Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, or Sod’s Law

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

They advertise Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol as a daring spy movie with lots of high tech gadgetry and arse-glued-to-seat action. Yeah, I suppose that’s what the movie would look like if you weren’t really paying attention. The things I notice most about Ghost Protocol are the things that go wrong. Tom Cruise can never do an epic jump correctly. All of the tech Simon Pegg whips out winds up malfunctioning horribly and in the worst situations possible. I’ll give a shortie of the plot, then talk about what breaks.

The IMF is a secret organization working to resolve international issues and threats under the radar. The main team consists of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), and Jane Carter (Paula Patton). They infiltrate Kremlin in order to retrieve classified information regarding nuclear warheads. Their mission is sabotaged by Kurt Hendricks a.k.a. Cobalt, who is working alongside a man named Winstrom to bring about world destruction via nuclear war. The two terrorists bomb the Kremlin, pointing the blame squarely at the US.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
This gets the IMF disavowed and disbanded, at least officially. They are then given the mission to track Cobalt and Winstrom, using any and all means to prevent them from firing the first nuke. Ex-agent Willian Brandt, an analyst for Ethan’s now-dead boss, joins them in their mission after Ethan saves his ass from an assassination attempt made by a shady subsection of the Russian government.

There are a lot of close calls, and a lot of action, combat, and chase scenes. I wouldn’t call this an edge of your seats movie, though. Simon Pegg is just too silly. Since Tom Cruise keeps bashing his head on things and having his tech malfunction, the fourth installment of Mission Impossible almost feels comedic. Let’s talk about the major movie malfunctions, shall we? And I certainly don’t mean unintentional errors.

  • Ethan Hunt bashes his face three times in separate attempts to make epic jumps: Once into a very high-up window, once off a building and onto a truck, and once off a lift onto a car. Bonk, bonk, bonk.
  • The digital false wall Benji and Ethan use to infiltrate the Kremlin can’t handle the POV of more than one person. It works at first, then another guy comes in and it starts freaking out. Fizzle-fizzle.
  • The all-surface grip gloves Benji gives Ethan fizzle very quickly when he uses them to climb a building. One fizzles halfway up, and the other fizzles as he kicks the window of his target room in.
  • The mask-making machine Benji sets up to aid them in their attempt to trick an assassin into giving them the launch codes tweaks out and dies.
  • The face-scan contact lens William is given blows his and Ethan’s cover when the assassin they’re trying to trick sees it.
  • The magnetic lift Benji uses to move William into an underground server room keeps twitching and slamming the poor guy into things. Then it shorts out and dies.

Mission Impossible: Ghost ProtocolI’m pretty sure you know that this movie has a happy ending. Most of the stuff Tom Cruise does is corny in some way or another. Corny, cheesy, so-serious-it’s-silly, call it what you will. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is, despite this, a good movie overall. If everything worked, there’d be no “oh crap” moments to make you cross your fingers for Tom Cruise. Whether you’re hoping he dies horribly or not I can’t say, but that’s hardly the point. I do believe the writers made their high-tech claim a little hypocritical by making everything break constantly. The way I see it, you come for the Mission Impossible title and stay for Simon Pegg and his unfortunate contraptions. I love that guy, and you should too.

BlackSheepReviews sticks Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol with a positive review, and I’m glad to see that. Tom Cruise actually does play a very strong part in this movie without overwhelming it with his… Cruiseyness. I’ll admit I was a little sad when Lea Seydoux was kicked out of a window. I feel like her character didn’t play much of a role outside greasing the plot wheels. Can’t expect much from side antagonists, I guess! Here’s the link: http://blacksheepreviews.blogspot.com/2011/12/mission-impossible-4-ghost-protocol.html

Vanilla Sky Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’

Vanilla Sky
Holy hell I’m reviewing a Tom Cruise movie. What’s the world coming to? Oh, wait. It has Cameron Diaz? And Penelope Cruz? Well, damn. Guess this review’s gonna happen. It’s not quite a romantic comedy, but it does have humor. It’s almost a tragedy, but it has a happy ending. Vanilla Sky is a movie of mixed messages and strange twists, so hold on to your hats.

This is a story of David Aames, a man who seems like he has it all. His father was the CEO of a publishing company, and left a grand 51% of it to his son. The other 49% is owned by a group of seven directors referred to as the “Seven Dwarves,” who want to take the company for themselves. They don’t really play too much of a role aside from distant characterization of David.

On David’s birthday, his friend Brian Shelby brings a girl to the party. Her name is Sofia Serrano, and she and David hit it off while completely ignoring Brian. Julianna Gianni, David’s long standing casual-sex friend, crashes the party and sees him with Sofia. David notices and asks Sofia to stay near him so he won’t get confronted, and they wind up flirting all the way to her house. They don’t “get down to business,” instead spending the entire night talking.

Vanilla SkySo, next morning, Julianna shows up in front of David’s house as he’s getting ready to leave for work. She guilt trips him into the car, then becomes increasingly agitated as she reveals just how obsessed she is with him. David tries to calm her down by saying he loves her, but that just causes her to swerve the car off a bridge and nearly kill the both of them. By nearly, I mean she kills herself only. David survives with severe injuries to his head and arm.

He spends a lot of time alone, dealing with intense headaches brought about by the pieces of metal holding his skull together, before he decides to take over his company once more. One night, David goes to a club with Brian and Sofia, getting drunker than usual. Sofia seems to be distant from him, resulting in a fight. David passes out drunk in a gutter, then wakes up to Sofia telling him that she’ll stay with him if he cleans up his act. He finds a team to surgically reconstruct his face, and then patches things up with Sofia, making his life nearly perfect.

