Mission: Impossible – Fallout


Viewed – 31 July 2018  Cinema

By the time the sixth entry in a popular franchise rolls around, you’d be forgiven for expecting things to get a bit lazy.  Tom Cruise has now cemented himself as the biggest action star since Schwarzeneggar with a does-his-own-stunts calling card to rival Jackie Chan, but can another outing keep on upping the anti? Let’s see… Cruise returns as super agent Ethan Hunt who this time is given the job of tracking down three nuclear bombs that have fallen into the hands of black market dealers.  He must stop them falling into the hands of The Apostles, what remains of Rogue Nation’s The Syndicate to prevent a global catastrophe.  However when a mission takes an unexpected turn, Hunt and his team (including series regulars Simon Pegg & Ving Rhames) find the odds stacked against them – just how it should be.

Mission Impossible Fallout

Ok so having to stop nuclear bombs falling into the wrong hands is probably as generic a plot as it gets and with the return of Rogue Nation’s sleepy-talking villain, this initially felt like it was going through the motions.  Yet it soon dawned on me that this time it was less about the mission and more about Ethan Hunt; the man, his methods and his dilemmas, constantly haunted by that fateful decision he made three movies back to send his wife (Michelle Monaghan) into hiding.  The story handles this aspect that’s only ever been hinted at in previous movies, very well indeed and proves the movie’s beating heart in place of set piece after set piece.  Yet along with the return of Rebecca Ferguson’s assassin ‘Elsa’ we still get tons of action, car chases, roof top chases, fights and a helicopter chase sequence that has to be seen to be believed.

The pacing stumbles occasionally, not helped by some copy and paste sequences that aren’t quite as good as we’ve seen before (another bike chase?), yet the movie makes up for this in strong performances and memorable character moments that made me love the camaraderie between Hunt and his agents.  Six movies into the franchise this may be a different kind of Mission Impossible but by this stage that’s a good thing.

Verdict:  3.5 /5

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Patriots Day


Viewed – 12 August 2017  Online rental

I don’t think it can be argued, that we live in scary times.  That also can’t be argued for world history either, but in our modern society, it’s still difficult to accept that such atrocities like 9/11 are even possible.  Aren’t we supposed to be more sophisticated than that?  Apparently not and one such terror incident, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing is another example of senseless violence in the name of extremist viewpoints and hate.  This latest from acclaimed director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon) once again stars his go-to actor Mark Wahlberg as a demoted Police officer on security detail at said marathon when a series of bombs are detonated.

Patriots Day

Wahlberg is probably one of the most likable and watchable A-list stars around and I for one enjoy his performances even if he’s not really going to give say, Tom Hanks cause for concern.  He’s the ideal everyman and well cast in this ensemble piece that gives us several characters to latch onto as events unfold (with appearances from Kevin Bacon, John Goodman and Michelle Monaghan).  Berg’s direction is slick and gritty, offering up a mix of traditional and hand-held camera work for added intensity, a pounding score and an unflinching eye for detail and tense moments.  The scene in the car involving a Chinese guy and a terrorist is particularly unbearable.  The movie itself is eye-opening to what went on and how things played out was fascinating, occasionally shocking and well… humbling.

I’ll never understand the evil that people can inflict on society in the name of their beliefs and it’s something that seemingly has no end or answer.  This was a suitably harrowing watch at times, even if it fails to have anything new to say (leaving the terrorists motives under-explored) … but in our current times, I’d still recommend this.

Verdict:  3.5 /5

Gone Baby Gone


Viewed – 01 February 2014  Netflix

Taken me a while to review this and it seemed the most interesting choice on Netflix as I was perusing titles suitable for both my mother and father to watch at same time … so anything particularly violent or with sex in it is usually out the window.  This 2007 drama stars Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan as a 30 something couple who are also private investigators.  They get hired by the dysfunctional family of a recently kidnapped girl after the Police fail to produce leads.  Will they manage to find the girl when the authorities could not?

gone-baby-gone_edited

Based on a novel by Dennis Lehane and Directed by Ben Affleck, who has increasingly made a name for himself as a director with titles like the Oscar-magnet Argo … this I feel is his most assured and meaningful film, with a real-world relevance in reflection to those missing children headlines we hear about.  Co-starring Morgan Freeman as a world-weary Police Chief (isn’t he always?) and Ed Harris as a special agent Casey turns to during his investigation, this has decent performances across the board.  Although taking a while to warm to, Ben’s younger sibling proved a believable and watchable lead and well, I’m a fan of the gorgeous Monaghan who again proves convincing.  It doesn’t gloss over the more harrowing aspects of child abduction neither.  For a movie watched with my parents, the language was stronger than I felt necessary, but that’s my only sticking point.

The story had plenty of twists and turns, keeping me guessing throughout (although I got lost a little) and even when I thought I had it figured out, pretty much guessing one of the bad guys early on … the final morality-punch was a surprise, leaving me thinking ever since.  Well worth checking out.

Verdict:  4 /5

Source Code


Viewed – 15 August 2011  Blu-ray

Following up what was one of the most gripping and rewarding sci-fi movies in years in the shape of the award winning Moon, director Duncan Jones had a lot of expectation weighing heavy on his shoulders.  Starring one of my favourite actors, Jake Gyllenhaal as Captain Colter Stevens (great movie name there!) who finds himself on a train that’s about to fall victim to a terrorist bomb threat.  Given only eight minutes to discover what happens before his conciousness is transported back to the military facility housing a top-secret project called The Source Code, Captian Stevens must continually, groundhog day-like revisit the train and identify the culprit to prevent any further devesation.

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Eagle Eye


Viewed – 23 April 2009  Blu-ray

The concept of big-brother is always watching you and what might happen if said big-brother decided to set you up and take over your life, is an instant clincher in my opinion, and the trailer was enough to make me want to see this.  Add to this current hot property Shia LaBeouf (Transformers, Indiana Jones), this follows a template similar to Will Smith vehicle Enemy Of The State as an ordinary Joe becomes embroiled in extra-ordinary events, except this time he’s not alone as a disembodied female voice on a cell phone is controlling people seemingly at random by threatening their lives if they don’t play ball.

Slickly directed by D J Caruso and with stylish action (especially the tunnel sequence) this is fast-paced and thrilling, even if the final reveal harks at cliché with blatant theft from 2001: A Space Odyssey.  LeBeouf is supported well by a believable mom-in-peril performance from the likable and beautiful Michelle Monaghan (Mission Impossible 3, Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang) and a dependable turn from Billy Bob Thornton.  Although I did find it a tad confusing towards the end, this still passes time well with some great moments and a bitter-sweet ending.  The kind of topical film that gets you thinking about just who is watching us and what power they may have over our lives.

Verdict:  3 /5