Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Ethan Hunt Runs Funny, and Alot (aka, MI4)

When I'd heard that they were doing a 4th MI movie, I was a little worried.  The first film, simply titled "Mission: Impossible", was awesome.  The scene where Jean Reno's character is lowering a harnessed Ethan Hunt into a secure room to get the secret files (aren't they always secret files?  and they used to be on a floppy disk!) is one of the most intense, enjoyable, well executed scenes in action moviedom.

The second film wasn't all that great for me, while JJ Abrams' take on the series, MI3, was passable, if not pretty good.

"Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" surpasses the 3rd film, far surpasses the 2nd film, and in some ways, beats the first one.  I daresay that MI4GP might be the best of the entire series, and I don't say that lightly, because again, I really enjoyed the first one.

I like Tom Cruise.  He features prominently in not one, not two, but three of my 100 favorite films... "A Few Good Men" (25th)... "Minority Report" (36th)... and "Jerry Maguire" (87th)... and on The Dave250 list, he's got a few more, like "Collateral" (102nd, though upon further examination, this might end up in The Dave100)... "The Firm" (152nd)... and of course, the original "Mission Impossible", listed as my 246th favorite film of all time.

Of course, I do love Fun Tom Cruise, like I discussed in my review of "Knight and Day", and I think in MI4, action Tom Cruise merges with Fun Tom Cruise, making Ethan Hunt's return much welcome.

Ethan leads off with his team, this time with tech nerd Benji (an impish Simon Pegg, picking up where his young Scotty in "Star Trek" left off), Jane (Paula Patton who I'll get to in a minute) and agent turned desk jockey turned agent Brandt (Jeremy Renner) who, as they always do, has something to hide, something that's revealed later in the film...

The Kremlin is all blowed up and the IMF team is blamed, then "disavowed" from the US government.  Essentially, they have no back up, no support, no help, and are now on the run from those wanting to arrest them and bring them in.  As they try to clear their name, they travel the Middle East from Moscow to Dubai, getting involved with nuclear codes and Russki bad guys--and I'm so happy that we have Russians as the bad guys again, like in every 80s action movie ever, and like those movies, the Russkies have nuclear codes!

There is a vicious sandstorm to deal with, Ethan Hunt runs alot, great fight sequences, and an incredible scene where Ethan is using power-adhesive gloves to stick to the outside of a window near the top of one of the tallest buildings in the entire world.

Hey MI5 filmmakers... we need Luther in a prominent role
My two faults with the movie are simply this... I think Paula Patton is a good actress, as noted in my review of "Just Wright" and "Jumping the Broom", but my problem--and this is me, not her acting--is that I've seen her in a few movies playing the spoiled princessy brat chick.  Its hard watching her make a transition to action star.  Every time she talks to a member of the IMF team, I pictured her cozying up to Common.

Secondly, where the heck is Ving Rhames?  His character of Luther was a mainstay in this franchise!  I'm not going to spoil it for you and say he is or is not in the film, but we should have lots of Luther.

Overall, this is a great movie, and more importantly for a movie like this, its a FUN movie.  One of my favorite ten films of 2011.  Loved it.

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