Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol: the IMF’s best agent Ethan Hunt is back again; his team go off the grid as they’re blamed for bombing the Kremlin – they must also stop an unfolding global Nuclear War – instigated by a madman! This film sticks to what the franchise does best; action and tension. The tension is wrung out and maximised like a boss; the Kremlin corridor and double-meeting in particular are proper edge-of-your-seat scenes. The action is also well above par, bone-crunching fist-fights and well-handled/edited camera work (other than the sloppy sandstorm chase). This story is typical of the other three films, with more newfangled espionage in various hyper-photogenic locations. Pegg comes out on top of the cast, providing a bit more comic relief than usual, but avoids becoming the clown – everyone else is solid. There’s some awesome gadgets and technical details for your inner-geek, the fastest-booting servers in the world and an onslaught of Apple products. On the downside, it definitely needed more Ving Rhames quips & ass-kicking, and Nyqvist as the ‘main’ bad guy could have done with more screen time and evil development. M:I-4 is another slick instalment of the winning James Bond formula cranked up to 11.
24 – Season 8: Quite a strange season. The episodes seemed to alternate between good and boring; but when it was boring it centres around the political aspect of the story, which bogs the entire season down and doesn’t have shit on the Palmer years. Because all the good people get killed off for dramatic effect the acting roster’s diluted beyond recognition. In the crap corner we have President Taylor. Dana Walsh, Rob Weiss, Charles ‘the human scrotum’ Logan, Kim Bauer, Meredith Reed… Most of the others are in the middle of the ring, sketchy at best – exceptions being rock solid Ethan Kanin, Michael Madsen super-typecast cameo and Dailia Hassan; who single-handedly blows the rest of the cast away with her intense performance. Jack’s looking older, but still talking ridiculously fast, and if there ever was a moral line he’s been treading for the past 7 years he finally flies over the edge – which sees his story change from the familiar risque agent to a full-on revenge rampage. Story-wise the plot-holes were more like black holes; Rene (real or fake?) infiltrating the Russian mob for five years… mmmmm, that wasn’t mentioned before, and the token mole was so rubbish and predictable. Given all of the memorable twists, turns, highs and lows through all eight seasons the ending was a very, very disappointing cop out, leaving the scope of the upcoming movie wide open. There were a few great scenes and turning points but in general we had seen everything here before.
Note: I’m actually relieved that it’s finally been axed because the show and format had ran out of ideas around season 3. It was like to watching a new pet grow up, have its glory days, then become lamer and lamer to the point where it needed to be taken into the garden and smashed over the head with a brick, for its own sake.
Slumdog Millionaire: modern twist on the rags to riches tale as an Indian kid from the slums lands up on a game-show. There’s a lot of stock themes throughout the film; good cop / bad cop, sensible sibling / criminal sibling, life-long obsession with girl etc. Despite this Slumdog’s an entertaining story – handling and highlighting some of the best and worst aspects of growing up in India effectively. The characters are all quite memorable and it although it gets a bit far-fetched in parts it still works pretty well. For me, the growing-up section of the film was great to watch (the child actors were fantastic), but the latter part – love story – was insipid and seemed to take forever to finish. Somehow everyone looks cross-eyed, the English-Indian accents were bizarre and I couldn’t believe I made it through an Indian film without a ridiculous dance scene – never mind. Secretly wished it would have been an ‘Unusual Suspects’ ending, and he was cheating all along… no such luck. Decent film, but don’t believe the rave reviews, or that this is the ‘real’ Mumbai. Escapism!