Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Movie confession: I was born in 1989, and it took until the summer of 2015 for me to watch the first four Mission: Impossible films. I have definitely never seen the TV show (and don’t plan on it). I really wanted to review Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation when it was in theaters though, so I had to gain copies of the first three films.

Oh, I had Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol on Blu-Ray already though. Bought it three years ago for about $3 and put it on my “eventually” shelf.

Well the time is now! And as a way of catching up, I thought the first one was good, the second one was really really terrible and took me five days to finish it (watching a little bit each day), and the third one was decent, thanks a lot to Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Good, we are caught up. On with the recent film!

Girl
I have learned to not get attached to the female lead. She totally won’t make the next film.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is now locked away in a Russian prison. He has been there for years! Some say he killed a bunch of Serbians, some say it was due to the death of his wife. Some say he is there on a secret mission. All they know is that they have to break him out right away. So a team featuring Jane (Paula Patton) and Benji (Simon Pegg), who has his field badge finally break him out. They also help break out some dude named Bogdan (Miraj Grbic), because he helped Ethan out, despite not knowing he was secretly an American.

It turns out they really really needed Ethan to break into the The Kremlin to find out the identity of a man named Cobalt. The IMF was close to figuring it out, but one of their agents (Josh Holloway) was killed by an assassin (Léa Seydoux) before they could get too close.

But then shit even goes wrong at the Kremlin. Turns out Cobalt (Michael Nyqvist) was there first and frames the IMF/USA into doing some bad naughty things in the Kremlin. In response to that, the president has disbanded the entire organization, as a way of appeasing the Russians. However, our three crew members were still ordered, on their own, to stop Cobalt and get the USA out of the bad position it is in. But hey, they also an Analyst (Jeremy Renner) on their team, so that is cool! And you know, having to also escape the special agent Russian forces looking to track them down, led by Sidorov (Vladimir Mashkov). Man, there is a lot of hard shit going on.

Oh yeah, and if they fail, probably a nuclear war will happen. Jolly good, righto. Also featuring Samuli Edelmann and Ivan Shvedoff.

Climb
Camera angles intentional to show how crazy the stunts are in this tower scene.

Comparing Ghost Protocol to the other three films, it is far better than 2, better than 3, and I would say on par or even better than the first film. Ghost Protocol came out 15 years after the first film, and I am generally skeptical of 90’s movies getting sequels way later. You know, like Jurassic World. Sure, there were other films, but there was still a large gap between films 3 and 4 of those series. I assume they are making a movie not because of having a great idea (just late), but instead hope to ride the nostalgia of movie goers instead of making a new property. Remakes remake money, after all.

I couldn’t be happier to be wrong on my assumption about this film though!

I was on edge of my seat throughout the film, and not just because I also had to deal with a crying baby while I watched it. The plot was intricate, but easy to follow. And there is a ton of action to entertain. The skyscraper climbing scene was better than advertised and one of the highlights of the movie. Both the climb and the descent. Despite knowing that our hero wouldn’t die obviously, it was tense enough to scare me both times. But it wasn’t the only tense moment! The final fight scene in the strange parking garage was colorful and had such well done cinematography.

Despite his real life personality, Tom Cruise makes excellent action movies. His last seven movies, including the Tropic Thunder cameo I have given good or better reviews to. We shouldn’t care about what an actor does in real life (unless it is killing babies?) or if he has a short person complex if he can consistently entertain and put out wonderful characters and work. Needless to say, I am appropriately pumped for the next Mission Impossible and whatever future films he wants to partake in.

3 out of 4.

Buy It! – This movie is available now on {Blu-Ray} and {DVD}.

Sabotage

Yay! Finally, we are getting a movie version of the Beastie Boy’s song Sabotage. I am also immediately killing that joke before it gets too stupid. I don’t even like that song. Too hard for me, I guess.

The actual movie Sabotage is the next attempt for Arnold Schwarzenegger to get back into action. I think I saw the trailer once before a month or two ago, so going into it, I really didn’t remember at all what I was about to watch. That was a good feeling. I did learn right before that the director also directed and wrote End Of Watch, which I loved so I did get all sorts of excited. A great underrated movie from two years ago.

