25 March 2013

Standing Out In A Crowd

In order for a franchise to work it has to stand apart from other similar films within the same genre. That's why romantic movies such as Bridget Jones and Dirty Sluts 3 can survive in the same market together without treading on each other’s toes. They both deal with the subject of romance but with one focusing on the desperation of an unlikable frump and the other seeming more interested in the sensual issue of anal fisting and strap-ons. The same thing happens in the action genre too with several spy franchises all tackling their similar subject in various different ways. James Bond for example is pure escapist fantasy with a heavy dollop of British patriotism enjoyed by all ages around the world. Spy Kids however is more interested in silliness and tends to be watched by bratty little children to shut them up before their frantic single mother drowns them in the bath.

Definitely SHIT.
Mission: Impossible was released in 1996 and was obviously based on the mid-60's television spy show of the same name. Here, Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt who’s an agent with pretty much the exact same personality as Top Gun’s Maverick despite being significantly less gay. Both characters are clearly from the cocky but loveable phase of Cruise's career- it's just that for some reason Hunt does seem less likely than Maverick to have a drawer full of poppers and butt plugs. Oh, and I should probably point out that the organisation that Hunt works for is the IMF which stands for Impossible Mission Force. I mean, considering how dumb that name is I think they should have gone one further and just named it the Specialised Hostile Incident Team or SHIT for short. Having seen Cruise in films like Knight and Day there's certainly no doubting that he's not a stranger to occasionally doing a SHIT job, so why not?

So I'll say right away that I loved Mission: Impossible which I feel has its own style in the overcrowded market of espionage films. Whereas now Bond is brilliantly weighted down by a sense legacy, this by contrast is just pure, albeit silly, fun. Obviously I prefer the Bond films to these but that's only because I'm British and I think to say otherwise should constitute as treason. But like I was saying- at the start, Cruise's films are luckily different enough that the two can easily co-exist. Imagine it as a relationship with the Bond's being the wife you dearly love and the Mission Impossible's being the tart you fuck for fun when pretending to be on a business trip.

Future Bond Villain?
Where Bond has its winning formula of genius, this instead seems to compare more closely to something as light and tricksy as Oceans Eleven. For a start, the plot flies by so quickly that I assume it must be like how a schizophrenic sees the world. One minute Hunt is surrounded by friends and the next his team is all dead and people are tearing their faces off. Whereas most spy films are all about killing or catching the villain this is more like a con movie with nobody knowing who the fuck anyone else is. With Bond it's obvious who the baddy is because they tend to by angry retards with bleeding eyes, metal hands and more nipples than common sense. Here however it could literally be anybody with various people coming back from the dead as though this is a more believable retelling of The Passion Of Christ.

Aside from con movies, the other thing that this film clearly takes its influence from is obviously Hitchcock. I mean I know most things take influence from him because he was clearly a fat, bald genius but I mean specifically North by NorthWest. Both that and Mission: Impossible tell the story of a wronged man on the run from a shadowy organisation and both rely heavily on the use of suspense. In Hitchcock’s case, this involved scenes such as a crop duster chase and clinging desperately to the edge of Mount Rushmore. With Mission: Impossible however it means dangling Tom Cruise from the ceiling like he's in some sort of high-tech sex dungeon and then making him sweat. I don't know how they managed to make him sweat on command but if I was directing then I'd probably just string him up and then start detailing exactly why Scientology is a cult of bullshit. If that didn't work then I guess I could just give him a swift kick to the nuts.

Nice Merkin
Luckily for him though, I unsurprisingly wasn't the director with that damn Brian De Palma beating me to it yet again. As anyone who heard the Psycho music clunkily play during the knife scene in De Palma's Carrie, I think we can safely blame him for the Hitchcockian influence. Having said that, I actually think De Palma is underrated as a director with people forgetting quite how many classics he's made. Sure his films might seem dark and violent but at the same time there's always an undercurrent of humour and silliness. Take for example Carlito's Way which is, for the most part, reasonably serious but at the same time happens to have Sean Penn sporting a hairstyle that looks like an explosion in an 80's pube factory. It's this sense of fun however that I think also helps Mission: Impossible stand out and on its own.

Hope she got what she paid for...
Adding to the silliness, Hunt also gets the stupidest weapons ever, which in this film’s case happens to include things such as exploding chewing gum. I can't be sure but I'm going to assume that product was made in the anti-terrorist department of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. There's also the whole prosthetic mask thing too which is obviously stupid as they're more realistic than Liza Minnelli could manage after millions of dollars of plastic surgery. In fact the amount of times they actually escape a situation by wearing somebody else’s face you'd think this organisation was trained from a survival book written by Hannibal Lector… in which case, I look forward to a future instalment of the franchise in which Hunt learns how to disguise himself as a lady by tucking his dick and balls between his legs and making a dress out of some fat girl’s tits.

Of course no idiot in the world could think that this is an accurate depiction of real life espionage, but I don't watch films for realism- I watch them for a few moments’ escapism in an otherwise drab, boring world. If I wanted to see what real spies do then I'd be better off finding the nearest office and watching some randomer type numbers into a spread sheet whilst double checking their figures. To liven things up a little bit, I could slit my wrists and decide to only seek help once they've finished their shift. Until the DVD player breaks however, I'll probably just stick to watching something like Mission: Impossible which, despite being unbelievable bullshit, is still hugely entertaining. 

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