Aug 122015
 

Hollywood has dictated that summer must be blockbuster movie time, specifically blockbuster action movie time. Meh. If you’ve seen one, you can pretty much predict them all.

Summer Blockbuster

In the first place, there will be tons of special effects because the special effects are the real stars of action movies, despite the names appearing in the opening credits. The actors are only along for the ride, because when it comes to the box office bottom line, spectacle generally trumps interesting characters and an original story. Movie studio bean counters are aware of this phenomenon.

Unless it happens to be science fiction, a typical action movie is mindless entertainment. Your mind may actually kick back and take a mini vacation since you aren’t required to use it while watching the typical action movie. You couldn’t think even if you wanted to, because you wouldn’t be able to hear yourself think. The typical action movie, you see, calls for noise, lots and lots and lots of noise. Hey, if you shoot a movie in surround sound, you may as well make the most of it.

In the typical action movie, things go kaboom! There are the mighty and mandatory blasts of explosions. The crack and rat-tat-tat of gunfire. The screeching and squealing of tires during endless car chases. The pernicious crunch and grinding of metal on metal when those cars eventually crash—and explode, of course, most often over a cliff. And let us not forget the obligatory shattering of glass from all those explosions and crashes.

All of the above contribute to a headache in the making for me. Now given my lack of enthusiasm for such pyrotechnic carryings-on, and given the fact that I am not a fan of Tom Cruise, you may wonder why I went to see Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation. There were three very crucial reasons: 1) It was $2.00 movie ticket day; 2) It was $2.00 popcorn, drinks, and candy day; and 3) Macho Guy and the two friends we went out with outvoted me. [I wanted to see Inside Out.]

Mission Impossible

Surprise! I actually found two things to like about MI5. It would have been just another action movie sequel except for standout performances by Rebecca Ferguson as Lisa and Simon Pegg as Benji.

Pegg’s flustered, fretting, funny and very unspylike Benji had me laughing out loud from the beginning. The film’s opening is a hoot. Cruise is hanging onto the outside of a jet that is taking off while Pegg is hiding in the grass with his tablet and is opening all the wrong screens and tapping all the wrong buttons in a frantic and hilarious attempt to open the correct jet door so Cruise may get on board. While Cruise does the heroics, the comical Pegg steals the scene.

MI5’s biggest scene-stealer, in my considered opinion, was Rebecca Ferguson. Wow. Talk about a badass. Ferguson’s Lisa was the biggest badass in MI5. She rolled with the punches, and she outsmarted and made mincemeat out of all the bad guys she faced off against. She made Cruise’s Ethan and every other male in the film look like wimps and dummies by comparison. Her Lisa was a lovely, ultra cool, steely-eyed, but much tougher 21st century incarnation of Emma Peel of The Avengers. She was awesome.

Had I known that MI5 had a female badass as one of the leading characters in the film, I might not have been so reluctant to see it. As it was, the film exceeded my expectations, and I actually enjoyed it.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that I still want to see Inside Out.

insideout-teaser-2-580x328

  • Secret confession time: I love shoot-em-up, mindless, noisy, predictable action movies. As long as they’re not gory, I’m good with bad guys flipping over cliffs and bursting into flames on the way down (before their cars actually hit anything). Action movies are just about my favorite. They’re even better when they’re smart and well done with strong female characters… but those are rare. 😉

    • Kristin, have you seen Melissa McCarthy’s comedy/action movie “Spy”? Now there was an “action movie” that was exciting, unpredictable, hilarious, and witty, plus it had a terrific cast. I enjoyed it more than any movie I’ve seen this summer, but then I can watch Melissa McCarthy in just about anything. She’s fantastic.

  • With my job as a movie reviewer, I have to see a new movie each week. I passed on Mission Impossible, because of Tom Cruise. I never got why he was a star. Now with your thoughts, I wish I would have seen the movie. I love kick butt girls. Too many times there aren’t any in a movie…it’s the guys that carry it. In fact in the new Fantastic 4, Sue Storm spends all the time reading, listening to music and basically blending into the background. I was so disappointed. Maybe someday the heads of movie companies will learn that we love our kick butt women too! Wouldn’t Nancy Gideon’s Cee Cee make a wonderful movie lead??

    • Melissa, I think you would have gotten a charge out of seeing Rebecca Ferguson’s kick butt character Lisa save Tom Cruise’s character Ethan’s bacon on more than one occasion, and she actually saves Ethan’s life too. She rocks.

  • Don’t forgo the pleasure of Inside Out. Public schools should require all attendees to see it. The explanation of why addictions are needed to deny all feelings is clearly shown. Only the bravery to feel allows release from the main plague of young people.

    • Thanks for the recommendation, Rohn. I’ll see it if I have to go to the theater by myself!

  • Paul Dellinger

    Old movie serials now available on DVDs similarly emphasized action, but it was performed by stunt men and women (and miniature cars and buildings and such) rather than inserted effects. The stunters did amazing things. And the plots, which had to be kept simple so people who missed a chapter or two could still follow the story, seemed “deeper” than today’s action movies.

    • I’ve seen some of those old movie serials, Paul. I have a very cool friend who gifts me with those DVDs at Christmas. They sure are fun to watch. 🙂

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