Mission Impossible III (M:i:III, M:I-3): the impossible missions force’s (IMF) best agent, Ethan Hunt, is brought out of retirement when an arms dealer kills his protégé, then kidnaps his fiancé. The action set-pieces are what make this film: there’s a quality raid on Berlin building; impossibly intricate Vatican mission, Shanghai rooftops, and a sustained climactic ending – action fans can’t really ask for more. The only let-down is the lack of an ‘Impossible’ break in attempt, which is the linchpin of – and arguably best things about – the previous two films. It’s far less po faced than other contemporary spies like Bourne and rebooted Bond: moments like Cruise singing “We are family”, and a few tongue-firmly-in-cheek nods to Cocktail and Top Gun are the cherries atop a full-fat everybody-having-fun cake. Even Cruise’s running is funny to watch – perhaps his version of the Arrested Development chicken dance? Although it’s overall funnier, Seymour–Hoffman’s villain is the most callous and dangerous yet, he does well with his screen time. With a decent script, huge cast (Ving Rhames is back!) and another proficient director (JJ Abrams) putting his lens flared stamp all over it, Mission Impossible III is a great popcorn action movie with some gratuitous emotions thrown in; although it’s probably the least memorable or original entry in the franchise so far.
Mission Impossible II
Mission Impossible III
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Naked Weapon: when her best assassin is killed on a job, an evil hitwoman kidnaps prize-fighting girls and turns them in to deadly, sexy, naked killers. The first five minutes features sex, nudity, explosions, fighting and bad jokes; the next 30 minutes are set on an exotic island full of hot, leggy, potentially lesbian martial arts chicks trained to become hitwomen – so far so good for a film called Naked Weapon. The fights throughout are pretty spectacular, with some tasty choreography, sweet wire-work, and fluent breakdancing-esque kung-fu – all surprisingly intricate for a film like this. The revenge story is also fairly decent, and there’s some pretty harsh moments like a rape scene and dead kids. There are a few bum notes though, the dialogue is dirt-cheap, any emotional scenes are beyond tacky, and there’s flashes of ‘uber-kewlz’ superpower moments that would be better placed in a manga adaptation. It may have been made in 2002, but looks and feels way more like a ‘classic’ turned up to 11 exploitation action flick. Ultimately, Naked Weapon is a love/hate film that will depend on your tolerance for sleazy action. I’d be going against every manly bone in my body if I gave a solid film with great fight scenes, hot chicks and nudity less that a 7…
New York, I Love You: a collection of short stories all about New York and New Yoykers – loosely labelled under the umbrella ‘romance’. The vignette setup just doesn’t do it for me, far too many characters, and differing themes / tones / styles / storylines – all mashed together, tediously linked through the location. The second problem is the quality control, or lack of – a few of the shorts were really good; prom night, pickpockets, old couple – but the rest were all varyingly pretentious and dull stories featuring varyingly pretentious and dull artisan characters – some of whom are beyond absurd – Ethan Hawke, I’m talking to you. Despite being all about NY, and the ‘love of the city’ there’s not that much iconic scenery; it’s mostly grimy side streets, greasy spoons, apartments, bars, yellow cabs, ect, which doesn’t really capture the vibes of the big apple – although someone could probably argue that this captures ‘THE REAL NEW YORK, BRO’. Given the massive list of A-list actors (and them some) New York, I Love You is massively disappointing – parts are good, but overall it’s collectively dull. Give City Island a bash instead!
Three Kingdoms – Resurrection of the Dragon: (Blu Ray) A Chinese historical epic that takes you through the life of a legendary military General. Nothing about this seems particularly well thought-out. Our hero (Zilong) ends up with a new BFF after five minutes, you only see his wife once, and he becomes an invincible warrior after twenty minutes; as you do. There’s hardly any martial arts, but quite a few battles; some of which are on gigantic scale… but you couldn’t have made them any more boring if you tried. This is mostly down to the poor disjointed editing and slow-motion / blurry techniques that are overused. The BD is mediocre: some of the costumes and scenery are detailed but there’s a lot of noise in some scenes, the sound is also up and down. Different era altogether but Assembly is the best Chinese war film I remember seeing. All in, it had good intentions but is riddled with cheesy over-sentimental vibes.