Movie Review: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015)

We are finally here, my friends. The final part in my series of reviews leading up to “Mission Impossible: Fallout” in August. As for anyone wondering about “Ghost Protocol”, I already reviewed that one back in the day when my blog was fucking awful… so you’re not getting a review of it now. And after this review, there will be no more “Mission Impossible” content on this blog… until “Fallout” gets released at least. Anyway, let’s get into the final part of this review series.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”!

After the IMF gets disbanded, Ethan (Tom Cruise) and the gang have to go rogue to try to take down a shadowy organization known as The Syndicate. That’s the basic plot, not saying much more about that due to potential spoilers. But what I can say is that while the plot is relatively straight-forward, it still succeeds in feeling like a good spy-thriller plot. Instead of going for convoluted twists and turns, it focuses more on being a fast-paced, suspenseful, and engaging thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat for most of it.

The characters int this are colorful, unique, interesting, and overall entertaining. As expected, Tom Cruise of course returns as Ethan Hunt. This is the same Ethan Hunt as in most of the previous ones, but a bit more developed. And seeing the shit he has to endure throughout this (not counting crazy stunts) is just as engrossing as it’s been in the past. And Cruise is of course great in the role. Next we have Simon Pegg reprising his role as techie Benji Dunn. He once again acts as a comic relief, but he also gets a few more dramatic moments this time around, and it just makes the character even more interesting. And Pegg is great in the role. Ving Rhames returns as Luther Stickell, the other techie of the team. He’s once again a charming, caring, (sort of) voice of reason kind of man that is so much fun to watch. And Rhames is really good in the role. Jeremy Renner returns as agent William Brandt, and he once again provides a bit of fun commentary on Ethan’s antics while still being a very important part of the team. And Renner is really good in the role. Newcomer time! First up we have Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa, a mysterious woman who Ethan and the audience can’t be sure to fully trust, and she’s given a good arc in this film. And Ferguson is great in the role. Next we have Sean Harris as Lane, a dangerous hitman who acts as the movie’s main villain. Not gonna say much more because his role is better left experienced rather than explained. But he’s a suitably creepy villain with good enough motivations. And Harris is really good in the role. We also get some supporting work from people like Alec Baldwin, Tom Hollander, Jens Hultén, Simon McBurney, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Joe Kraemer, and I think he did a damn good job with it. Sure, he mostly builds upon sounds established in previous installments, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of it. His score is badass, bombastic, exciting, and suspenseful, often elevating the movie’s many scenes.

“Rogue Nation” was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, and I think he did a great job with it. His direction has a good flow, making even the actionless scenes interesting. And then we come to the action scenes, which are beautifully shot. There’s not a shaky-cam in sight, everything is fully visible and shot to be as exciting as possible. Also, minimal CGI. Real vehicle chases, real fights, real Tom Cruise strapped to a big-ass plane like a crazy person. McQuarrie shows here that he has an eye for making compelling and awesome action scenes.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” takes what was good in the previous installments and blends it to make a damn fine action film. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and fantastic directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” is a 9,86/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” is now completed.

I really enjoyed going through these movies. Love doing review series like this.

Movie Review: Mission Impossible 3 (2006)

Holy shit, we’re already at the third part in my “Mission Impossible” review series. Time sure flies. Well, I guess we should jump into it like a Tom Cruise stunt.

Ladies and gents… “Mission Impossible 3”.

