Mission Impossible: Fallout Review

It’s hard to believe we’re six films in and Tom Cruise is still going strong with his Mission Impossible series. In fact, I’d say his performance in Mission Impossible: Fallout is quite impressive, which I find to be rather abnormal for an actor this deep into a franchise. I’d have thought he’d lighten up, get lazy, or lose his passion for acting the part. But no. Not Tom Cruise.

We once again see international bad ass Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), along with his friends from the Impossible Missions Force (IMF), attempt to stop a global disaster. Solomon Lane (you may know him as the bad guy from Rogue Nation) and his fellow anarchists plan to use stolen plutonium to simultaneously detonate three Holy sites. This is of course where Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames step in to carry out a death-defying, heroic mission that some might call… impossible.

Mission Impossible: Fallout plays like an intense, action-packed video game. There’s a continuous cycle of debriefings, top secret missions, and exciting chase sequences that put the audience at the forefront of the thrilling entertainment. It’s a total action movie fan’s action movie.

With a lot of action movies nowadays I’ll catch myself dozing off, not really getting into the action or even paying attention to the details. With Fallout, there’s hardly a dull moment.

Scattered throughout the film are several chase scenes (along with plenty of hand-to-hand combat scenes), which can last up to fifteen minutes at a time. Every second of it’s rewarding though, with some moments flying by so fast I wish I could’ve slowed them down. Or even just rewind and watch again.

It’s well known that Tom Cruise prefers to do his own stunts, which are notoriously so over the top and dangerous that some might call it insane. I’d consider this aspect to be one of the key appeals to the Mission Impossible series. The dramatic stunt work gives an organic, practical feel to the Mission Impossible films; and coupled with the strong camera work and editing kept things interesting for the viewer.

Shots of Tom Cruise clinging to a helicopter as it takes off, parkouring across rooftops, and skydiving from a plane are as realistic as a film could possibly get, and that’s exactly how I like it.

Mission Impossible: Fallout is a rush of adrenaline more action movies should strive towards, and it’s backed by a cast of solid, witty actors dedicated to keeping this franchise moving in positive directions.

The Verdict: B+

-Zachary Flint

 

Eddie the Eagle Review

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I find it peculiar that just within the same few weeks there was two films released centering on the Olympic Games. The first being the film Race about the track star Jesse Owens, a picture I already reviewed negatively. The second being Eddie the Eagle, a film about an underdog in the 1988 Winter Olympic games. While Race came as a big disappointment to me for many reasons, I found Eddie the Eagle to be a relatively better flick.

Eddie the Eagle stars Taron Egerton as the ambitious Eddie Edwards who has his entire life dreamed of becoming an Olympian. Eddie finds as a young boy that he is no good at track and field events, so pursues a future in skiing. When he is rejected by the British Olympics team for lacking typical Olympian qualities, he decides to pursue ski jumping as an alternative. With the help of his intrepid coach played by Hugh Jackman, Eddie hopes to be ready to compete in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.

Eddie the Eagle has all the clichés one could imagine from a typical sports film. A coach who is struggling with the demons of his past, the butting heads of the coach and athlete in the first act, and the doubt in ability of the protagonist by his peers. Even the structure of the narrative calls out in comparison to most sports films.

While these clichés hinder Eddie the Eagle in originality, they do nothing to hurt the drive this film has. Both Jackman and Egerton put their all into Eddie the Eagle, and it shows! The onscreen chemistry of the two is phenomenal and you can really tell they’re having fun with it. They both do a great job in expressing their emotions to the audience, oftentimes without even speaking.

The film also excels in sucking the audience into its story, submerging the viewers into the particular emotion desired. I could feel my own heart pumping fast as Eddie climbed to the top of a 90 meter ski jump. I felt the exact size and magnitude of what he was up against and what was all on the line as he shot down the ramp.

There is little to say about Eddie the Eagle that hasn’t already been said for most good sports films. As Eddie the Eagle nosedives on its originality, it soars high with the heart and determination of its characters. By the end of the film I feel most people will leave satisfied with what Eddie the Eagle has to offer. Even if its story arch has already been done to death.

Zachary Flint

Race Review

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Upon viewing Race, I had high hopes for the film. I felt that director Stephen Hopkins had himself a narrative that came gift wrapped. A story about the life of American hero Jesse Owens and his accomplishments at the 1937 Olympics. Overcoming both prejudice and hate.

I found myself surprisingly disappointed with Race and left the theater feeling underwhelmed, wishing for something more fulfilling. It was quite obvious that unskilled filmmakers and scriptwriters were behind this picture.

Race centers around track and field sensation Jesse Owens played by Stephan James. It follows Owens on his college career of running track and breaking world records in the 100 yard dash. All leading up to his participation in the 1937 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. Which is currently under Nazi rule. Owens must overcome the prejudice of both the people in the United States, and the Nazis hate at the Olympics to win gold at the games.

Race suffers from a dull script that never seems to be focused, the editing job of a madman, and an overall screenplay that seems all too content with never staying on topic. Some scenes cut to the exact same shot with the camera hardly moving, signifying absolutely nothing. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like the scene should have ended. Jesse will be talking with his coach and suddenly in the middle of conversation cut to Berlin Germany preparing for the Olympics.

Race also attempts to develop some side stories including a German director wanting to film the Olympics, and a committee of men deciding whether the United States will partake in the games. I found myself caring less about these scenes and counting down the minutes till we returned to Jesse Owen`s story. The dialogue is especially bland for these scenes and are so carelessly put together. When it all comes together in the end, they fail to impress.

In one scene Jesse`s girlfriend played by Shanice Banton is furiously upset with him, forcing him to leave her place of work ashamed and signifying the end of the relationship. Yet, not even two minutes later into the film he convinces her to marry him. It takes him little to no effort to win her heart back. There are far too many unmotivated scenes throughout the film that hinder the story.

What saves Race from imminent doom is the acting talents of the lead roles and general subject matter of the film. Stephan James and Jason Sudeikis are fun to watch all throughout the film. The characters are likeable and down to earth and the audience can still connect with them. You want to see Jesse succeed in winning the gold at the Olympics and you want to see whatever other little conflict that’s been developed to be resolved. No matter how convoluted and unfocused the plot gets to be.

I truly admired how close the film related to its original source material. Not much of the story was left up to fiction as many of the major events actually took place. Which is another reason that a viewer like myself still became wrapped up in its characters and events.

Race is not a necessary film to see by any means, and the legendary Jesse Owens deserves a much better film to do him justice. If only the quality of the filmmaking matched up with how historically accurate and well-acted it was. Maybe then more viewers could leave the theater feeling content with a cohesive film.

Zachary Flint