Monday, March 28, 2016

This Summer's Double Feature Disappointment: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 

I've never been a fan of Guy Ritchie, whose involvement with the film I didn't know about when I first watched it.

Alicia Vikander plays Gaby, daughter of an important scientist and a hot auto mechanic.

Henry Cavill (Solo) plays a US soldier turned art thief turned CIA agent.  He will eventually be partnered up with Illya (Armie Hammer), a KGB agent, who starts out as an adversary.

Gaby's father is kidnapped and is they key to serious global catastrophe being orchestrated by the villains, an international criminal organization.

This is like The Odd Couple where adversity breeds kinship between the agents.

Gaby troubled by having to inhabit a feminine role while undercover.

There is a moment where extreme tension and action play against a romantic, schmaltzy song for a comedic effect of irony.  I've seen this sort of thing done more effectively elsewhere (A Clockwork Orange, to name at least one).

One thing this film does right is offer very large yellow subtitles that are easy to read.

Unfortunately, I found myself largely unconcerned about what was going on and at some points I was nearly nodding off.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation 

The film starts off with a solid bit of daredevilry featuring Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) hanging onto the side of an airplane in order to complete his mission of separating a flight crew from their cargo.  That said, the Burj Khalifa scene from Ghost Protocol seems like it will never be topped.  

The premise of the film is actually quite promising: the IMF (Impossible Mission Force) is up against it nefarious counterpart, the Syndicate.  There is also more hostility from the American government threatening IMF longevity.

There is a beautifully shot opera house sequence that is mind-bending and mind-numbing.  Eventually it makes sense but in the end it lacked a solid through line in favor of disorientation.

Throughout this film Ethan Hunt has a special relationship with a British Intelligence Officer Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), Hunt even gets to be the damsel in distress for once.

The villain Lane (Sean Harris) although chilling is quite forgettable.  When I revisited it after a few months I was like: Oh, that's right, he's the villain. 

The highlight of this film occurs when Hunt infiltrates a liquid cooled array/secure computer facility in which he must hold his breath for ten minutes (at least).  This scene exhibits the classic Murphy's Law breed of unintended goofs and obstacles that make this character and franchise so endearing.

In the end, though, it just wasn't enough.  Even though I appreciated Ving Rhames' more pervasive screen time and the continued levity provided by Simon Pegg, this film left me with an empty feeling.    

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