Mission: Impossible

With Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the fourth movie in the series releasing this year, I thought it was a good occasion to watch the original again. Mission: Impossible is based on an old TV series of the same name, which I have not seen. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is an agent for the Impossible Mission Force (IMF), just a fancy name for a CIA group that uses technology and some clever wizardry to get their (supposedly impossible) job done. Their latest mission goes bust and most of Ethan’s team is killed due to a mole. The CIA suspects Ethan is the mole, so Ethan is forced to go underground to find the real mole and clear his name. This leads him to the impossible task of stealing data from the CIA headquarters and enticing the real mole with it.

The MI movies have always required a suspension of disbelief and that is easy with the first movie. The three set pieces of the IMF mission, Ethan’s high-wire trapeze antics to steal from the CIA and the climax on the TGV are all nicely done. The pace is perfect here, not like the insane speed that is seen in M:I III. The plot evokes genuine interest and is a thrill to follow. I am glad to admit that Mission: Impossible remains an entertaining movie to watch on a rainy day.

Rain Man

Rating: 3/4 (Rain Man is a fun movie with some great acting by Dustin Hoffman)

A rain maker is a partner in a firm who brings in money or business. I must admit I only learnt this meaning of that word after watching Rain Man, a 1988 movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. Charlie (Tom Cruise) is at a crisis in his car dealing business when he hears about his dad’s demise. Having lost his mom pretty early and run away from his dad once he was older, he only has his eyes on his dad’s will. But, he is shocked to discover that his Dad only left him his old car and his rose bushes and has written away the 3 million dollars of his property to a hospital that handles autistic patients. Seething with anger he demands his dad’s property from the hospital director, only to discover that he has an autistic elder brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) at the hospital. He kidnaps Raymond and drives him away to Los Angeles to contest for his dad’s property in court. The adventures on his 7-day drive through small-town USA with his autistic brother forms the crux of the movie.

Rain Man is clearly owned by Dustin Hoffman. You can go into the movie knowing very well how good an actor he is and still come out extremely impressed with his role of an autistic adult. He definitely deserved the Oscar he got for his acting in this movie. Tom Cruise fits like a glove into his role of an angry young man with an eye on money. The plot is ripe for milking out tears, but thankfully it turns it into a comedy of sorts, for which I am very glad. I would not give it the Best Picture Oscar that it got, but Rain Man is no doubt a fun movie with some great acting talent.

Mission: Impossible III

First week of vacation and I am already bored! Last night, Parineet, Sagar and me headed out to Golden Village at Tiong Bahru to watch Mission: Impossible III. In this third movie of the series, Ethan Hunt is almost a family man. He is engaged to a nurse (Julie) and is planning marriage when he is called back to rescue a teammate in Germany. The teammate dies after being rescued and Hunt decides to kidnap the villain Davian in Vatican City. He succeeds but Davian is rescued back by his cronies and with a little help from someone on the inside of IMF. Davian swears revenge and kidnaps Hunt’s fianceé. Hunt heads out to China on a personal mission to kill Davian and save his love.

Tom Cruise is just as watchable as before even though he has aged. The effects are good, but the movie is a letdown. The story is riddled with holes. For example, Hunt plans an elaborate scheme to get a mysterious object called the Rabbit’s Foot. After all the planning, the viewer does not get to see how he steals it. Also, we never get to know what this object is. The movie is good to watch, but very forgettable after you are done with it.

Top Gun

Top Gun

Rating: 4/4 (Thrilling aerial dogfights, great music and Kelly McGillis. Need I say more?)

I thought that it had been some time since I last saw it, so caught up with Top Gun again. This is a movie I could watch many more times. Young Tom Cruise looking his smashing best, beautiful Kelly McGillis and fighter planes: a heady mix! 🙂

Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Iceman (Val Kilmer) are competitors at Top Gun, the top fighter pilot school in the USA. Kelly is the civilian instructor at the school whom Maverick falls in love with (she actually looks way older than Tom Cruise in the movie). Maverick stays true to his name in flight and fight, dangering all those around him. His navigator Goose dies in a plane engine failure that Maverick blames on himself. But when enemies attack and duty calls, Iceman and Maverick deliver the goods with a neat plane combat. The background music in the movie is excellent. Filled with thrilling fighter plane dogfights, I love this movie!

War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds

Rating: 2/4 (Disappointing, especially coming from Spielberg)

Starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning, War of the Worlds is loosely based on the novel of the same name by H. G. Wells. Tom Cruise plays Ray, a crane operator who is left in charge of his daughter Rachel (Dakota) and his teenage son for a weekend by his long estranged wife. Strange things start happening near his place that weekend. Earth is struck my EMPs and there is lots of lightning. Huge tripods break out of the earth and start destroying people with their heat rays. We learn that they are aliens who are now terminating humans.

With the screaming Rachel calling on his attention every minute, Ray takes charge and drives her and his son over to Boston. On the way they stopover at his wife’s place which is now empty. They spend a terror filled night only to be greeted by more destruction by the tripods. A 747 has crashed in their frontyard. The destruction of the tripods and Ray running away from them continues on and on forever. During this time, we learn that the aliens are using the blood of humans to spread their red weed! In the end, all bodes well and the aliens go weak and die. They are killed by microorganisms, the same germs for which we have gained immunity in the process of evolution over millions of years.

I guess Spielberg did not have much freedom with an old novel like this and also since it has been adapted so many times on TV and radio. He seems to be evoking feelings of 9/11 in this movie by putting Ray into save-the-family situations. Spielberg shines in these family and emotions department, but other than that this movie is disappointing. Barely worth a watch for Spielberg fans.