from a person code named Job off the black market. Phelp’s wife, Claire (Emmanuelle Beart), shows up at the safe house because she wasn’t killed like the other members of the team.  Ethan helps Max escape IMF’s hands to gain her trust.  Ethan promises Max that he can get the real Noc-list also she will set up a meeting between Job and he. Ethan recruits former IMF agents Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and Krieger (Jean Reno).  Ethan and his team break into Langley and steal the list. Jim Phelps is alive and places the blame on Kittridge for being the mole. Ethan must be believe his mentor or decide not to take his chances with the exchange between Max and he.

The first Mission Impossible movie is enjoyable. The film is written by David Koepp (Jurassic Park) and Robert Towne (Chinatown). The pre-production of the film was hectic. There were multiple drafts and well known rewrites on the script. There was no shooting script when filming started.  The story stayed in place with Towne’s help while Koepp and the director, Brain De Palma, worked on the plot and dialogue. Finally, Tom Cruise wanted a very big action sequence for the summer blockbuster. He came up with the climax battle that involves a moving train. Despite the constant budget debates, the script rewrites, and developing a suspenseful story, the filmmakers were able to pull it off. Mission Impossible is a suspenseful action thriller.  The biggest credit is that the film keeps you guessing and entertained for less than two hours. Tom Cruise also deserves credit for portraying Ethan Hunt.

Ethan-Hunt-Screencaps-mission-impossible-34541173-1920-800

Tom Cruise was already an A-list actor.  He was never considered a face of a movie franchise. He starred in Interview with the Vampire as Lestat but the franchise never could take off. Mission Impossible made Tom Cruise into a blockbuster star. He is primary one of the reasons why there are five Mission Impossible films. Ethan Hunt is the protagonists of all the Mission Impossible films. I love Tom Cruise as an actor. He brings it every time that he is onscreen. Cruise brings a sarcastic, daredevil, and serious tone to Ethan Hunt. The actor does all of his own stunts.  The scene where he is hanging from a ceiling trying to hack a computer that is Tom Cruise not his stunt double.  Tom Cruise is one of reasons why the first Mission Impossible is an successful enjoyable action movie.  Ving Rhames also added a lot of humor and quickly became a fan favorite.

Mission Impossible does have several negatives.  The dialogue is not tension or suspenseful. The story does have glaring holes. What made the ironic character, Jim Phelps, turn bad. Jim Phelps was the face of the Mission Impossible TV show.  The character does a complete 180 from turning good to bad. Jon Voight wasn’t on screen enough to provide the mentor-mentee relationship with Ethan Hunt.  The writers, executive producers, and director should be faulted for this. However once that I finished Mission Impossible, the treatment of the Phelp’s character didn’t brother me. I became a fan of the main character and the franchise.

Mission Impossible is a good first film in a movie franchise and it gets a 3 out of 5 from me.  Tom Cruise is a great actor; whether you believe him to be crazy or not.  Mission Impossible is on Netflix.

Ant-Man Review

Ant-Man is one of the best stand alone Marvel movies. It’s hilarious and a really touching redemption story.

coop on the scoop

Ant-Man-Poster

Edgar Who?!!!

Marvel Studios and their associates has a great reputation of making fun action orientated superhero movies. Ant-Man, their newest movie, is another classic blockbuster from Marvel but…it is very different from the rest of the films. Ant-Man is a character driven heist movie. It also completes Marvel’s phase 2. Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stroll, Evangeline Lilly, and Peyton Reed directing it.

Scott Lang, Paul Rudd, is an ex thief struggling with the life on the outside. He is unable to find or hold a job because of his previous criminal record, although the public seems to admire him for his criminal actions. He is unable to see his daughter, Cassie. Scott, his best friend, Luis (Michael Pena), and Luis’s gang of thieves (T.I. & David Dastmalchian) break into a house to steal the contents of a vault hidden in a basement. Scott finds the Ant-Man suit. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas)…

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