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Posts Tagged ‘Mission Impossible movie series’

Today’s post is reviewing four movies – one re-review and three new reviews.  The movies are: (old) “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016); (new) Immortals (2011); (new) Jason Bourne (2016); and, (new) Moneyball (2011).  Because this post is for four movies, it will be longer than normal.  If you’re not interested in my movie reviews, move along…  So, in alphabetical order…
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016)  —  movie review
My original review can be found here from back in April.  Back then I gave it a “strong” recommendation as “entertaining”.  That review stands.  If anything, I might raise it to high.  I think I actually liked it more.  The plot still doesn’t make a lot of sense, but as previously stated: it’s a marketing gimmick to get three super-heroes together so DC can start a franchise.  Even given that, I still liked the movie a lot – more so than the first viewing.  I particularly liked Ben Affleck (Batman) and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman).  And, while Superman is never going to be my favorite super-hero, Henry Cavill owns the role like no one since Chris Reeves in the original “Superman – the Movie”.  The movie worked for me.  Bring on the Justice League of America!
Immortals (2011)  —  movie review
Okay, so in ancient Greece, some beefcake named Theseus (Henry Cavill aka Superman) is blessed / cursed by Zeus (Luke Evans) to protect humanity (well, at least the Greeks) from a mad tyrant – King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke).  Phaedra (Freida Pinto) plays the love interest, an Oracle of Delphi.  Anyway, blah, blah, blah, Theseus finds a magic bow (“The Epirus Bow”) and saves the world from the Titans.
Since I’d never heard of this “legend” tale, I looked it up on Wikipedia and it is completely made up.  The names of the characters appear in Greek history or mythology, but this myth / story does not.  Still, it’s a good tale.  The movie is from the same producers as “300“, so if you like that kind of bloody action, fights and special effects (and I do), you should find this movie to your visual taste.  Final recommendation: strong.  I picked this movie to see if Cavill can act in any other role beside Superman.  That didn’t work out so well as he plays a “minor” superman / hero here, too.
Jason Bourne (2016)  —  movie review
This is a movie I really wanted to see at the theater, but never got around to.  It’s the fifth in the series and the fourth with Matt Damon in the title role.  Matt skipped number four which starred Jeremy Renner.  (Wow.  Now I’ve got to go back and see that one again.)  While it was nice to see Matt back in the saddle, this movie makes absolutely no sense.  The plot is the same as the others (the first three), the CIA wants Jason Bourne dead and he fights back.  The special effects technology is upgraded, but it’s used badly and adds to the “huh?” factor.
I never thought I’d say this, since I much prefer Matt to Tom Cruise, but Ethan Hunt is now better in the Mission Impossible series than Jason Bourne is in this series.  And it’s not Matt’s acting.  It’s the story telling.  This movie is what it is: Matt / Jason fighting and running around and being super clever.  Other than that, it’s an extremely average action movie.  I’m sure Hollywood will try to string this out for another couple of sequels, but it’s running out of air and there’s a DNR on the patient’s chart.  Time for a better re-boot than we got with Jeremy.
Moneyball (2011)  —  movie review
What can I tell you?  It’s only been a couple of weeks since the Cubs won the World Series and I’m missing baseball…
This is one of those movies “based on a true story”.  Basically, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) has to make a small market (ie “poor”) baseball team competitive.  He does it by introducing “Sabermetrics” to baseball.  Here, Sabermetrics is renamed as “moneyball”.  The baseball team is the Oakland Athletics (better known as the “A’s”).  The A’s lose three of their best players to teams with more money and in the struggle to replace them, Beane tries to redefine how you evaluate players using statistics instead of experienced baseball “eye-balls” (veteran scouts).  What happens is he turns the “rebuilding” team into one which not only makes the playoffs, but sets an American league single season consecutive winning streak.
The movie gives a fascinating look into the “business” of modern baseball, and, yes, I did get caught up in both the streak and the “romance of baseball”.  I liked Brad Pitt in Troy, but most of his stuff is just kind of “so-so” for me.  He is excellent in this role!  Final recommendation: High!!
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On This Day In:
2015 More Prejudice
2014 Say What?
2013 Daring Errors
2012 Are You Comfortable?
I Just Have To
In Flux
2011 True New
2010 A Job Well Started Is A Job Half Done
I See With My One Good Eye

