The first fifteen minutes of Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol feels like it’s giving Tom Cruise (War of the Worlds, Minority Report, Vanilla Sky) the opportunity to prove that he can still channel the massive ego of Ethan Hunt. After that, Director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, The Iron Giant) sends the viewer down a two-hour, adrenaline-packed venture that is genuinely entertaining. The movie plays similarly to a comic book: people get punched without bruising, break through windows with ease, and survive major car accidents and explosions that would have killed any normal human being. The biggest hang-up is Hunt’s unbelievable good fortune. Something is always playing into his favor, be it the leather jacket with a hood hanging on a ground-level clothesline in the middle of Moscow as he’s being chased by the local authorities headed by Michael Nyqvist (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Among Us, Day and Night), or the ability to survive a hail of gunfire that obliterates everyone except the one man who happens to have intimate information about Hunt’s past. And for agents who have been disavowed by the government and labeled terrorists for blowing up the Kremlin in Moscow, his team still has a wonderful artillery of useful gadgets, even a full-body magnetic suit. While iPhones and iPads look pretty cool in the hands of a bunch of spies, it would have been nice to see a few non-Apple phones and tablets just for the sake of fair marketing. The femme fatal of the movie, played by Paula Patton (Hitch, Precious, Swing Vote) plays well with everyone, even in the notorious cat-fight scene on the 130th floor of the Burj Tower of Dubai. She also sizzles in a beautiful turquoise dress as she attempts to seduce the only man capable of stopping an impending nuclear war played by Anil Kapoor (24, Slumdog Millionaire, Race). The comic relief comes from Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Star-Trek , Hot Fuzz) who has difficulty keeping his mouth shut at times. The final member of the group, played by Jeremy Renner (The Town, The Hurt Locker, 28 Weeks Later) is an analyst whose allegiance and conviction comes into question as rogue politicians of the Russian government race to arm an apparently necessary nuclear warhead. While not necessarily believable at all times, writers Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec (Alias, October Road, Profiler) have created a wonderful story that wouldn’t be complete without a slippery briefcase that no one can get their hands on as the first nuclear missile races for San Francisco Bay. By the end, it’s not that you’ve forgotten that the seemingly indestructible protagonist is non-other than the producer of the action-movie you’re watching, Tom Cruise, but looking back at the many hills of the roller coaster: it is easy to really enjoy this movie and the characters the actors bring to the screen.
4 our of 5 stars (3.85)
Ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve read all of the Twilight books and have seen all of the movies that have been released so far. I say this with my head hanging low and wish that I could get most of those hours back. At first I thought the series was getting better with each book, until I got to “Breaking Dawn”. During the middle of this book, I was getting fed up with everything and seriously thought about putting it down and not reading it. Unfortunately, I did finish and recently saw the movie that is no better than the book it was made from. I’m finally to the point that I wish this series would just go away and make room for more interesting and worthwhile books and films.
I’ve never been a fan of the casting of Kristen Stewart for the role of Bella. She just didn’t fit the description of Stephanie Meyer’s heroine. Plus the fact that she seems utterly bored and emotionless in every film of this series. She continues to give us more of the same in “Breaking Dawn: Part 1”. The film begins with the planning of the marriage of Bella and Edward. Most women are at their happiest during the time of their wedding however Ms. Stewart acts as if she is being forced to marry and wouldn’t know happiness if it hit her in the face. Also, the chemistry between her and Robert Pattinson’s Edward is non-existent. I know that they are married in real life, but you would never know it by their lack of passion on screen.
The only other thing that happens in this film is the conception and pregnancy between the very human Bella and the vampire Edward. They finally consummate their relationship while on their honeymoon and Bella becomes pregnant. The rest of the film is then spent on the pregnancy itself, much like the book does. Why they felt the need to break this book up into two films is beyond me. The book literally spends no less than 100 pages on the pregnancy making it the most drawn out literary pregnancy ever (or at least it seems that way). If only they had just made one movie for this book, the movie might have not been too bad, but spending two hours on a wedding and a pregnancy is simply ridiculous.
When news broke that Bill Condon, the incredible director of Dreamgirls, was hired as the director of this two part Twilight film, I had high hopes that these films would be the best in the series. Unfortunately, they’ve given us the weakest film yet. Every character seems to be waiting on what is to come instead of what is currently happening around them. The wolves are determined to kill the vampires for essentially killing Bella by impregnating her and planning on turning her into a vampire after the birth. The vampires are doing everything they can to protect Bella and they don’t care if they hurt or kill the wolves along the way. However, neither group has the guts to cross the line and actually do what they threaten. Maybe it’s because they all know there’s a second movie coming and they don’t want all fun to happen in the first film. It left me frustrated and completely indecisive about whether or not I’ll even see the final film.
The Twilight films have had a number of good moments in them. Nothing great, but not horrible either. Unfortunately they take a step backwards with this film instead of making it better than all the other. These guys need to learn from the creative team behind the Harry Potter series to see how it should be done. I’ll be glad when the Twilight craziness is over and we can get back to real love stories or real vampire stories and not something they tries to be both.