So I watched a couple of movies you guys might have heard of, by the names of Mission: Impossible and Mission: Impossible 2!
Mission: Impossible: This movie's great! Alongside Independence Day, this is one of my earliest cinema-going memories (I would have been six years old, nestled snugly in between my parents at the theatre), and I've probably seen it three or four times over the years but I've never actually understood it before now. For some reason I always found the plot impenetrable, but now I'm wondering if maybe I've just been a big dumb stupid idiot all these years because it isn't really all that complicated. It does have a pretty interesting way of playing with what information it chooses to tell the viewer, though, particularly concerning some late-game Jon-Voight-related morsels. It's probably the most classically spy-movie-y of the Missions: Impossible, with some wonderfully clever espionage stuff and a lot less bombastic shooting of dudes than you'd expect from one of the later movies. But then when it does get into the action stuff it does that really well, too! Apart from the spy tech and gadgets being inevitably outdated (when Ethan needs to find the shadowy weapons broker Max, the first thing he does is open up his blocky '90s laptop and search for 'Max.com' ), this movie holds up incredibly well 22 years later.
Also Tom Cruise's eyebrows are flat out INCREDIBLE. Unbelievable eyebrow game. OCELOT'S RATING: Top notch Mission: Impossible
Mission: Impossible 2: And so we go from a movie that has held up incredibly well to the absolute Year-2000-est movie that has ever existed. This movie aged twenty years the moment they drove it out of the showroom. Tom Cruise's floppy boyband hair, the excruciating slow-mo and constant spinning in every action scene, the startlingly awful soundtrack from a young Hans Zimmer before he learnt how to Hans Zimmer properly, featuring a terrible credits song from Load/Reload-era Metallica; everything about this movie screams "downloading ringtones for your flip phone from Limewire on a 56k modem". You no doubt remember Tom Cruise free-climbing a sheer cliff at the start of the movie, but do you remember that this was the music that played during that scene?
And yet, this movie is still incredibly watchable. Even if sometimes you're laughing at it rather than with it, it's still a super fun two hours. There's no such thing as a bad Mission: Impossible movie; even when you're in the depths of the absolute dumbest motorcycle jousting scene where Tom Cruise and Dougray "I gave up Wolverine to be in this movie and it killed my career" Scott just fly at eachother at a hundred miles an hour, you're still just pumping your fist at how wonderfully stupid but still awesome everything is. I think this movie is what gave Vin Diesel the idea to make XXX, because Tom Cruise can't do anything on that motorbike without doing an xxxtreme trick beforehand to get his Tony Hawk multiplier up. It's so bad. It's so good. I love it.
The only thing that I genuinely didn't like was the way it treats Thandie Newton's character Nyah, which is a really ugly flashback to the days before Hollywood learnt that women were people, too. Red flag #1 is that she's literally the only female speaking role in the movie, and red flags #2 through infinity are everything that happens in all of her scenes. The movie's plot revolves around the IMF basically strong-arming her, a civilian, into jumping back in bed with her psycho ex-boyfriend (which she is very visibly not happy about), with such lines as "To go to bed with a man and lie to him? She's a woman, she's got all the training she needs" and "Like monkeys they are: won't let go of one branch 'til they get a hold on the next". It'd be one thing if they were trying to make some kind of statement, but it's just so casual and thoughtless here. It's a real shame, because Thandie Newton is actually wonderful whenever she gets a chance to do something other than be the damsel in distress, but the movie is just so callous about sending her off to into the villain's bed and then using her as a mostly off-screen virus bomb in the final setpiece that... yeesh, it's not a good look.
OCELOT'S RATING: Worst Mission: Impossible but still great, 10 floppy hair cartwheel kicks out of 10