Now Playing Review

No Mission Impossible For Cruise; Warrior Wins Despite Formula

Yep Yep – Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I’m down with Tom Cruise. Always have been. But I’m not immune to his clunkers. The last Mission Impossible, for instance, was not good. Barely held my attention.But I’m happy to report that IMF agent ‘Ethan Hunt’ is back in form in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, probably the best of the series.

One thing you can count on in nearly all Tom Cruise films is gravity defying action. The guy is an adrenaline junkie of the first order and some of the stunts in this film will drop your jaw. Cruise proves yet again that he can take the helm of Hollywood’s most ambitious fare better than all the rest.

MI4 opens with ‘Hunt’ in a Russian prison while his crew works their shenanigans in the bowels prepping for a jailbreak. But, because this is a Tom Cruise flick, it can’t be just your garden variety break out. Cue Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head,” as Cruise,  not content to merely break out, has to head back in and co-bust out a Russian prisoner who contains valuable intel (of course), and then run the gauntlet of rowdy, newly sprung thugs in order to rendezvous with his escape crew. It’s a great opening, followed by the well-known television show theme song.

The rest of the plot unfortunately revolves around a boiler plate mad man hellbent on blowing up the world. In this case the “nuclear extremist” is played by Michael Nyqvist, giving us a somewhat forgettable villain.

There’s a Kremlin infiltration scene and some slight of hand double-crossing at the world’s tallest building in Dubai that are spectacularly executed. Watching Cruise run along the side of a 120 floor building is breathtaking.

The crew assembled this time around is spot on and a lot of fun. Simon Pegg provides the comedy relief and offers up several doozies, like “You sure I shouldn’t wear a mask? I’m not exactly Omar Sharif.”  Jeremy Renner carries a dark secret and more than holds his own opposite megastar Cruise; and Paula Patton is gorgeous and kicks some serious booty – especially delicious is cat fight (not pc?) with a sultry Russian agent (Lea Seydoux from Midnight in Paris) who has it coming.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to carve out two plus hours to see MI4, preferably on an IMAX screen.

Yep – The Warrior could have very easily crumbled under its mountain of boxer movie clichés. But like a good title fight, the final round survives on heart and the end result left me feeling better for having made the effort to watch.

Director Gavin O’Connor (Miracle) manages to ultimately make us care about characters whose circumstances are far from original. We’ve seen these guys before – too many times.


Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy are well cast as the dueling brothers with tormented pasts, and the picture gathers significant momentum resulting in a touching final sequence.

So interesting, for those of us who have followed Nick Nolte from the beginning, to now see him play the broken down father opposite the rebellious and angry son; so similar to the role that first put Nolte on the map in the seminal tv miniseries        Rich Man, Poor Man (1976)

The Warrior is not on par with last year’s The Fighter, but it’s a worthwhile rent.

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