Tag Archives: Tom Cruise

Review: The Mummy

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

Because everything in Hollywood has to be a reboot and have its own cinematic universe, here is the 2017 version of The Mummy. A franchise reboot that nobody was wanting or asking for. It’s the first in the Universal ‘Dark Universe’ which will also feature films like Dracula, Frankenstein, Van Helsing and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

The Mummy stars Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Russel Crowe and Sofia Boutella as the titular character of The Mummy or Princess Ahmanet if you want to be slightly friendlier. I’ve listed four people there, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is anything more than the regular Tom Cruise show. Which normally I wouldn’t have a problem with, as I like Tom Cruise, but it’s just one of many things that stop this being a ‘Mummy’ film as it focuses its attentions elsewhere.

First of all, like many before it, The Mummy is the first film in a franchise that spends far too long trying to set up multiple movies down the line instead of making sure that the first movie is actually good. Why would people want to return to the universe if the first one is rubbish? For example, you know what made Iron Man one so successful? Despite being the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe it actually just focused on being a good Iron Man movie, with Easter eggs hidden here and there and then a post credits scene with Nick Fury. Simple.

Perhaps more importantly though is the overall tone and general pacing of the movie that’s wrong here. Now I think we can all admit that the previous iteration of The Mummy starring Brendan Fraser was by no means perfect, in fact it was a bit rubbish, but what you can say is that the general tone of the films was entertaining. Simple and fun action fantasy adventure flicks. This time around everything has to be real, modernised and gritty. Dark tones and jump scares galore. That might float some people’s boats but it’s not really what I wanted to be honest.

Then you get to the pacing. In places they fly through scenes, such as when they find the burial chamber at the start but then the film lingers in the middle and really slows down to a crawl. There is a scene in which Tom Cruise fights something, it’s almost completely irrelevant to the main plot and serves nothing more than as a distraction. I guess the writers thought they needed an action scene to spice things up a little.

One of the main problems that this film has though is that Tom Cruise’s character is just a bit of a dick. It’s the classic cocky scoundrel who eventually ends up doing the right thing and saving the day routine. For whatever reason I just couldn’t connect with it. Then you get to his best friend, who is as dumb as Cruise was unlikable, and their comedy bickering and general relationship are at complete odds with the rest of the films darker vibes.

It’s not all bad though, for example; the set pieces, in particular the plane crash that you get a glimpse of in the trailer is fantastic and as usual with Tom Cruise films you do appreciate the fact that he does his own stunts.

The most interesting thing about this film is, somewhat ironically for all of my complaining, Russel Crowe’s character(s), Dr Henry Jekyll and Mr Edward Hyde. He’s in this movie simply to be the connecting arm throughout the new cinematic universe and while sort of necessary for the plot, very much shoehorned in at the same time. However, I actually left the cinema thinking how much more interesting a movie revolving around those characters at the helm of a monster hunting organisation would be. I guess we’ll get glimpses of that throughout all of the films.

This version of The Mummy’s main crime though isn’t that it’s trying too hard to set up an entire new cinematic universe or that its darker tone is rather hit and miss. Instead it’s actually that the film is just pretty boring.

Verdict: Thumbs Down

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back [Review]

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

jack_reacher_never_go_back_posterInvestigator Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) springs into action after the arrest of Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), an Army major accused of treason. Suspecting foul play, Jack embarks on a mission to prove that she innocent and uncover the truth behind a major conspiracy.


Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is an action thriller directed by Edward Zwick. It is the sequel to the 2012 film, Jack Reacher and is once again based on the books by Lee Child. This time on the novel of the same title, Never Go Back.

I’ve never read any of the Jack Reacher books but I enjoyed the original film. It was something slightly different from Tom Cruise. Yes, he was still a kick ass former military guy/spy/fighter pilot/cocktail maker but the pacing was different and that made it unique. Kinda.

Let’s look at the positives first. Straight away yes, I did enjoy this movie that’s important to remember during this review. Tom Cruise is his usual enjoyable, intense action star self and he is definitely the best part of the movie. I think its fair to say that if this franchise didn’t have Tom Cruise attached to it and instead had Joe Bloggs then it wouldn’t be onto it’s second film.

The main problem Never Go Back has is that it’s just kind of alright. It’s fairly entertaining while never being great. Like its predecessor its not a high paced action film but its also not a very suspenseful thriller. It’s just average really. There’s nothing spectacular about it at all really. Its kind of paint by numbers throughout while the baddies are revealed too early as well. The conspiracy isn’t even that exciting either if I’m honest.