We once again follow IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) as he gets dragged into another mission. And this time his mission is to find and capture a very elusive and dangerous arms dealer (Philip Seymour Hoffman, R.I.P). So now we have our twisty-turny spy thriller plot. What’s fun is that it takes the MacGuffin, single villain plot of the second movie and mixes it with some of the deeper conspiracy/twist-based stuff of the first. It’s a good, fast-paced, and entertaining spy thriller plot. But there is also where we find the main flaw/draw of the plot: It’s fast-paced. Like, “almost give you whiplash with how fast-paced it is” fast. It’s good because it keeps stuff from getting boring or too slow (a la the first half of “MI2”), but it also makes some scenes feel a bit too rushed. So overall this plot is really good, if a little too fast at times.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and quite interesting. Tom Cruise of course returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, and I really mean it. This is not the wannabe James Bond from “MI2”, this is the Ethan of the first movie, but with some added details. He’s trying to settle down, but he’s also active in operations, trying to keep that side of his life secret. And Cruise is great in the role. Next we have Philip Seymour Hoffman (may he rest in peace) a Davian, the villainous arms dealer antagonist of this film. He’s a sinister, matter-of-fact, menacing motherfucker who proves a truly formidable foe for Ethan and his team. And Hoffman is fantastic in the role, taking lines that would be shit in lesser hands, and turning them into some of the most menacing things I’ve heard in movies. Next we have Michelle Monaghan as Julia, Ethan’s fiancée. Not gonna say too much as her development and such is kind of spoiler territory, but let’s just say that she’s a more interesting character than one would assume at first. And Monaghan is really good in the role. Then we get supporting work from Ving Rhames, Laurence Fishburne, Keri Russell, Jonathan Meyers, Maggie Q, Billy Crudup, Eddie Marsan, Simon Pegg, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Giacchino and it was pretty damn good. What he did here is that he gave us an orchestral score that featured both big, bombastic action tracks and smaller, tension-building tracks for some of the smaller scenes. It’s really a damn solid score that works very well for this movie.

This movie was the feature film debut of J.J. Abrams, and I think he did a really good job with it. As some of you might know, he has a penchant for making his movies very fast-paced, and while that can be a little bit of a detriment to the plot here (as mentioned in a previous section), it does nothing but help the action scenes here. The action here is fucking great, giving us fighting, shooting, swinging, running (so much running), and more, blending it into some damn entertaining stuff.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70& positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Mission Impossible 3” is a return to form after the disappointing second installment. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good direction. As I mentioned earlier, the relentless pace of this movie makes a few moments throughout feel a little bit rushed (but not enough to ruin the movie). Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible 3” is an 8,87/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Mission Impossible 3” is now completed.

Only one more to go.

Movie Review: Mission Impossible 2 (2000)

Here we are, the second part in my “Mission Impossible” review series leading up to “Mission Impossible: Fallout” in August. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mission Impossible 2”.

When a rogue agent (Dougray Scott) gets hold of a deadly virus, it is up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) to try to stop him from doing some bad stuff with it. So we go from a complex spy plot to a simple save the world plot. And I’m fine with that… for the most part. On one hand, sometimes you just need a “hero trying to stop a villain from doing bad shit”, and when it focuses on that it’s actually fun. But on another hand, this movie can be quite boring. The first half to be a bit more exact, as it meanders a bit too much for my taste. But when the second half kicks in, we get the fun, fast-paced, and focused action plot that we want. So overall this plot is… fine.

The characters in this are… well, they are… how do I put this… flat-ish. The first movie had tons of good character development, and this… doesn’t. Tom Cruise of course returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, and unlike being a vulnerable and interesting character, in this he’s kind of like James Bond. He went from a complex character to a badass archetype. And while he can be fun to watch, I feel like something’s kind of missing here. Oh well, at least Tom Cruise is really good in the role. Next we have Dougray Scott as the villain, Sean Ambrose. He’s not one of the greatest villains of all time, but he works quite well for the story being told, being an enjoyable foil for Ethan. And Scott gives a really good performance. Next we have Thandie Newton as Naya, a thief that Ethan recruits for the mission (impossible) and even falls in love with. She feels less like a fully realized character and more like a somewhat generic love interest/prop. But she does get some decent enough moments throughout to make her feel somewhat useful. And Newton is good in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Ving Rhames, Anthony Hopkins, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, and Rade Serbedzija, all doing okay in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Hans Zimmer, and it’s pretty good. It uses an interesting blend of orchestrations, acoustic guitar, and slightly distorted electric guitar to create some pretty cool sounds. It actually helps to make some bits a bit more exciting. As for the theme by Limp Bizkit… it’s actually okay when there are no vocals, as the instrumentals are fairly competent.

This movie was not directed by Brian De Palma, but was instead helmed by John Woo. And I think he for the most part did a good job. The shots look good and he does make the edit quite interesting. And when we actually get to the action scenes Woo shows his true colors… and man, that is a good thing. The action scenes in this are fast-paced, badass, brutal (for PG-13), and tons of fun. Say what you want about his pigeon fetish, but you can’t deny that Woo knows how to handle action sequences.

This movie has gotten a lot of mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 57% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,1/10.

“Mission Impossible 2” is a mixed bag of things, but ultimately works if you want some enjoyable action. It has an okay plot, meh characters, really good performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible 2” is a 7,01/10. So while very flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Mission Impossible 2” is now completed.