Bad Guy
Aw shit. Here is them with presumably the bad guy. I guess they all win, spoilers!

The story is about a special operations DEA team who are really good at getting the job done. They are lead by Breacher (Schwarzenegger) and they all get snazzy nicknames too, because they are cool. They also have Tripod (Kevin Vance), Monster (Sam Worthington), Grinder (Joe Manganiello), Neck (Josh Holloway), Sugar (Terrence Howard), Pyro (Max Martini) and Lizzie (Mireille Enos). She doesn’t get a nickname presumably because she is a woman.

Oh, they might be a little bit dirty too. Not The Shield levels of dirty, but a little bit dirty. The story begins with them taking down a huge drug lord, but also stealing a measly ten million from the pile and stashing it to split amongst the team later. Well, someone dies during their operation, and later the money is gone as well, so it the drug bust was a bust. Especially when they all go under the microscope, with the ten million reported missing.

Well, eventually they all survive and since no one trusts Breacher in the department that much, they just let him have his team back for special missions. Then, one of their own dies.

Shit. Then another. Turns out someone is trying to take them out. But why? They have tons of enemies, it could be anyone. But local cop people (Olivia Williams, Harold Perrineau) are on the case, so I am sure they will stop the bad guys.

Breach
Many guns. Both the actual weapons and these gentleman arms.

Pew pew pew! Action and death. This film really earns that R rating with the amount of graphic violence (extreme deaths), language, and nudity in it. Some of it was indeed really gross too.

On the same note, the story itself was interesting. Yeah, I said it. I liked the plot of this movie. It wasn’t a simple story, it had some layers, and characters had motivations. At the same time, some characters had absolutely no motivations and even by the end, I am not sure why they did what they did.

In fact, the climactic ending complete with a chase scene and finding out who the bad guys are was very disappointing. It doesn’t match the tone of the rest of the movie. It was drawn out and suddenly no one knew how to aim, despite being tactical and military elites.

So that is that. It has some cool stuff. But the ending is pretty lame. There ya go.

2 out of 4.

Battle of the Year 3D

There is a serious problem happening in America. Right now! All around us! Unfortunately, most of us have closed our eyes to this problem.

We are no longer the best country at breakdancing, or “b-boying” despite the fact that we invented it. Hip-hop is losing its appeal in America, and it is sad. Grr, I hate it when we don’t win everything!

Because of these true indisputable facts, the movie Battle of the Year 3D was created. Sure, their trailer had the wrong release date until a few weeks before coming out (listing January instead of September) and looked entirely like a parody, but the director hopes to bring light to this definitely real tournament through exciting dance sequences, flashing lights, and Chris Brown.

Basically, the exact same thing he did six years ago with his documentary Planet B-Boy. (Except that one didn’t feature the internet’s most hated man.)

Chris Brown
Step 1 to making a big movie? Cast this guy!

The movie starts off quite serious. A boardroom meeting lead by Dante Graham (Laz Alonso), a big hip-hop record executive who is worried about a decrease in sales. Why? Because no one in America cares about B-Boying anymore. Why? Because there is a big international tournament that we haven’t been able to win in 15 years (fact).

So he decides to bring in a coach this time to whip these young boys into shape. How about Jason Blake (Josh Holloway) who used to coach basketball successfully until he lost his family in an accident? Don’t worry, he isn’t some random scrub. He also used to B-Boy in the 80s with Dante.

Yeah. This will go well.

After hiring random office guy Franklyn (Josh Peck) as his assistant coach, he decides the only way to win is to get rid of the current team, and start from scratch. He wants to make a B-Boy Dream Team, the best dancers from the best crews across America. Then he will only have nine weeks to train them, make them a cohesive unit, and make very difficult cuts the entire time.

Of course during this time he has to go through almost every sports team problem in the history of sports movies. His two best dancers, Rooster (Chris Brown) and Do Knock (Jon ‘Do Knock’ Cruz) are at each others throat over a girl from years before. They have an openly gay dancer (Richard Maguire) and people who are pretty homophobic (Sawandi Wilson). They have players who sneak out at night consistently, last minute disqualifications, last minute injuries and a whole lot of ego that stands between them and the gold.