I’m also not sold on Cobie Smulders in action films though. She seemed out of place in The Avengers and she seems miscast in this too. I can’t put my finger on why, but she just doesn’t convince me of being a tough army major or secret agent. Maybe I’ve just seen too much How I Met Your Mother for my perspective of her to change?

In summary, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is neither a great action film or a great thriller. It’s not as good as the original either but, I still enjoyed it and wasn’t bored. It’s not a must see by any means yet I’d still recommend watching it at some point down the line on Netflix or similar.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

 

Edge of Tomorrow [Review]

edge-of-tomorrow-poster1Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple. Spoiler free reviews. Keep it simple dummy.

Edge of Tomorrow is the story of an American military officer, Major William Cage, who is brought into an war on European soil against an extraterrestrial enemy. When he is killed in action Cage gets caught up in a time loop, in which he repeatedly relives his last battle. However, the more times he fights, the closer he gets to discovering how to defeat the alien enemy.

Edge of Tomorrow, also marketed as Live. Die. Repeat, was directed by Doug Liman (Bourne Identity) and stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. It was one of, if not my favourite film from 2014. When describing this film the best way to start is with Groundhog Day meets Saving Private Ryan/Independence Day.

With he premise of dying and starting the day again, the Groundhog Day comparisons are unavoidable. Its safe to say that Edge of Tomorrow is the best time loop/resets film since then, in fact it’s gunning for the title itself. The movie is based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s sci-fi novel All You Need Is Kill, which is often praised for it’s clever time-looping conceit that doubled as a metaphor for the monotony and pointlessness of war.

In an unusual change Tom Cruise doesn’t play the hero, in fact he starts off this movie clearly as a coward. It’s great to see Cruise like this, sweating and panicking through each of his initial deaths.

3ed2cc5e8023c125dfb1cf73cff15515Emily Blunt, who plays ‘The Full Metal Bitch’ Sergeant Rita Rose Vrataski, is great. I was surprised at how well she did in a sci-fi action flick, but she hold her own and is an undeniable total bad ass. Bill Paxton is also a lot of fun playing over the top Master Sergeant Ferell.

The action sequences in the film are excellent and very entertaining, specifically during the repeated disastrous invasions, while refreshingly different to what you see in most movies. With the beach invasion you can’t help but think back to the scenes in Saving Private Ryan and  Doug Liman does a great job showing the utter carnage and disarray resulting from the attack and the human forces are massacred. Throughout the film each moment of action or violence has weight, relevance yet there is still has time for plenty of humour too.

If you haven’t seen Edge of Tomorrow yet, I can not recommend it enough. Despite now being over 50, Tom Cruise continues to be excellent in action movies. If anything, I think he’s gotten better!

Verdict: Thumbs Up

 

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation [Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down]

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down – Keeping film reviews short, to the point and most importantly SPOILER FREE! Keep it simple. Would you recommend this film or not?

A new threat to the world has emerged. The Syndicate. A rouge nation dedicated to establishing a new world order via an escalating series of terrorist attacks. With the IMF disbanded and Ethan Hunt a fugitive it seems like this is the most impossible…of impossible missions.

Tom Cruise and the gang have done it again. Another corker of a movie. If you’d have asked me 15 years ago if I wanted another Mission Impossible film, a ten year old me might have been naive enough to say yes granted. If you’d have asked me again in 2006 I would have said “no, this franchise has run its course” and probably mentioned something about Tom Cruise being a looney.

mission-impossible-rogue-nation-villain-146014And yet here we are. With Ghost Protocol in 2011 and now Rogue Nation in 2015 the franchise is very much back on track. Well, its better than ever. A sixth instalment is already in the works.

While this is all happening I feel the need to remind you that Tom Cruise is now 53 year old and still probably the best action star on the planet. It must have something to do with all that running he always seems to be doing.

There is a scene in this movie at the opera in Vienna, it last over 20 minutes and is genuinely fantastic. The musical score and the pacing of the scene are on point, building tension every single step of the way. It was great!

My main praise for this movie goes to Sean Harris who plays Solomon Lane, the lead villain. His subtle performance as the softly spoken leader of The Syndicate make his incredibly ominous and threatening. It’s a perfect contrast to Cruise’s character and make for good viewing.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

I know a Tom Cruise film though, thats better than this one but didn’t get anywhere near as much praise. Edge of Tomorrow. Have you seen it? Brilliant movie.