Your mission if you choose to accept it, is to watch the fifth in the Mission: Impossible franchise. But will it leaves me wishing the IMF was killed off?
The Impossible Missions Force is disbanded by the CIA just as Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) becomes convinced of the existence of the Syndicate an anti IMF intent on causing death and terror. With the help of Benji (Simon Pegg), Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Luther (Ving Rhames) Ethan tries to bring the Syndicate down. But with duplicitous Syndicate member Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Furguson) around will Ethan be able to save the day?
I’ve enjoyed the Mission Impossible series. It’s often ridiculous but fun and say what you like about Tom Cruise but he has pulled out some great stunts in the franchise. Rogue Nation is no different. Whether it’s hanging off the side of an aircraft or having to hold his breath for 3 minutes underwater Tom is up for it. This time around we also get a female love interest/femme fatale who can match Cruise’s in the athletic states with Furguson also doing a lot of her own impressive stunts. It’s also good that Ilsa is one of the better female characters of the series.
Yes the film is over the top, and overly complicated, and I’m not all the plot makes sense but the film knows what it’s audience wants. High octane thrills and plenty of action. It’s nice to see familiar faces Renner and Rhames back and I’m glad that Pegg’s Benji is back with an even bigger part this time. He provides a lot of the comic relief but everyone has their moments. Ethan’s fight at a Vienna opera house is both exciting and funny.
I found the Syndicate leader Sean Harris is bit underwhelming and seems to rely a lot on luck to get his plans to work. But minor quibbles aside Rogue Nation shows that there’s still life in the Mission: Impossible franchise yet. And judging by the early box office it seems we’ll be set for a sixth film soon.
Rating 4/5 – thrilling action and spectacles proves the mission is not over yet for this franchise
There were high expectations from Marvel and director Joss Whedon following on from 2012 mega hit The Avengers. But would too much hype mean all my expectations will be crushed Hulk style?
Having grow tired and concerned over whether the Avengers can stop every battle coming their way Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr.) convinces Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) to help create an A.I that will help defend Earth. Unfortunately his creation Ultron (voice by James Spader) decides the best way to save Earth is to destroy the Avengers and humanity. Teaming up with a pair of gifted twins (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen) they plan to bring the Avengers down and the world to its knees.
While the film doesn’t reach the dizzy heights of the first Avengers movie it’s still a great summer blockbuster. Theres some nice character moments to develop members of the team like Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). While there isn’t as many Whedon-isms as I would like there are still some very funny one liners. There was a surprising amount of swearing in the movie and a lot of innuendos. There was some hilarious moments such as the Avengers trying to lift Thor’s hammer. I loved Chris Hemsworth’s worried expression as Captain America (Chris Evans) nudged the hammer. The film also had some nice emotional scenes such as the Avengers coping after having been given a massive beat down by Ultron and the twins. Ultron made for a good villain even if he isn’t as awesome as Loki. We also got plenty of drama as the Avengers came into conflict over Tony’s actions, building up some nice tension between iron Man and Captain America which shall continue into the next Captain America movie.
Not everything worked. The middle of the movie dragged a bit for me. I didn’t believe the romance between Banner and Black Widow. They have better chemistry as friends. I wasn’t completely sold on the twins Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch either. Quicksilver suffered from the fact that X Men: Days of Future Past did the character so much better. Scarlet Witch just felt a bit undeveloped but could be more interesting in future installments.
There are fears that Marvels run of movies will become stale, but while they continue to make enjoyable summer movies and have a great team of actors and directors, I think they still have a way to go before we start seeing a real dip in quality.
Rating 4/5 – not quite the smash that the first film was but still a great superhero movie
Combining key cast members from The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook director David O’Russell brings us this crime comedy drama based partly on a true story.
When con artists Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) are caught by FBI agent Richie Di Maso (Bradley Cooper), they strike a deal that they won’t get prosecuted if they assist Di Maso with four additional arrests. Things get complicated when a politican Mayor Carmine Polito comes on the scene and Irving’s wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) gets herself involved.
As a big fan of Silver Linings Playbook I was excited to see this movie. However the experience left me rather cold. It may have been that I was expecting to see a different type of film. I thought it would a fun heist flick with some great twists up its sleeves and although American Hustle has its moment it’s more a case of style over substance. I’m not sure what enticed a cast this talented to be a part of the movie-I guess they enjoyed working with O’Russell on his previous projects.
The performances however are great. Bale, Cooper and Renner are all convincing in their respective roles but it the women who really shine in this film. Ever since I saw Adams in Enchanted I’ve been a huge fan of hers and she is fantastic as hustler Sydney, a woman who will do whatever she has to in order to survive. She’s tough, intelligent and more than a match for the men around her. She’s already bagged a Golden Globe and Bafta nomination for this role and I expect an Oscar nom will also be on the horizon. Lawrence also gives another amazing performance as Irving’s boozy, wildcard wife Rosalyn. A whirlwind mess of big blonde hair and ballsy attitude, she manages to be funny, hideous and vunerable often within the same scene. Another possible Oscar nomination should be within her sight.
Good performances aside the story is just not as strong. The plot rumbles on well enough but fails to captivate or intrigue as a good crime drama should do. I guess I was waiting for a really great plot twist or character reveal to come. However I just found myself not caring what happened to anyone in the film or how things would work out. It looks great and the cast perform well but all in all it’s not the modern classic I thought it would be.
Rating 3/5-a great cast elvates an otherwise average movie
Matt Damon is out; Jeremy Renner is in as the latest Bourne film tells us that there was never just one.
The Bourne Legacy runs parallel to the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, we are told that because of Bourne’s actions another program called Outcome will be terminated and that includes all of its assets. When one such asset Renner’s Aaron Cross, survives an attack to kill him, he and Rachel Weisz’s scientist Marta go on the run.
The Bourne Legacy starts off slow as it establishes new characters and story for the audience to become accustomed to but picks up once Eric Byer (a phone-it-in performance by Edward Norton) gives the order to terminate Outcome.
As the new lead of the Bourne series Jeremy Renner is solid as Aaron Cross, if a little undeveloped by the script. A bit more of a backstory would have been welcomed. All we really know about him is that he is dependent on the medical drugs Outcome gives its participants and his determination to find more of the drugs he has lost. However he is convincing in the action sequences and has a nice chemistry with Weisz. Hopefully any future instalments will flesh out his character further.
Rachel Weisz Marta is a good addition to the series. She may need Aaron’s help to survive but becomes more adaptable and quick thinking as the film progresses and tries to help out Aaron where she can. She gives a realistic portrayal of a normal woman caught up in an abnormal situation.
What the series’ most misses is Paul Greengrass. While Tony Gilroy’s (the series writer) direction is fine the film lacks Greengrass’ pace and energy leaving the film sluggish at times. The film definitely improves as it goes along with some good action scenes such as the tense shootout in Marta’s lab and a frenzied chase along the rooftop and streets of Manila. It was actually disappointing when the film ended as it seemed to really find its feet in the last act.
Overall this film may lag behind this year’s other summer blockbusters, but now that it’s established its new characters hopefully the next Bourne film will set pulses racing again.
3/5 Not a bad effort but hopefully enough time to improve things for the next instalment.