B and I decided to go see a movie last night, and with our choices narrowed down to MI4, Sherlock 2, and Young Adult, we went with MI4. Both of us had really enjoyed the first Mission Impossible, been aghast at the awfulness of 2, and skipped 3 altogether (which probably slowed us down in our understanding of the film, since there were no “previously” scenes.) I will tell you right now that the absolute highlight of my movie-going experience was the unexpected delight of having Bruce Willis pop up in a trailer for GI Joe 2, which I will totally go see because Bruce Willis + The Rock = Awesomeness. That being said, I thought MI4 was okay–not bad–enjoyable.
What I loved:
Nothing got me really excited, but one or two starts to stunt sequences caught me totally off guard and I loved being surprised. Glad I went into this one mostly unspoiled–if you go in to this one spoiled, the movie is ruined.
I can’t say much about this without spoiling, so I will just say that I loved that the female characters weren’t “just girls”. They were treated with equal weight to the male agents, kicked just as much rear, and took just as many names as everyone else. And I was especially delighted that Patton’s character wasn’t your stereotypical femme fatale.
What I liked:
The stunts were outstanding. And really, isn’t that why you go to an MI movie? You’re sure not going for the believable story lines, the great acting, and the technical accuracy (because NOTHING in this movie is even remotely believable. You’ll even start questioning Simon Pegg’s accent.) Even knowing that the characters were making it through to at least the next scene (based on trailers alone–way to spoil your own movie, guys) I was at the edge of my seat for three stunts.
Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner. These two have a scene together that plays like the gravediggers in Hamlet against the backdrop of the movie, and even though they were both practically waving signs reading COMIC RELIEF, I giggled at them. Renner, as the agent gone desk jockey returned to agency is the least of the truly bad acting in the movie, and if the editing had been better, I’d have believed him a lot more.
What I didn’t like:
I am usually able to get right into a movie and enjoy it for the story without paying attention to things like editing, or blocking, or direction, but as soon as we were past the Ethan Hunt entrance (which played very well), it was all I could see. In several scenes (Paula Patton, leaning over a dying agent/Cruise, Renner, Patton, and Peg standing for dialog/Patton and Cruise getting out of a car/Renner giving his character’s back story/And a painfully long, obviously choreographed stunt sequence) you can read the stage direction right along with the actor. The angles are unnatural in conversation to allow for no backs to the camera, but I haven’t seen such obvious blocking since the Golden Girls sat scrunched around their table for cheesecake, leaving an open seat for Elijah or something.
I would not go so far as to call Patton’s acting execrable, but Denise Richards was more natural as Dr. Christmas Snow. There was some serious smell-the-fart acting going on with her. Renner was so far out of this cast’s league that he seemed to be in a different movie. Pegg was Pegg, and Cruise was Cruise, so that they might as well have just called one another Simon and Tom. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in Pegg’s case, as likable and twinkling dark fun as he is, but for Cruise? Well, when we were leaving the theater I told B that I wished I could still watch and enjoy Tom Cruise movies without thinking about Tom Cruise (who needs to keep his shirt on so badly.) Again, the acting isn’t why you go to one of these movies, so as bad as some of it was, it wasn’t important.
What I Hated:
Those effing masks. Don’t even joke with me about those effing masks, Tom Cruise. I haven’t forgiven you for MI2.
Why You Should See It:
If you enjoy action movies at all, you’ll enjoy this. It is wall to wall action and stunts with what amount to commercial breaks of acting and dialog in between. There is very little gore violence (yay!), no nudity, and the language is very clean, so if your younger tween likes car crashes and you don’t mind letting him/her see some well choreographed fight scenes, you could take a fairly young one to the movie. They are going to see worse violence on television, but nowhere near the awesomeness of car/building/city destruction.
The theme of the movie is teamwork. Honest to dog, I turned to B during a final wrap-up scene and sang to him from the WonderPets theme, “What’s gonna work? Teeeeaaaaamwork!” Aside from that cheesy bit of ham-fisted foolery in dialog, I thought the theme worked nicely for a 12-14 year old audience–maybe even 10 or 11 depending on your child’s level of video game play. I would probably let Thor watch this at around 12.
In hindsight, it felt a lot like an episode of Chuck on steroids, so I enjoyed myself. I love Chuck and am going to be so sad when it goes away.
In sum: Go see MI4 for fun. You won’t be sorry. 3.5 out of 5 stars from me.