Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Director: Edward Zwick
Writer: Richard Wenk, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz
Based on: Lee Child‘s novel Never Go Back
Sequel to: Jack Reacher
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis HodgeDanika YaroshPatrick Heusinger
Seen on: 17.11.2016

Plot:
Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), former military man, now freelancer, works closely with the US government on various missions, always supported by his handler Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). But before they can actually meet in person, Reacher hears that she was arrested on espionage charges. Reacher’s own arrest doesn’t take long either, proving his suspicion that somebody tries to frame them. The only option he sees is to break himself and Turner out of prison and prove their innocence while also protecting the teenaged Samantha (Danika Yarosh) who may or may not be Reacher’s daughter as he only recently learned.

This is a clear case of “should have re-read my own review of the first film before watching the sequel”. For some reason, I had it in my head tht Jack Reacher was funny like Knight and Day was funny. But it wasn’t and I hated it – which I had forgotten. So I was willing to watch Never Go Back and was taken by surprise and disappointed by the absolute seriousness of it all. At least I didn’t completely hate it, though.

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Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Based on: The TV show
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible II, Mission: Impossible III, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Cast: Tom CruiseRebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Simon McBurney, Jingchu Zhang, Tom Hollander, Jens Hultén, Alec Baldwin
Seen on: 5.8.2015

Plot:
The CIA, in form of its director Hunley (Alec Baldwin), is arguing for disbanding the entire IMF and Brandt (Jeremy Renner) is trying everything to keep that from happening. Unsuccessfully though. As the IMF is being shut down, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is this close to finally getting to the Syndicate, a shadow organization secretly controlling the world. But Ethan is captured and only manages to escape with the help of Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson). After he is freed, there is no more IMF, nobody even believes that the Syndicate exists and it becomes clear that Ethan has to take matters into his own hands.

I think the best thing that I can say about Rogue Nation that at least it was still better than the M:I-2. It is pretty much the cinematic equivalent of a very drunk night out: kinda fun while you’re at it, but as soon as you get a little more sober again, you realize with mortification all the stupid, highly inappropriate things that happened and you feel hung-over.

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Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec
Based on: The TV show
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible II, Mission: Impossible III
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Tom Wilkinson, Ving Rhames, Michael Nyqvist, Anil Kapoor, Léa Seydoux, Josh Holloway
Seen on: 4.8.2015
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is currently in a Russian prison. But after another agent (Josh Holloway) gets killed, his team, consisting of Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Jane Carter (Paula Patton), breaks Ethan out of there and together they try to infiltrate the Kremlin to find more information about “Cobalt”, who is connected to the agent’s death. But the mission fails spectacularly and suddenly, the three of them plus data analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) have to clear the entire IMF’s name.

Much as I remembered it, Ghost Protocol was one hell of an entertaining film. It’s far from flawless, but at least it’s straight-forward fun.

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Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Mission: Impossible III
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, J.J. Abrams
Based on: The TV Series
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible II
Cast: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Crudup, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Simon Pegg, Eddie Marsan, Laurence FishburneSasha Alexander, Tracy Middendorf, Aaron Paul, Timothy Omundson
Seen on: 4.8.2015

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has retired from active field duty. Instead he teaches spy hopefuls and is about to marry Julia (Michelle Monaghan). But then IMF director Musgrave (Billy Crudup) contacts him: his student Lindsey (Keri Russell) was captured by blackmarket dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Hunt has to save her. Hunt reluctantly accepts and gets to work together with his team, consisting of Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Zhen (Maggie Q) and Luther (Ving Rhames). But the recapture goes wrong and Hunt soon finds himself in deeper than he ever expected.

Mission: Impossible III is a definite step up again after the second film (although that is not saying too much – it would have taken serious commitment to be worse than the second film). But depite the awesome cast, especially the antagonists, M:I-3 might be the film of the series that is most easily forgotten.

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Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible II (2000)

Mission: Impossible II
Director: John Woo
Writer: Robert Towne
Based on: The TV Series
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible
Cast: Tom CruiseThandie Newton, Dougray Scott, Ving Rhames, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, Rade Serbedzija, William Mapother, Dominic Purcell
Seen on: 3.8.2015

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is tasked with retrieving the stolen Chimera virus: a supervirus that kills within a short amount of time. To get it, he is supposed to recruit thief Nyah (Thandie Newton), but as it turns out not for her skill set but rather for the fact that she used to date Ethan’s former co-agent who is responsible for the theft of the virus, Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). Ethan is uncomfortable involving Nyah in all of this, especially since he finds himself falling for her.

