Day 349 - 12/15/09 - Movie #349
BEFORE: Despite last night's "Movie: Unwatchable", I'm willing to give the franchise a second chance.
THE PLOT: A secret agent is sent to Sydney, to find and destroy a genetically modified disease called "Chimera".
AFTER: This movie makes the mistake of opening with images of Tom Cruise rock-climbing, with no visible support ropes. To someone like me who's afraid of heights, nothing that comes after this could possibly be as nerve-wracking or thrill-inducing.
But most movies seem to function better with actual plots, so this time it's a super-flu virus (how timely, just 9 years before Swine Flu) called only by a code name. Ethan Hunt has to find out what it is, where it is, and how to stop it. To do this, he has to recruit a rogue ex-agent's ex-girlfriend to work on his team, joining Luther (Ving Rhames, carrying over from the last film) and...um, Australian guy. But Hunt makes the mistake of falling for the girl while recruiting her, so watching her seduce her ex is his own personal torture.
My main problem with this film is the overuse of latex masks and synthetic voice-changers as these sort of ultra-perfect disguises, which means that though you see Ethan Hunt/Tom Cruise on screen, it might actually be another character in disguise, or when you see another character, it might be Ethan Hunt... Of course, the disguise tech in the real world is nowhere near as good - so there are 4 or 5 of these "AHA!" moments when someone pulls off their fake face to reveal their identity, and it rings about as true as a lame episode of "Scooby-Doo". (Oh, look, it wasn't Bigfoot at all! It was just old man Jenkins!)
And once again, the climactic stunts (this time on motorcycles) are just way too far-fetched to be remotely believable. But at least the tech got a little better, with GPS locators and digital cameras...
Also starring Thandie Newton, Brendan Gleeson, Dougray Scott, Richard Roxburgh (who played Dracula in "Van Helsing") and William Mapother - who just happens to be the cousin of Tom Cruise (born Thomas Mapother). William has been on "Lost" and in the film "In the Bedroom", but he started out as Clint Howard to Tom's Ron, taking bit parts in many of his movies ("Born on the Fourth of July", "Magnolia", "Vanilla Sky", "Minority Report", etc.)
RATING: 5 out of 10 betting slips