Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

As summer action movies go the 5th instalment in the Mission: Impossible franchise is a fun couple of hours in the cinema.  From the spectacular, vertiginous opening set-piece, which almost equals the Burj Khalifa climb from the previous film, to a finale which pays of some well placed character beats, the film hits all the notes that you would expect from Cruise’s ongoing answer to Bond.  Like the rest of the series it’s also a fully formed whole with new villains and the actors effectively playing themselves (if you’ve seen Simon Pegg before then you know Benji and don’t need to catch up on the other movies etc) with some well placed humour at their expense (Cruise’s height is well used).

Its also all pretty much replaceable and nothing really seems intrinsic to the film.  Many of the stunts could easily be swapped out with something from the previous films… apart from the first movie because that was something special and during a magnificent Opera based sequence, meticulously set up and executed, it’s De Palma’s daring flourish and skewered reality that’s missing.

But I’m moaning about something being great fun rather than spectacular.

Recommended.

Film: You Only Live Twice (1967)

There is a scene in You Only Live Twice which sums up the why I’ve gone off Bond as I’ve grown up and become that bit more precious and liberal, it’s the one where a group of subservient women in underwear make him ‘more Japanese’ (you know, they give Connery a darker wig and make his eyes less rounded)… but I watch it anyway because it does some things very well.  The plot is quite good and it makes great use of the Japanese setting in that travelogue / cinema of attractions way that you don’t really see much any more, plus there is a great knockabout rooftop fight scene filmed from a helicopter.  Of course, the real bonus is the glorious volcano lair by Ken Adam with Donald Pleasence waiting inside.

Of the old Bond movies this and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are easily the most enjoyable.