Then he starts hallucinating. His face somehow returns to its deformed state, and Sofia starts spontaneously appearing as Julianna. During one encounter, he beats the living hell out of her and gets arrested. In an attempt to obtain proof that Julianna is impersonating Sofia, he breaks into Sofia’s house, only to find that all pictures of her have Julianna in them instead. Julianna, thinking he’s a home intruder, attacks him. She initially insists that she’s Sofia, then leaves the room and returns AS Sofia. They start to get down and dirty, and right in the middle, Sofia turns back into Julianna. David smothers her with a pillow, then pulls it up to reveal Sofia’s face. Whoops. Confusing.

Vanilla SkyNow the even more confusing part comes in. David sees an infomercial for a company called “Life Extension,” a cryogenics organization, and his psychologist, Dr. McCabe, thinks there might be a connection. David is escorted to the building, discovering that he has signed on as a client, and has opted for an extra feature called Lucid Dream.

I’ll have to leave you off there. There are SO many twists after this point, so many that it exceeds my spoiler density threshold. There are only two things to worry about regarding this movie: Tom Cruise’s overacting, and the seemingly deus ex machina conclusion. Though not necessarily something I’d normally watch, I got a kick out of Vanilla Sky. Easy to follow and enjoy, if not a little obnoxious due to the Cruise.

Joshua Tyler of CinemaBlend gives an overwhelmingly positive review of Vanilla Sky, calling it a high point in Tom Cruise’s acting career. I would have to agree with him; just because I told you to worry about Tommy boy’s overacting doesn’t mean it’s god-awful. Just a little hard to stomach, if you’re not too familiar with how the guy functions. Anyway, here’s the link. Read up and enjoy: http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/Vanilla-Sky-183.html

Minority Report: Just Cruisin’

Minority ReportThat’s right, folks! Welcome to the future, and the future is Tom Cruise. First time I saw this movie, I was mainly paying attention to Mr. Cruise and his overdramatic performance. The guy takes himself a little too seriously, and I think even that statement’s a little modest. But hey, every once in a while his tone and the movie’s hit it off in perfect harmony. This is one of those cases.

Pre-Crime is a futuristic organization that works with with three very special individuals called the Pre-Cogs, who can see murders long before they happen. Pre-Crime uses the images produced by these future-seers to apprehend criminals before the incident actually occurs. It’s an incredibly effective system, and as such, it’s placed under investigation for flaws.

John Anderton works for Pre-Crime. He lost his son at a public pool, his wife left him, and because of all this he has taken to using a drug called Clarity. Despite all this, he’s a good cop. That is, until the system declares that he will kill a man named Leo Crow in less than 36 hours. Anterton has no idea who this Leo Crow is, let alone why he would kill him. All the same, John is hunted by his police friends, and by the federal investigator Danny Witmer.

Minority ReportOn his run, Anderton encounters one of the makers of Pre-Crime, who discloses that minority reports for alternative possible futures exist within the Pre-Cogs who make the predictions. So now, he has to run back to Pre-Crime and retrieve the female of the three Pre-Cogs, Agatha, in order to find a way to extract the minority report from her. Of course, in order to even get close to Pre-Crime without being eyescan identified, he has to have his eyes plucked out and replaced.

Skipping a bit, he manages to get her, and he quickly discovers that no, he does not have a minority report. He does, however, pick up the trail of a greater conspiracy hiding behind the mask of the honorable Pre-Crime organization. Soon, John discovers that the other creator of Pre-Crime, Lamar Burgess, his old friend, used his own system to get away with murdering Anne Lively. He manages to use Anderton’s lost son and Leo Crow to cover his tracks… But no spoilers here as to whether he gets away or not.

Anne was the mother of Agatha, and a Neuroin addict. Her daughter was born with brain damage, a common issue with children born of those addicted to Neuroin, though she was saved by Lamar’s original partner, then used by Lamar as the foundation of Pre-Crime. When Anne Lively came clean and tried to reclaim her child, Lamar made sure that she wouldn’t meddle with his system.

Minority ReportThat’s all of the plot I’m giving you, but that’s all you really need. For a Tom Cruise movie, this sci-fi conspiracy thriller really manages to hold your attention without making you say, “Really…?” Well, at least not as often as you would in War of the Worlds or Valkyrie. Quality effects, good characters, intriguing plot, and you have a win.

A word of warning, though. There is a considerable amount of corny-mushiness contained. It might get a little overbearingly obnoxious at some points because of the aforementioned dramatic tone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll kill the entertainment value entirely. It might make you roll your eyes, but you’ll be pretty content with the conclusion, I think.

Movie Review: Valkyrie (2008)



Tom Cruise with an eye patch. Nazis trying to kill Hitler. What is not to love about this movie? Tom Cruise with an eye patch. Nazis trying to kill Hitler. Tom Cruise can be a great actor. “Interview With a Vampire” is a great example. When playing a tough-guy Nazi, however, his annoying scientoligist arrogance takes over, and his uber-assertiveness leaves no room for anything else. He is a Nazi, after all, yet his apparent lack of compassion or sensitivity makes it difficult to believe his character is driven by remorse for Nazi atrocities.

This movie was supposedly based on a true story. The plot would have us believe that there was widespread German resistance to Hitler’s Nazi Germany based on their crimes against humanity. Forget that it only appeared after Normandy, when it was apparent they were going to lose the war. Maybe being invaded and facing a suicidal fight to the death was more incentive to turn against Hitler than anything else. I don’t know – I’m not a historian. I’m just a movie view who didn’t buy it.