I seem to be on an action movie kick at the moment, so I thought I might as well finish off the round with this one. Tom Cruise (a man who clearly moisturises) is back for the fifth outing in the Mission Impossible series. The plot (not that it matters a great deal) centres around an organisation set on wreaking chaos across the globe, and destroying the Impossible Missions Force (yes, that’s what they’re called) in the process.
When you hit the fifth film in a series, the trick is not to take yourself too seriously. There are some genuinely funny moments supplied by Simon Pegg, and even Tom Cruise manages a few seconds of slapstick while trying to get into car, having just been revived from drowning. Sean Harris is very convincing as the slightly deranged villain – and thank god I’ve finally remembered where I’ve seen him before! He played the gay assassin in The Borgias! That’s been driving me mad! Anyway, he’s very, very good. A film like this lives and dies by the quality of its principle villain.
Aside from that, there’s not much to tell really. The script is fine, the action sequences are top notch, though I don’t think they’re quite as gripping as the Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and the ending is predictably satisfying.
If you’re a fan of Tom Cruise then you’ll see it anyway; if not, then I think it’s worth a few hours of your time. It’s not too taxing, and still very entertaining. Another seven out of ten.
I always get a little nervous when someone tries to take an okay-ish TV series and tries to make it into a blockbuster movie. Guy Ritchie avoided one obvious pitfall by not trying to update the concept; he left it firmly in the sixties, and the movie was better for it. In case you don’t know, the Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a pretty run-of-the-mill thriller about two spies from opposite sides of the iron curtain, forced to work together to retrieve a nuclear warhead. It stars Henry Cavill as the ever-s0-slightly camp Napoleon Solo, and Armie Hammer as llya Kuriyaken, the near-superhuman Russian agent.
Alicia Vikander brings the fiery glamour and, refreshingly enough, most of the brains.
And that’s all you need to know really. It’s a two-hour treat of car chases, machine-gun fights, sneaking about and folk running for their lives. The script was passable, as was the storyline (but don’t expect it to stretch you). The musical score is excellent and even though the film was shot all over the shop, Guy Ritchie as screenwriter, producer and director, gives it a very British feel (and Hugh Grant pretty much seals the deal – if that’s not too much bad rhyming).
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. offers no surprises, but is, nevertheless, very watchable.
This is part four in the Mad Max series, with Tom Hardy taking over the lead from Mel Gibson who last appeared as Max in Beyond Thunderdome (1985, believe it or not).
Nothing much has changed; Max is still the solitary road warrior, still haunted by the deaths of his wife and daughter, still surviving in a post-apocalyptic world where the human race has turned against itself in a battle for oil and water: the only commodities that have any worth.
It’s pretty grim stuff, and the great thing about it is that throughout the non-stop battles between cars and trucks (and I think we must have spent at least 70% of the film chasing around the desert), you were never left with the slightest notion that there was any real hope. The human race was heading for a slow exctinction, and nothing was going to change that.
So everything was just about surviving as long as you could before you were murdered for your car, or you died of hunger and thirst.
The action scenes were some of the very best I’ve seen. Savagely uncompromising and exhausting to watch.
Tom Hardy does a creditable job in the lead role. He does the moody, silent, slightly unhinged thing very well, so I think I would have been a lot more surprised if he’d made a mess of it.
Charlize Theron? Well, I’m always disappointed when I hear she’s been cast in any movie, and then I’m massively shocked at what a great actress she is. This is no exception. Not her greatest play, but a good performance nonetheless.
This is a great film, and if you’re into action flicks with a human touch then it’s well worth seeing. I’m going to give it eight out of ten, and I might actually go see it again.