Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise

Two hours 43 minutes of pure entertainment is what Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One delivers. The only real question it’s raised by the end of its breathless 200-odd minutes is how is Part Two going to top it? There’s even a plot, the usual one of something that needs tracking down, Ethan Hunt and his team working in the shadowy “disavowed” realm, good bad guys ostensibly from their own side and bad bad guys keen to get their hands on the thing, which this time around is a key that will disarm a rogue AI superbrain with plans for world domination. Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt. Now looking decidedly middle aged … Read more

Top Gun: Maverick

Maverick in the cockpit

Top Gun: Maverick comes such a long time after the original film – 30something years – that a quick introductory “previously on Top Gun” wouldn’t go amiss. Instead, new director Joseph Kosinski (who worked with Tom Cruise on Oblivion) puts us at ease with an opening sequence that’s a homage to Tony Scott, director of the original Top Gun – machines and processes fetished, a high tech something in silhouette, steam escaping from somewhere. A racing motorbike on a long flat road. “Hell, yeh” masculinity. Long lenses. Heat shimmers. It’s a “previously on Top Gun” as a mood board. And then we’re in to a story that wastes no time in letting us … Read more

Mission: Impossible 3

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ving Rhames, Tom Cruise and Maggie Q – the Mission Impossible team

Remember the tagline for True Lies, the Arnie Schwarzenegger actioner in which he plays a secret agent whose wife (Jamie Lee Curtis) is unaware of his job – “When he said I do, he never said what he did”? Pretty much the same thing is going in M:I3, with impossibly happy semi-retired agent Tom Cruise unable to tell his fiancée (Michelle Monaghan) that he’s off on a perilous secret mission. In something of a departure from the previous two films, Tom does actually have more of a Mission Impossible team with him this time – Ving Rhames, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Maggie Q. This is all much more in keeping with the TV original, … Read more

Mission: Impossible II

Thandie Newton and Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible II

Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is back, tasked with saving the world from a dastardly villain intent on unleashing a deadly virus – cackle, preen. The “this time it’s personal” angle comes from the fact that the villain is a former Impossible-ist himself, and also the former lover of the woman Mr Hunt is now in love with. You’d have thought it a mission impossible to make a duff sequel to Brian De Palma’s all-action 1996 movie with the fine ingredients assembled here. For starters there’s the $125m budget and Cruise, still one of the biggest stars in the world (he earned $60m+ for this). Then there’s the damsel in distress, Thandie Newton, a … Read more


Tom Cruise in Magnolia

Paul Thomas Anderson’s follow-up to Boogie Nights disappointed those who were hoping for more Dirk Diggler and his prosthetic schlong. At 182 minutes it also caught out those who were watching at the cinema with a beer or two inside them – knotted legs don’t make for maximum movie fun. At home with a pause button it’s pure luxury. Stylistically it’s heavily in debt to one of Anderson’s readily acknowledged influences, Robert Altman – the overlapping dialogue, the wandering camera and the faintly disengaged performances. By which I mean the actors are not all constantly presenting three-quarter profiles to camera (no, not even Tom Cruise). Yes, Tom Cruise. How often is it that … Read more