These movies are truly becoming something special. Cast, crew, and characters seem to be behaving instead of acting, which is transitioning beautifully from page to screen. Naturally, our returning champions Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames have had over two decades and now five films to master their craft. The series has had high and low watermarks as do most franchises that strike out past number three in the set-list. However, there is a noticeable pattern emerging that we will discuss in the following passage. Moreover it’s necessary to account for the gut reactions people have to the leading man.
Ethan Hunt took his first impossible mission way back in 1996 surrounded by an ensemble cast. The film took off and made Tom an official action star, boosted by his Top Gun performance. More importantly this film had two types of fans both satiated by the first films completion. They were the action nuts and the nostalgia cineastes. Younger audiences would not remember that the movie hails from a 1966 television series of same name. MI the series and first film were equal parts action and “Cold War-esc” intrigue. As the film series evolved it has taken a decidedly action based approach.
The high-water mark after the “96” release had to be Ghost Protocol (2011). The second and third installments were dutiful follow-ups that tried to hard and lacked the fun and flair of the later flicks. They relied to heavily on Tom and forgot the teamwork aspect of the IMF. In addition, an ensemble cast with a real name at the center makes for a fun and interesting 2 hours in your movie seat. Since the addition of Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg the films have had a sense of humor about themselves and a not overpowering loss of story. Previous stories had been convoluted and lacking in conviction while these maintained the delicate touch of international mystery.
Another possible explanation for the franchises resurgence and acceptance could rest in the fans and time’s hands. Today fans are touted as the engine that drives the machine. We have seen superheroes and super monsters (aka…Godzilla). What was missing was the quintessential American action film. And with the past 2-3 years being riddled with remakes, Mission Impossible was a natural choice. That was the sign of our times I mentioned the remake crazy fan base.
Let us also no play down the films lead. Tom Cruise for all his many faults does love to act. He gives a hundred percent every time and there is irrefutable evidence in this film. On a late night talk show Tom reveals he performed the “hanging from a plane” stunt himself to make it look more real and entertaining to the audience. Practical effects are always better then CGI at least in this authors opinion. He is far from taking it easy and just letting the “Tom Cruise of it all” do the work. Some actors fall victim to that and the audience suffers.
There is however one franchise that suffered from the MI success. When one classmate does something right it makes it obvious you did something wrong. Die Hard, which was the first action movie in this particular style and some, would argue the most important in cinema. They too are up to five installments and hit a major wall with their last one. It lacked story, interest, and Willis was phoning in the performance. It started, as being in the wrong place at the wrong time and triumphing over evil now it is just wrong. I doubt we will see another one for a while. On the other hand I foresee several more Mission Movies.
To close on the critique of Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation it is a great next step. All the pieces you need for a stand-alone film were present and all our old friends were back. Tom acts his but off and the action is thrilling.
The female lead: Rebecca Ferguson should have monuments built to her. She is a remarkable actress and remarkably hot.
I have decided to break this article into two parts. This movie is a really authentic and great experience so I save my Tom Cruise might be crazy article for later.
Glued to the Screen