SLOW-MO PIGEONS DUAL-WIELDING PISTOLS.

Movie Review: Mission Impossible (1996)

With the upcoming release of “Mission Impossible: Fallout”, I decided that I should go back and review the previous movies in the series… except for “Ghost Protocol”, since I already reviewed that way back when my blog was total shit (now it’s only partial shit). So without further ado, let’s jump into the first installment of this franchise.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mission Impossible”.

When he’s framed for the deaths of his teammates, IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has to go rogue to find out who truly is behind this entire situation. So now we have spy thriller. And I do think this plot is quite good. What I like most is that it focuses more on building a suspenseful and somewhat unpredictable spy narrative rather than being a typical shooty-bang-bang summer action movie. It went for a somewhat different approach to its storytelling than its contemporaries. The slowly building sense of dread and paranoia is what makes it stand out. That said, the plot isn’t flawless. While enjoyable and well told, it can at times feel a little bit convoluted. It’s not as insane in that regard as some other movies, but it’s still worth pointing out. So overall this plot is good.

The characters in this are all layered, likable, and interesting. Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, a young and slightly cocky agent who gets put to the ultimate test when he gets blamed for his team’s demise. What I like about him here is that he’s a very vulnerable hero whose mind slowly kinda snaps after the shit that happens to him, and it’s interesting to see him get developed throughout the movie. And Tom Cruise is damn good in the role. Next I wanna mention Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell. A generally tough guy playing the tech dude… that’s just amazing. And Rhames is so much fun in the role. Then we get performances from people like Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave, Jean Reno, Henry Czerny, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Béart, Emilio Estevez, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles. The reason why I’m keeping it vague is because their characters/arcs are best left experienced rather than explained.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, and it is pretty fantastic. His score jumps between bombastic, droning, emotional, and fun, and it just elevates the movie quite a bit, adding so much to the scenes where it can be heard. And can we just take a second to talk about that classic theme? It’s just so fucking good and is just the epitome of awesome spy/action stuff.

Based on a 1960s tv show, this movie was directed by Brian De Palma and I think he did a great job with it. His direction here is incredibly tight and manages to build some absolutely nailbiting suspense at times. Just take the famous vault sequence for instance, one of the most suspenseful scenes I’ve ever watched, and that thanks to De Palma’s relatively minimalist direction. And the action scenes in this are in general very well choreographed and shot. This movie also has some of the best uses of the dutch tilt that I’ve seen. Though that could also be because I’ve seen a whole bunch of films use it as a crutch rather than a tool. Again, De Palma and crew did a great job.

This movie has gotten somewhat mixed reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 62% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“Mission Impossible” is a suspenseful and highly entertaining spy thriller. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. As previously mentioned, the plot can be a little bit convoluted at times, but it doesn’t ruin it too much for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible” is an 8,87/10. So while flawed, it’s definitely still worth buying.

My review of “Mission Impossible” is now completed.

One down, three to go.

Great Music #28

Hello there! Time for me to once again talk about some music I like. Got nothing else to say here. Let’s jump into the song!

So for today’s edition of “Great Music” we have something relatively new. Today we’re talking about Joe Bonamassa’s “Redemption”. Now, this isn’t the first time that Bonamassa has been mentioned/written about on this blog. As a matter of fact, I went back and checked, and this is the fourth time that he’s featured in a post of mine. For those who don’t know, Joe Bonamassa is an American blues singer/guitarist. I first discovered him a couple of years ago when spotify recommended one of his songs to me. And since then I’ve been a fan. Hell, his last studio effort “Blues of Desperation” made it quite high on my favorite albums of 2016 list. And now we are talking about his newest song (which I found out about today, and it’s been out for like a month, and I feel ashamed to be this late since I love his music so much). So here we have Joe making a song about seeking redemption… simple as that, the title basically describes it. The song has a cool mix of acoustic and electric guitar work, finding an interesting blend of blues, rock, and a pinch of country. It’s basically like something you’d hear in an episode of “Justified”. But yeah, as this series suggests, it’s another great song. From the chord progressions, to the instrumentals, to Bonamassa’s vocals, and to the awesome guitar solo that blends a bit of “Kashmir” with a bit of its own awesomeness. What’s also awesome with this song is that it helps announce Bonamassa’s next studio album (titled “Redemption”), set to be released on September 21st of this year. So yeah, a great song that gets me excited for a hopefully awesome album.

