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MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT

Three and a half Star Rating

“…in a larger-than-life tale of espionage and counter espionage, it’s once again our vertically-challenged shiny-toothed hero that steals the show.” – Wayward Wolf.

Unlike James Bond, the Mission Impossible films seem to have that uncanny habit of consistently getting their recipe just about right. You’ll doubtless have your own favourite from this long-running re-booted franchise, but it’s hard to deny the quality of each and every chapter that unfolds.

And according to many, Mission Impossible: Fallout is in fact the pick of the bunch.

Not that it’s in any way ground-breaking or indeed some sort of game changer. It’s evidently not. But through a few well-placed tweaks to a familiar, tried and trusted story line, Mission Impossible: Fallout succeeds in being both entertaining and suspenseful enough to keep the old grey matter sufficiently engaged over the film’s two-and-a-half hour duration.

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Mission Impossible:Fallout continues Hollywood’s current trend of acknowledging the ageing process in our big screen heroes, depicting them as getting a little long-in-the-tooth for the extra-ordinary feats that continue to be asked of them. They are of course, by and large, human after all.

This has been very evident in the closing chapters of Daniel Craig’s residency as James Bond, as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s increasingly arthritic attempts to keep up with the machines that threaten both him and those that he attempts to protect within the Terminator franchise. Granted, Schwarzenegger’s character is not exactly human, but the point still stands. Old age will eventually make us all obsolete.

Accordingly, there are one or two “Christ, not again… really?” withered looks of despair that flash across the face of our resident Mission Impossible hero, Ethan Hunt, during certain more physically demanding scenes. A small yet tell-tale sign of an action hero who is fast becoming aware that old man time is finally beginning to catch up with him.

Never is this more evident than when Ethan Hunt is paired up with a Government-appointed somewhat younger sidekick, August Walker (Henry Cavill), who, resplendent with 1980’s moustache could ably be passed off as being Freddie Mercury’s man-mountain Cyborg love child, were he to have had one.

I’d imagine.

The threat of terrorism-induced nuclear armageddon provides sufficient motivation for Cruise and his merry band of foe-foilers to dig deep, pull out all of the stops and once again achieve the truly extraordinary under nigh on impossible circumstances.

Some things never change.

Simon Pegg, whilst adopting his usual role of light-relief-bringer in otherwise super-intense circumstances, is however noticeably less jester-like during this particular outing. Ving Rhames once again portrays the dependably tech-savvy Luther. Rebecca Ferguson is all seductive glamour, beauty and know-how as agent Isla Faust, whilst Sean Harris is probably more weaselly than sinister portraying ideologue and all-round enemy of the state, Solomon Lane.

But in a larger-than-life tale of espionage and counter espionage, it’s once again our vertically-challenged shiny-toothed hero that steals the show.

As he always does.

Say what you will about Tom Cruise the high-ranking Scientologist and fully paid-up member of the Hollywood aristocracy. This is a man seemingly impervious to any and all attempts by media hacks to publicly assassinate his character by repeatedly calling into question his most private of private lives. But one thing remains undeniable:

He’s simply superb at playing these kinds of roles, in fact I’d go so far as to say that Tom Cruise is very possibly the finest exponent of our time of playing the Action Hero.

The cracks may well be just starting to appear, but whilst there’s still life in Tom Cruise, there’s still life in Ethan Hunt, and that can only be good news for the innumerable fans of this most unfailing of film franchises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GUEST FILM REVIEW: The Man From U.N.C.L.E

A very warm welcome to Wayward Wolf’s first ever guest writer.!

Introducing, Mr Parvez Siddiqui!

“This is my first review of any kind, and I would like to thank Hugh for asking me to contribute to his Wayward Wolf blog page”

OK, where to begin. I guess the place to start is the feeling of seeing a re-boot of an iconic show from the 60s. The sharp fashions and chemistry of Robert Vaughan and David McCallum as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin was something that I remember as a child, and the kind of spy japes they used to get into, and then quite smoothly get out of again.

Knowing that Guy Richie was involved in directing this movie looked like it could be an exciting prospect, as he made a magnificent spectacle of the Sherlock Holmes universe, and to move into 60s spy chic would be uber-cool.

On opening, and the introduction of Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in the lead roles was explosive, with a meeting over Checkpoint Charlie. They completely got my attention, and I settled in for a rollercoaster ride.

However, it turned out more rollercoaster like than I hoped, as it ended nearly as soon as it began.

The story seemed to weave in and out of finding people for information, and then promptly losing them again, and chasing around stunning European locations, with villains hot on their heels.

Cavill as Napoleon Solo looked exactly like Superman in a suit 2 sizes too small, which ironically is exactly what he was, and Hammer looked like a flat capped yokel with a decent Russian accent  Alicia Vikander shines as the female lead, who played her role in a sultry, smart and funny manner as the glue between the two guys. A mention should be made for Hugh Grant, but his involvement, like this sentence, was fleeting. If this is how the CIA and KGB collaborated during the Cold War period, then it’s of no wonder that it went on for so long.

If you’d like to see Europe as how it would have been in the 60s, then this is the movie for you. For me, I was looking at my watch 30 minutes after the film began, sighing, and thinking about the remaining time I had to sit in my seat, in which I got more restless as time passed.

I wanted much more from Guy Richie in this movie, because fashion style and looking good is not enough for any movie anymore, and I think he already knows this.

Next time I get on a rollercoaster, I would like to get off with a big smile on my face, and wanting to queue up to ride it again.

Parvez