I haven’t had the time to write full reviews of summer movies like I have wanted to. In fact I’ve had to drop some reviews because I got so behind in the fast paced (well weekly) releases of the new next big movie. With that said the following is a special edition of Random Reviews covering what I have missed. I hope to have more in the upcoming weeks as I catch up on movies.
When John Connor, leader of the human resistance, sends Sgt. Kyle Reese back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor and safeguard the future, an unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline.
If there is one theme to my reviews (besides The Raid is amazing obviously) it is of potential. Whether it’s bemoaning 2013’s Wolverine or writing a whole list of movies dropping the ball. To me the only thing than a bad movie is a disappointing movie. So yeah, lets talk about Terminator: Genisys.
As a pseudo-sequel/reboot the story sounds great. Time travel franchises, especially ones as long as the Terminator series, tend to get convoluted. In theory streamlining it and creating a new starting point is a great move. The writers didn’t think so. Instead they thought making time travel even more complicated was the way to go. Not only can you travel back in time but you can travel forwards and change events (but only at certain points) and… yeah. Bravo Genisys you somehow made time travel more convoluted. That’s just a minor quibble though. For me the bigger issues is how many cool ideas are wasted. The best example is the casting of Lee Byung-hun as a T-1000 sent to the past. Lee Byung-Hun is more than capable as an actor and would have made a great villain (or lead heavy considering the plot). Whether it’s drama in I Saw The Devil or the action in GI Joe he was a great get that can do it all. In fact doing the T-1000 with a more Asian crime style could have easily been a movie by itself. Instead he’s a fairly forgettable character who dies a quarter through the movie. Instead we have Jason Clarke as John Connor. Now the twist of Connor being taken over by Skynet could have been interesting. Unfortunately there’s really nothing to it. Dr. Who made him an evil robot and that’s that. Sure it sets off the franchise in an interesting direction but Connor is now just a fairly vanilla villain.
Shame because I generally dug the action scenes. They’re all a pretty fun watch and things like taking down a T-1000 with acid is surprisingly creative. It helps that Arnold can still pull off being a Terminator. As it turns out he can still be serviceable action star when he isn’t talking about how old he is (see every Expendables movie). Unfortunately this isn’t enough. Between an overly convoluted plot and a mediocre cast this movie was a flop for the most part. Maybe if they stuck to a single idea it could have been better. As it is it felt like a mess.
Now at this point the movie has been a massive hit in China and a sequel seems likely. Lets make a deal Hollywood. All of this can be forgiven if you stop trying to make Jai Courtney a thing. Can we agree on that? Pretty please?
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
With the IMF disbanded, and Ethan (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, the team now faces off against a network of highly skilled special agents, the Syndicate. These highly trained operatives are hellbent on creating a new world order through an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with disavowed British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who may or may not be a member of this rogue nation, as the group faces their most impossible mission yet.
I have made my love the Mission: Impossible movies well known. Like the Fast & Furious series it has quickly become one of the best franchises when it comes to action and being consistently entertaining. Luckily Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is no exception.
Obviously the big draw are the action scenes. Seemingly setting the bar higher and higher Rogue Nation does a good job of matching the intensity of MI:3 and Ghost Protocol. In particular the scene of Ethan Hunt at the opera in Vienna; a scene that’s pure action set to Turandot. It’s the kind of over-the-top 90’s James Bond style that Mission: Impossible excels at. I also love the increased role of Benji (Simon Pegg). Becoming an integral part to Ethan’s the two share a good amount of scenes together and it’s great. Stars Cruise and Pegg have a great buddy cop vibe missing in the past entries. For the most part it’s a fun ride.
The only qualm I have is the one thing that has always hurt the franchise, the villain. Despite a solid, if fluctuating, cast of heroes the villain said has left a lot to be desired. A shame because I like the idea of Solomon Lane, leader of the Rogue Nation. Essentially they’re an evil version of IMF. A bit cliche but it could totally work as a recurring villain ala Blofeld in the Bond movies. Instead we have Sean Harris as a fairly forgettable villain who’s main characteristics is being a douche and vaguely European.
Action movies are in a weird spot right now. If it isn’t one of several summer superhero movies it’s a dark and gritty remake. A world where something as ridiculous as Mad Max: Fury Road (which holds up btw) gets an endless stream of thinkpieces debating the film’s feminist undertones. Then like an oasis there is Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation. Never taking itself too seriously Rogue Nation is the fun, globe-trotting affair rarely seen nowadays. With a sequel already announced I’m already hyped to see what Tom Cruise and his ungodly cardio do next.