Have a good one and enjoy!

Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

Cinematic universes. Something every studio is trying to pull off after Marvel’s success with it. Most notably we’ve had DC/Warner Bros trying to catch up with their own DC Extended Universe. And it’s been a bit hit and miss for critics and general audiences alike. So let’s see if their big team-up movie is any good.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League”.

When our world is threatened by the evil alien Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) have to create a team of superpowered individuals to try to stop this dangerous new enemy. And that’s really all this is about. Okay, there’s a bit more to it, but I prefer to keep plot details relatively vague. Now is this a good plot? For the most part I’d say so. It’s a very straight-forward plot compared to some of the earlier outings in this franchise. I think my only problem with it is that it feels a bit choppy during the first act, like it’s been cut down to fit in a two hour runtime (which it most likely has). But that choppy start aside, this is a fun, fast-paced, and highly enjoyable comic book adventure plot.

The characters in this vary a bit in their depth, but I found most of them to at least be quite enjoyable. Ben Affleck reprises his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and we can tell that he has changed a bit since “BvS”. After what happened at the end of that movie, he has become a somewhat more light-hearted, less homicidal hero. And I liked seeing him as he worked to getting the team together to stop the end of the world. And Affleck is once again great in the role. Next we once again have Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. She’s once again a fiercely inspiring, fun, and warm character that I’d follow to hell and back. Seeing her working to get the team together and all that is really interesting, and she’s once again a really cool character. And Gadot is once again great in the role. Next up we have Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash. He gets some decent character development, but for the most part he’s there to be the comic relief, and he works really well for that while still getting some badass moments. And I thought Miller was great in the role. Next we have Ray Fisher as Cyborg, the genius, yet damaged mechanical member of the gang. He gets a decent amount of character development here and I thought he was a really cool character. And Fisher was really good in the role. Next we have Jason Momoa as Aquaman, the half man/half Atlantean warrior. He is very much a superpowered version of Jason Momoa, and I think it kind of works because I find that persona quite enjoyable. So yeah, Momoa was really good in the role. Henry Cavill returns as Superman, and the little we see of him here is my favorite appearance of the character in this franchise. And Cavill was really good in the role. Now, let’s talk Steppenwolf (no, not the band). As a villain he’s… fine, I guess. He’s a big CGI monster with some lines hinting at some deeper stuff, but ultimately ends up becoming kind of generic. Thought Ciarán Hinds did a really good job voicing him though, suitably menacing. We also get supporting performances from people like Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Billy Crudup, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, and more… all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, and it was pretty good. Nothing special, heroic big brass tunes with some strings thrown in for added effect. It’s far from bad, and the various tracks work well within their respective scenes. And for those wondering about that “Danny Elfman to use Batman and Superman themes in the score”, it does occur, but it’s more snuck in rather than just overtly used as their own tracks… and I think it works surprisingly well.

The movie was directed by Zack Snyder… and Joss Whedon. As most people probably know, this movie had a very troubled production, with Snyder having to leave the project due to a personal tragedy, so Joss Whedon had to come in and do some reshoots. These things considered, the direction here is quite consistent. When a new director comes in to do reshoots, it could feel like a different movie in parts, but it’s remarkable how consistent it feels here. So is the direction in general any good? Yeah. It’s good, it flows pretty nicely, there’s some good shots here. And the action I quite liked. Now, it didn’t leave the same impact as the action in “Wonder Woman”, but it was easy to follow and I had quite a lot of fun with it. What I liked most about it was seeing the various heroes show off their abilities, with The Flash and his speedforce being the standout. And the visual effects here are for the most part damn good. Some things look a little off at times, from some backgrounds, to closeups of Steppenwolf (BORN TO BE WIIIIIILD!), to even Cyborg at times. But like I said, for the most part the effects look great (again, The Flash having some of the best ones).

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 40% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 45/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

Despite a few flaws (that probably stem from production issues), I had a lot of fun with “Justice League”. It has a good plot, good characters, good music, and good directing/action/visual effects/humor. As previously mentioned, the plot is a bit choppy at the start, the villain is a bit bland, and the effects could be less than stellar at times. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Justice League” is an 8,52/10. So while flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Justice League” is now completed.

Come Together…