“Light the fuse!”
More. More. More. Apparently that is what Hollywood thinks that audiences want, and that is what they get with the latest Mission: Impossible movie. More action, more gadgets, more insane stunts. The thing that Hollywood fails to notice, however, is that what can happen in a movie is only finite. Increase one thing a little bit over here, and you will loose a little of something else over here. While this fourth installment is not as over-the-top and reckless as M:I 2 , it definitely lacks the sophistication of the first film. The first film was a spy thriller. This film is an all-out action movie. Sure, the writer’s try to add something by making Ethan Hunt’s team into renegades, but this is what ALWAYS happens. It’s one stunt peace linked to another with a weak premise and no recognizable adversary besides time running out and gadgets not working properly. Where is the wit? The intrigue? If M:I III revived the franchise with its raw emotional impact, this one does just enough to keep it afloat.
Story: Ethan Hunt is prisoner in a Russian prison. With the help of his IMF team, he escapes, but in doing so he puts him and his team in the wrong place at the wrong time when a terrorist attacks the Kremlin. The US government, eager to avoid blame, points fingers at Ethan and his team. Now on the run without support, they must find out who bombed the Kremlin, why they were set up, and how to stop an even greater act of terrorism from happening again. Okay (16/25)
Acting: Tom Cruise plays Tom Cruise here. We’ve seen this character so many times before that we know that he can’t screw it up. Jeremy Renner is inserted randomly into the cast part way through, and does well in the action, but is no Tom Cruise. Simon Pegg joins the team for some reason, acting as comical relief I suppose, which is what he is good at. Paula Pratton is the final member of the team, offering the most emotional depth of any character, but is uneven in her performance. There are also a bunch of generic bad guys who are largely forgettable both in character and acting (part of the reason is that they don’t have much else to do besides run and shoot at Ethan hunt and his team). Okay (19/25)
Direction: Brad Bird, of Disney Pixar fame makes his debut directing a live-action movie. To be honest, the most memorable features of his direction are wide sweeping establishing shots. Otherwise the direction is generic. Perhaps it will take some time for Bird to develop his style, but I would think that this would have been the perfect film for him to direct. Still, the action sequences are captured well, and he does manage to make the Dubai tower scene frightening. Good (21/25)
Special Effects/X-Factor: In general, the special effects are excellent, but that is not the problem. This film lacks what all the other previous Mission Impossible movies had; something unique to set it apart. This just seems like a train of action insane action sequences that all turn out to go horribly wrong. It is true that this formula makes for an entertaining movie, but not much else. Yes, the team has been “disavowed”, but this really has little impact on the actual plot. There is also some attempt to connect the movie back to the original TV series, but this just comes off as cheesy and/or ironic. Generic bad guy with evil plot for mass destruction? Check. Team of agents with one-dimensional characters? Check. Renegade team looking to save the day? Check. Where is the twisting plot? The ethical dilemmas? The double identities? Okay (19/25
The Verdict: (75/100) = C (Watchable)
- The Good: The action sequences are turned up another notch, as are the special effects. Tom Cruise gives a performance we’ve come to expect, and the Mission Impossible series is safe to live another day.
- The Bad: A rather generic action movie. The premise is weak, the characters are flat, and there is no recognizable adversary or even a logical story. It lacks the wit and intrigue you expect from a Mission: Impossible movie.
Summary: Steps to make a profitable sequel. One, turn up action knob. Two, turn down story knob.
My previous review: Rated: If… (1968)
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