Holy fuck, I had forgotten how absolutely atrociously bad Mission: Impossible II is. It’s abysmal. It’s frankly astounding that they ever got to make another film in the franchise because this film was certainly bad enough to irrevocably kill it.

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Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible (1996)

Mission: Impossible
Director: Brian De Palma
Writer: David Koepp, Steven Zaillian
Based on: The TV Series
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart, Henry Czerny, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave
Seen on: 03.08.2015

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is part of a team of spies led by Jim Phelps (Jon Voight). Their newest mission is supposed to prevent the sale of classified material. But things go very wrong and Ethan’s entire team is killed. All but Jim’s wife Claire (Emmanuelle Béart) that is. When Ethan’s loyalty is called into question and he is suspected of killing them off himself, he knows that he has to uncover and solve this mystery. Together with Claire, they ask Franz (Jean Reno) and Luther (Ving Rhames) for help, both disavowed agents and they take on the case.

Mission: Impossible follows the spy formula to the letter and while the plot doesn’t offer much that’s new, the execution is beautiful, although not exactly flawless.

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Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Christopher McQuarrieJez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth
Based on: Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need Is Kill
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton

Plot:
Humanity is at war with aliens and slowly losing. William Cage (Tom Cruise) is the face of the United Defense Force. But just the face – until he is sent into combat by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson). Cage practically has to be dragged there and is promptly killed by an alien – only to awake again about 12 hours before his death. Together with the war heroine Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) who has been through the same thing, he tries to put an end to the aliens.

Edge of Tomorrow is an exciting film with great special effects. It leaves no action movie cliché unfeatured, but it does so most charmingly. If you’re able to accept that this film will give you only tried and true tropes, storytellingwise, you’re in for a really good time.

edge_of_tomorrow

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Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writer: Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt
Based on: Joseph Kosinski’s and Arvid Nelson‘s unpublished comic
Cast: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell

Plot:
Jack (Tom Cruise) and Vicka (Andrea Riseborough) are the only people left on earth. Everybody else has left after aliens attacked the earth and the only way to get rid of them were nuclear bombs. Now Jack and Vicka are tasked with drone repair, while the last of the water is sucked up to be transported to the human colony. But there are still some aliens on earth that keep attacking. Bit by bit though, Jack starts questioning what’s going on.

Oblivion stole most of its parts from famous SciFi movies and jumbles them together in absolutely meaningless and idiotic ways. It could have succeeded in being an homage, if it had been able to become more than just a string of scenes and plot points we already saw somewhere else. But unfortunately it just isn’t clever enough for that.

Oblivion

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Jack Reacher (2012)

Jack Reacher
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Based on: Lee Child‘s novel One Shot
Cast: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David OyelowoJai Courtney, Werner Herzog, Robert Duvall

Plot:
After a sniper shoots 5 people, the police quickly identify and arrest a possible suspect: ex-soldier Barr (Joseph Sikora). Barr doesn’t say a word, but to request Jack Reacher, a former military investigator who disappeared a while back. The police and the DA Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike) are stunned by that request, and even more suprised when Reacher (Tom Cruise) turns up himself. He saw a news report on Barr and having investigated him before, he wanted to make sure that he is put behind bars this time. But Barr’s request makes him doubt his guilt, so Reacher starts to dig deep.

Jack Reacher really moves through all shades of horribleness. There is “just horrible”, there is “so horrible, it’s hilarious” and then there’s “so horrible I just wanna cry.” Unfortunately, it spends the least time in the second category.

Jack_Reacher

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Rock of Ages (2012)

Rock of Ages
Director: Adam Shankman
Writer: Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo, Allan Loeb
Cast: Diego Boneta, Julianne Hough, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Tom Cruise, Malin Akerman, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Cranston, Eli Roth

Plot:
Sherrie (Julianne Hough) just arrived in LA, dreaming of being a singer but instead she gets robbed straight away and somebody makes off with her record collection. Drew (Diego Boneta) who witnessed the incident manages to get Sherrie a job as a waitress at the living off its former glory Bourbon club where he works, too. The club is preparing for a huge concert by Stacie Jaxx (Tom Cruise) while Christian protesters lead by Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones) try to shut down rock in general.

As long as the movie was camp, it was brilliantly funny. Unfortunately most of the time we’re stuck with the absolutely colorless and frankly just boring lead characters.

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