Director: J.J Abrams
Starring: Tom Cruise, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Michelle Monaghan
‘What’s that on your mantelpiece?’
Called out of retirement, super-special-secret spy ‘Ethan Hunt’ is back for ‘one last mission’ to rescue an agent from capture. He soon finds himself entangled in a mysterious plot and working behind the back of the agency he works for.
There’s not really much to say about a blockbuster designed for entertainment, however, this was only barely entertaining, and I shall dictate why.
We start off with a somewhat interesting opening, which has clearly messed around with chronology and was actually a good scene to pull people in with. After this it slows down to an engagement party of ‘Ethan’ and ‘Julia’ (Michelle Monaghan), and as a scene it felt like it was unnecessarily long due to the obvious prediction that this will be where he’s called out for his initial mission to instigate the films plot.
Pretty much after this, we move into all the ‘whizz-whizz, bang-bang’ and it escalates from there with various visually pleasing action sequences throughout the film.
There always felt like there was something missing in some of the action sequences, it felt like they were trying to accumulate to something bigger. This wouldn’t have been a problem had they been structured around each other better, but the mix of ‘half-cocked’ and ‘fully-cocked’ sequences were a bit messy, added to this, my mind kept saying “wow” or “cool” but this wasn’t felt.
Some of the most entertaining parts were actually the build-ups, such as infiltrating into places, preparing their trademark prosthetic masks and voice changers to temporarily steal someone’s identity and such. But there was a lot of building up, and mixed in with the ‘half-cocked’ action sequences, we are left in limbo, hoping for something much bigger and better to come along.
The various tension created in certain action sequences were pointless. Being a Hollywood blockbuster we know how the events will turn out so the attempted doubt of ‘will he/won’t he’ is fairly negligible. This goes for most films designed to entertain, but it’s a bad sign when it becomes worth mentioning.
The emotional scenes between ‘Ethan’ and ‘Julia’ were stomach churning as well, and they make you laugh because you simply cannot take Tom Cruise seriously. To date, the only films I’ve appreciated and liked him in have been ‘Collateral’ and his bit part in ‘Tropic Thunder’, apart from this he is never a character, he is always an actor playing a character.
‘Cloverfield’ producer and executive producer of ‘Lost’ J.J. Abrams makes his feature film directional debut here, and he was clearly a poor choice. If by any chance you’re looking to assess Michelle Monaghan’s acting talents, don’t choose this film. The director and/or writer clearly did not care about her, nor her character. ‘Julia’ was a very stereotypical weepy housewife type character whose sole purpose was absolutely nothing more than a plot device; a simple prop would have sufficed for her role.
The only actor who did stand out, however, was Phillip Seymour Hoffman who played our supreme villain. Unfortunately his character felt underplayed, and this is a great shame because it would have been nice to see more of him. His character, ‘Owen Davian’, was very shallow and heartless; Hoffman played this perfectly being that the only emotion that came through him was anger, the rest of the time he was always very calm, and had no problem with doing what “needed” to be done.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, was very strange in this. Perhaps he’s spent too much time away from home and has had his natural dialect affected, because his Irish accent was very inconsistent. This is very peculiar considering he was born, and grew up, in Ireland.
Simon Pegg also had a bit part in this. He was great in his scenes but his purpose was poorly executed. It seemed as if he was there only to provide some light comic relief to certain aspects of attempted drama, but this failed being that the drama was never very dramatic, it made you laugh more often than feel anything negative.
There were a lot of instances of laughing at bits not intended for humour, but it couldn’t be helped. It was often during moments of dead seriousness from some cast members, the majority of the time from Tom Cruise, who is irritating from the outset.
Sure he can carry a role as an action hero well, but he’s the same in them all. In this film, he distinctly reminded me of the character he was playing in the first 10 minutes of ‘Minority Report’ that I managed to sit through.
Unfortunately, it’s very hard to care about any of the characters in this film. If any of them were to die suddenly (even ‘Ethan’), I’d doubt anything would be felt.
The same goes for the story, the introduction was interesting but this is lost during the film because you just want to see the action. Various scenes of dialogue leave you thinking ‘C’mon, get on with it!’ and this is a bad reaction to have when they’ve attempted to convolute the plot, but you just don’t care.
This is fairly typical, and in keeping with the first two ‘Mission: Impossible’ films, however, they should have just left it at the first film. The second was greatly disappointing, and this one just comes across as a trilogy for trilogies sake to redeem themselves of the second film.
It’s a fairly standard, predictable and cliché piece of entertainment, which only just barely gets away with it.
I rate this 4 out of 10. Interest isn’t sustained, there’s a lot of building up with failed tension, a lot of bad acting, lack of care for anything that’s going on, and its unimaginative dialogue.
The aspects that were good though, were Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Simon Pegg, and the balance of realism between suspension of disbelief.
This film was entertaining to see once, but a second time would be purely exhausting.
Being that I would have been quite happy to dip in and out of this; overall, the film is more like an ornament on a mantelpiece, which you glance at every so often.