Star Trek: Beyond Review (no spoilers)

Star-Trek-Beyond

It’s All About the Characters

Star Trek: Beyond is the third installment of the rebooted Star Trek franchise. JJ Abrams doesn’t direct the film but handed the reigns over to Justin Lin. He directed three of the Fast and Furious movies and the second season of True Detective.  Simon Pegg and Doug Jung wrote the film after Robert Orci left due to creative differences with Paramount. Star Trek: Beyond excels and expands on character development of members of the crew. The film has had a tragedy surrounding it as Anton Yelchin, Lt. Chekov, died in motor vehicle accident before the movie’s release.  Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock, died last summer and the film is dedicate two both actors who play fan favorites.

The crew of the Enterprise is in the third year of their five year mission. The crew seems to be happy and be enjoying each other’s company despite being away from their different home planet. Kirk and Spock are conflicted though and are considering different options. The crew visits a new Star Base but it is interrupted when they receive a distress call. Kirk and his crew come to the aid of the call but are attacked by a deadly enemy.

Star Trek: Beyond has two minor weaknesses. The weakness is the first act is a set up and build up for the second act when the conflict really gets going. However, the first act (like 20 minutes) isn’t bad. They are entertaining 20 minutes because the audience is introduced to a new alien species and the comradery between the crew. The first act is definitely entertaining. The other minor weakness is the villain. He doesn’t get enough screen time to have interactions with key members of the crew. Star Trek: Beyond does explain the villains motivations which is a bright spot. The film so many bright spots.

The direction and storytelling is a major bright spot. Justin Lin directs a wonderful science fiction action movie with tons of heart. His action sequences are shot perfectly and are so entertaining. The film has hand to hand combat action sequences, chase scenes, and a great sequence involving a classic Star Trek relic.  Lin also brought a Star Trek television show setting to the big screen which made audience enjoy this film better. The best thing about Star Trek: Beyond is the dynamic between crew members and new characters.

The interaction between the characters make this blockbuster so memorable. Kirk and Chekov spend time together on screen. They both really form a solid bond. Scotty meets Jaylen, the new female alien. The interactions between McCoy and Spock or Kirk or even both of them. Bones really drives the heart of the story. He delivers the best lines of the movie, and Karl Urban is the perfect casting for Bones. The rest of the cast are perfect in the film as their characters.

Go see Star Trek: Beyond because the movie is very entertaining, and critics and audience love the film. Star Trek: Beyond gets a 4.0 out of 5.

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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.

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.