4 items from 2015
'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation': Tom Cruise. 'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation': Tom Cruise, the last action hero There are two impossible missions in the latest Mission: Impossible. The first involves Chechen terrorists, political assassinations, the Vienna Opera House, and a car that unlocks when the user places his hand on the driver's side window (Detroit, get on that). The other impossible mission, one that is not only accepted and completed, but conquered and victoriously ground into dust, is proving that 53-year old Tom Cruise is still an action star. As Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation demonstrates with cruel ease, Cruise isn't just an action hero. In the post-movie star age, he is, with apologies to a certain Austrian bodybuilder whose drawing power is all but terminated, the last action hero. What makes him thus is not just his supreme confidence, compact good looks, and million dollar smile. The camera has »
- Mark Keizer
So this is the anti-Bond. Stripped of the requisite wit and mischief. Short of temper, heavy of touch. The SPECTREs of yore replaced by a drugs cartel. World domination downgraded to a heroin monopoly. Glamour smothered by grit. Joy drowned in the bloodshed. The icon of British cinema reduced to an American cop show – MI6 Vice, Hawaii 007 – timeless style swamped by the vulgarity and cash of the late-1980s, a case of ‘Sayonara, Mr Bond’ and everything you stand for. Derivative, needlessly violent, no identity, no soul – it’s just Not Bond, dammit! All nonsense, of course. The open-minded know this brutal, brilliant outing is about as good as the series can get.
The Villain: Franz Sanchez is unquestionably the great forgotten villain of the franchise. He possesses all the vital characteristics: charm, »
There's a good case to be made for this being the silliest Bond of them all, but Moonraker's still a lot of fun...
Well, we’ve come a long, long way since From Russia With Love. Moonraker: a film that redefined the possibilities of the Bond franchise if only by sheer scale of stupidity. The space bits are relatively by-the-numbers (other than being in space). However, the script was probably written in crayon. Chases happen without explanation, people randomly bump into each other, the utterly implausible is presented as mundane. Purists think of Istanbul and weep. But treat the whole thing as a comedy – perhaps a gentle spoof – and you’ll actually enjoy yourself. A plot-hole drinking game will get everyone plastered.
The Villain: Weirdly good. The master of the dry putdown – “James Bond. You defy my attempts to devise an amusing death for you” – Hugo Drax almost steals the film. »
The James Bond movies have a formula – gadgets, guns, car chases, fight scenes, and, most importantly, beautiful women whom Bond (improbably, it has to be said) seduces at every turn. It’s this very formula that has helped turn Ian Fleming’s super spy into a household name and global brand.
The ‘honour’ of being a Bond girl is bestowed upon few, and while they become part of a legacy, it can be hard for the actresses who portray the ‘girls’ to maintain a level of mainstream success. It’s all too common, sadly, to see women of a fine acting calibre unable to find new material, or to break out of the objectified roles altogether – actresses such as Britt Ekland, Lois Chiles, Barbara Bach, and Izabella Scorupco for example, failed to maintain the global success and exposure that a Bond film gifts.
However, fortunately, more and more Bond »
- Chris Haigh
4 items from 2015
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