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(This is a long post, so if you’re not interested in my movie reviews, you may want to just come back tomorrow…)
This last week I decided to do a mini-binge / marathon on the movie series based on a television series from my youth: Mission Impossible.  In all honesty, I watched several seasons of the series but lost interest due to the similarity of so many of the episodes.  In fairness to the series, how many times (and ways) can you save the world?  Anyway, I do remember enjoying the TV series.
Also, in complete honesty, because I have only recently come around to being a Tom Cruise fan, I have never seen any of these five (so far) movies at the theater in original release.  Further, I had only seen parts of number one on TV.  It’s not that I intentionally avoided them.  I just don’t think I ever bothered enough to sit down and watch them.  My brother owns the DVD set, so I thought, what the heck: binge time.
Mission: Impossible (1996)  —  movie review
Wow! Is it possible this movie is 20 years old and I’ve never seen it?  Sho’nuff.  This movie introduces Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) – the only two characters to carry through all five movies in the series.  Hunt is the leader and Mr. Everything.  Stickell is the computer and electronics expert.  There is one carry-over from the original series: Jim Phelps (played by Jon Voight).  Basically, Hunt is framed for treason and the list of IMF agents around the world is up for grabs.  Hunt has to lead a hastily organized team of disavowed agents to recover the list and find the real traitor.
This was probably pretty good for its day and it does have one famous scene: Cruise hanging from a wire, stealing a computer file, in the CIA headquarters.  Other than that, I found it pedestrian.  Not bad.  Just not very good either.  All in all, an acceptable kick-off to the series.  Final recommendation: Moderate.
Mission: Impossible II (2000)  —  movie review
In the first of several implausible stories, Hunt (Cruise) leads the IMF team in a mission to stop an Australian pharmaceutical industrialist who hopes to become filthy rich by releasing a virus which will kill most of humanity while his company is the only one with the cure.  (Huh!?)  The worst of it is the use of an “anti-Hunt” / bad-guy former IMFer who wants to steal the company so he can get rich, too.
Not only is the story unbelievable, so are the action sequences and the fight scenes.  I guess the good news is that there are a fair number of both, so you can be visually entertained.  The movie is not unwatchable and it’s not really boring.  It’s just kind of “meh”.  Final recommendation: poor to moderate.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)  —  movie review
Hunt is semi-retired.  He is an instructor and mentor for junior IMF field agents.  One of his most promising protégés gets captured and Hunt is recruited back into the field to rescue her.  She dies in the attempt and Hunt assembles a team for revenge – I mean justice.  Blah, blah, blah, evil arms dealer who gets it in the end.  And, there’s another mole in the IMF HQ.  Seriously, is anybody guarding the hen-house?
As a movie, this is pretty much another ho-hum’er.  As an action / adventure movie with special effects, this sequel is better than 1 and 2.  Strangely, at this point I’ve started warming to the whole Hunt / Cruise and IMF thing.  I’m not sure why, but I think it’s some kind of Stockholm Syndrome thing going on.  In any case, Philip Symour Hoffman plays a surprisingly excellent villain!  I have never been a Hoffman fan and really only ever liked him in one role – a minor character, a grad student in the movie “Twister“.  I don’t really avoid movies with actors, but I doubt I’d go out of my way to see any movie with him in it.  I still don’t get why he was considered a “great” actor.  In fairness to Hoffman, I have never seen “Capote“, but I did see “Doubt“.  I just didn’t find him believable in that film / role.  So, yes, I was surprised at how good Hoffman is in this role.
This episode also sees the introduction of the character Benji Dunn, played by Commander Montgomery Scott, I mean Simon Pegg.  Add humor here…
Final recommendation: The movie is again only so-so, but Hoffman is terrific and makes the movie!  Strong recommendation.
Mission: Impossible (4 / IV) – Ghost Protocol (2011)  —  movie review
Okay, so the United States education system is not big on Roman numerals, so we’re gonna drop the “IV” and give this movie a title.
In another entirely implausible story (IAEIS), Hunt (Cruise) leads the IMF team in a mission to stop a Russian scientist who hopes to improve humanity by blowing up San Francisco with a nuclear missile which will lead to WW III and which will kill most of humanity.  (Huh!?) By now, Benji / Commander Scott / Pegg is a certified field agent.  IMF is framed for blowing up the Kremlin and the President “disavows” the whole of the IMF to avoid war with Russia.  This episode introduces William Brandt (Hawkeye / Bourne “Lite” / Jeremy Renner) as a quasi-Hunt “Lite”.
At a certain point in this series – just like with the TV series – the audience has to say, “I don’t care if any of this makes sense, as long as I’m entertained.”  I thought I’d reached that point in the MI:II, but MI:III kind of brought me back to this kind of makes sense and I am kind of entertained.  And then they drop you off the cliff again…  Makes sense, no.  Entertained, yes.
Final recommendation: Strong to Highly.  To be honest I think this is based on the cumulative effect of watching 9+ hours of this stuff.  It has started to grow on me and I am enjoying them more, even though most of the time it’s the same thing over and over again.
Mission: Impossible (5 / V) – Rogue Nation (2015)  —  movie review
IAEIS, Hunt (Cruise) must lead an (again) disavowed / defunded / disbanded IMF to fight a British sponsored “rogue” IMF force known as the “Syndicate”.  Blah, blah, blah, exotic locations, explosions, motorcycle and car chases, fight sequences, innocent casualties, hero drowns, hero comes back to life, blah, blah, blah.  Hunt / IMF wins and gets the bad guy.  The moral of the story is friendship and doing the right thing is more important than following the orders or the law (I guess).  Oh, yeah, and again, never trust the guys back at HQ.
Final recommendation: Strong.  I’m not sure why, but again, I was entertained by this movie.  No, it’s not believable and almost everything has been done before in 1 thru 4, but worked.  Go figure…
Series final recommendation: Strong.  This is a series twenty years (so far) in the making.  As technology has improved, they’ve tried to keep pace.  Mostly, it (the movies individually and the series as a whole) works – the special effects, the “spy” technology and the movies.  I’m also finding the series interesting because they are aging the lead character (Hunt) instead of simply re-booting the series with a new team.  All in all, I rate the series as higher than the individual pieces and the last two as better than the first three.
Two final notes: like many of the movies in the action / adventure genre, this series has definitely made an effort to “span the globe” in an attempt to attract the global audience.  This series goes a bit too far (IMHO), but who am I to say as they are making a ton of dosh in the foreign markets.  And I apologize to any readers who slogged through this LONG post.  I hope you found the reviews moderately interesting / entertaining.
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On This Day In:
2015 Happy 4th of July 2015!!
2014 Happy 4th of July 2014!!
2013 Patriot Act, Anyone?
2012 Five Lost Wars
2011 Worth Fighting For
2010 Still Learnin’ Hard…
4th of July 2010

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