Let’s not forget the coach has a drinking problem! Crap, our hopes lie within a bunch of entitled young adults. At least they have a choreographer (Caity Lotz)? That will make a difference? Maybe?

How can sawyer teach theese keeds?
How do I reach these keeeeeds?

Battle of the Year 3D is an interesting movie, in that you know the director actually cares about the subject matter, given he made the documentary a few years back. He also uses a a real event and real details. Of course the idea of the dream team crew is completely fictional, so I almost think that it is his own personal idea for bringing the gold back home.

At the same time, I feel like he also is just trying to promote his own stuff. There are many scenes in this film of the characters watching his own documentary, which one refers to as “The Bible of our culture!” Whoa now, Benson Lee, calm yourself down.

I learned that Chris Brown is actually a great dancer. Sure, I knew he was in Stomp The Yard, but who actually watched that movie? The majority of the actors in this film are actual B-Boyers so you know the dancing you get will be quality. The problem with this film is that it tries too hard to be a generic sports film instead of a dance movie.

What do want and expect out of a dance movie? Lots of dancing, of course! Unfortunately, most of the film is spent in the training, so instead of great dancing, we just get working out and small dance moves. Most of the dancing doesn’t happen until the end, leaving us only with sport cliches, and that is unacceptable. Also, the actual format of the competition means that the coolest dancing we see happen well before the finale, in the preliminary round.

A dance movie without a lot of dancing? What a mistake.

The crowd at the Battle of the Year events must be pretty bored. I think there was five shots of them throughout the film just standing around doing the wave.

Wait. This is a hip-hop competition that takes place in France, with the audience constantly doing the wave? Damn, that country is literally living 20 years in the past.

1 out of 4.

Paranoia

I didn’t know a lot about Paranoia before viewing it. Outside of the trailer, it didn’t have any advertising from what I could tell.

But it did have two great actors in head roles, so there is some amount of hope that it is surprisingly decent.

Liam
Hey. That guy looks like a thinner, less strong, less manly, Thor. How weird.

The story centers on Adam (Liam Hemsworth), who works for a big phone company lead by Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman). Adam is leading a small team to help develop a tool for their new phone model, but Wyatt ignores him, causing Adam to lose his temper. Needless to say, Wyatt does not choose their project and fires the whole team.

Adam, despite being in debt with his sick dad (Richard Dreyfuss), decides to use the company expense card to live it up with his former coworkers in a moment of mutiny.

Well, now Wyatt has him on credit fraud. Adam doesn’t want to go to prison, so he will do anything Wyatt asks of him. Even if it means stealing.

Wyatt and his associate Judith (Embeth Davidtz) hook Adam up with a fancy new wardrobe, apartment, and personality, so he can get a job as an executive for Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford), who happens to run the biggest phone company. They are working on a sleek new phone that is said to revolutionize the world, and Wyatt wants a prototype. If he succeeds, he will get his friends (mostly Lucas Till) their jobs back, have money for his dad, and will have job security for the rest of his life.

We also have Amber Heard as a marketing direct and main love interest forAdam, Julian McMahon as a lackie of Wyatt, and Josh Holloway as an FBI detective.

Juggernaughts
These two are juggernauts in the acting world. I have now used ‘juggernaut’ in a review.

If you watch the trailer, you really don’t have to see the movie. They tell you the entire main plot while also spoiling the main twists as well! Seriously, something is given away in the trailer that doesn’t happen until the final twenty minutes, a major plot point.

Unfortunately, the plot itself is predictable (even without the trailer). Having a predictable plot is bad if you are trying to make a crime/thriller. The acting is also not really anything special. The side plot with the friends who lost their job is nothing more than cringe worthy and a distraction.

But the so-so acting and bad plot are not the worse parts. The worse part comes from the tiny details they did not care about.

These two men are the heads of the two biggest mobile phone makers in the world/country. They have their own unique names and everything. Yet they and their heads of staff are using iPhones. I might have seen a Galaxy S3 in there as well. That is just pure laziness. I wouldn’t have noticed if they didn’t constantly show the phones up close.

It almost seems like they are taunting the viewer. They are taunting us by showing how little they cared about the final product of this movie and it showed.

1 out of 4.