To celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary, we went out to have dinner and watch a Mission Impossible film, because as everyone knows your seventh anniversary is the one with some random Tom Cruise tripe in it.
Tom Cruise isn’t a guarantee of a solid action film (Knight and Day is a classic example of the Tomster not being able to redeem something utterly terrible) but the Mission Impossible films conform to a tried and tested formula that’s incredibly reliable:
The Impossible Mission Foundation is threatened with closure (or actually closed down, and then Tom Cruise has to go rogue for a couple of hours)
There are some big stunts
Lalo Schiffrin’s original theme, in 5/4, is damaged by being changed to 4/4 time.
There are some Incredibly Surprising Twists
By the (sixth? seventh? does it even matter?) Mission Impossible, the Incredibly Surprising Twists have no chance of being Incredibly Surprising, because they have always, and always will, involve somebody removing their mask and revealing they are somebody else. It’s now got to the point where scenes are ruined because you assume everyone is somebody else in disguise, and when they’re not it’s rather disappointing.
Still, the stunts are what we come for. There’s a great fight in the toilets of a club. (Fights in toilets are always pretty good – see also True Lies, Casino Royale, that scene at the end of Blade Runner where Rutger Hauer pulls an improvised speech about tears in the rain out of his ass ) There’s a big car chase through Paris. And there’s a ridiculous helicopter chase to round the film off.
Tom Cruise runs a lot, which is usually the sign of a good Mission Impossible. Ving Rhames hardly moves at all, and I worry that the muscular badass of Dawn Of The Dead may have something deeply wrong that he needs to recover from. Simon Pegg is now a full-blown action sidekick (where did all the playful irony go?) and Alibaba get prime billing at the start (necessary, one supposes, to access the China market – although as the only Chinese character is the one who gets killed in the toilets, not sure about the appeal)
All of which is to say this is very good, but totally as expected. For the next one, hopefully nobody wears masks and Tom still runs as much as he can.