2016 Summer Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

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Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew enter a new world in Star Trek Beyond

In 2009, J.J. Abrams rebooted a franchise that made Trekkies and newcomers “boldly go where no one has gone before”. Without watching the original series, it didn’t matter with Star Trek. Learning the backstories of James T. Kirk and Spock in a futuristic world. As well as being blown away by the visuals and the performances by a gifted cast. It resulted in being one of 2009’s best movies. Despite its flaws, Star Trek into Darkness is a worthy sequel with Benedict Cumberbatch in a menacing portrayal as one of the most menacing villains in the franchise. In Star Trek Beyond, Justin Lin takes out the lens flare and having the movie follow more closely to the show, which Trekkies will likely appreciate.

Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban), Chekov (Anton Yelchin, who died in a car accident last month at the age of 27), Sulu (John Cho), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and the rest of the Enterprise crew are three years into their five-year expedition through space. They are thinking of what they want to do with their lives afterwards. For instance, Kirk wants to be a Vice Admiral of Yorktown while naming Spock as the new captain of the Enterprise. All of a sudden, Krall (Idris Elba) and his crew attack the starship. He’s looking for an artifact that would cost the lives of many. The ship crash lands on an uncharted planet called Altamid. They must find their way off the planet.

As the writer, Simon Pegg (who also plays Scotty) allows Star Trek Beyond to take enough time to build before discovering the planet. The chemistry between Bones and Spock is the biggest focus. While on the Enterprise, Spock has a conflict between his human and Vulcan qualities. Unlike Bones, he cannot express his human emotions well. It’s always a joy to watch them bond. They provide some of the funniest and most poignant moments.

As character-driven as the sequel is, it has the action-fueled energy one would expect from Star Trek or the director. It also features the humor and heart of the adventure. Jaylah (played to perfection by Sofia Boutella) is a great addition to the universe. After voicing Shere Khan in the remake of The Jungle Book, Idris Elba hits out of the park once again as the villain.

Live long and prosper, Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin.

3.5/4

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2015 Summer Movie Review: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) rides a motorcycle again in "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation"

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) rides a motorcycle again in “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”

In 1996, an action hero has been introduced. His name is Ethan Hunt. An agent working for the IMF (Impossible Mission Force); going on one impossible mission after the next. Each mission has been fun despite hitting a few bumps in the road. In Mission: Impossible, he’s a slick, sophisticated agent. Hunt gives a different side in Mission: Impossible II as more of a James Bond playboy. Then he goes back to being the cool agent as he ever was. In Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, he takes part of the most impossible mission of his career.

There is an international threat called the Syndicate. A network of highly skilled operatives setting terrorist attacks who intend to take down the IMF. Meanwhile, CIA director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) stands in front of the judge to disband the IMF. Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team – old pal Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), field agent Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) – join forces with agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) who may or may not be on Syndicate’s side. Their mission – which they accept – is to take down the Syndicate.

Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher, writer of Edge of Tomorrow) provides enough laughs, action, thrills, and exposition into this incredibly ambitious flick. Like before, the movie shows how hard the mission is with things going wrong in the process.

Cruise embraces the action movie role. If you thought Tom Cruise climbing the Burj Khalifa in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was insane, he does plenty more death-defying stunts in Rogue Nation. At one point, Hunt is hanging on the side of cargo plane (which took eight takes). The next point he is swimming underwater – in a quiet and terrifying sequence – without an oxygen tank. He and Dunn drive through Casablanca from motorcyclists. With surprises along the way, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation puts you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Pitch-perfect summer movie entertainment!

4/4

Movie Review: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) climbs the tallest building in the world in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol". Yes, Tom Cruise did his own stunts.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) climbs the tallest building in the world in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”. Yes, Tom Cruise did his own stunts.

Brad Bird, known for his work for The Incredibles and Ratatouille, gives an impressive live-action debut with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. He literally brings the series to a whole new level.

After escaping from a Moscow prison, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) joins his new team of IMF agents – field agent Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), and agent Jane Carter (Paula Patton) – to stop Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist), a Swedish nuclear activist. They enter the Kremlin. Hunt and Dunn hide behind a projector in a hallway to find the archives of Hendricks. Halfway through the mission, a bomb destroys the Kremlin. Hunt is accused of the attack. The President initiates “Ghost Protocol”, which allows the IMF to be disavowed. In order to clear their name, they must track down Hendricks to prevent him from starting a nuclear war.

Out of all of the movies, Ghost Protocol is easily the funniest, the most exciting, and the most entertaining. The scenes in which Hunt climbs the Burj Khalifa (“Your line’s not long enough!” “No shit!”) and chases Hendricks through a sandstorm are action-movie gold. It’s insane how Tom Cruise can do what no other actor can do: performing stunts. Throughout the series, Cruise performed most, if not, all of his own stunts. He’s probably the best action hero. His chemistry with his teammates are excellent, especially with Simon Pegg who have some really funny parts together. The characters have some great back-stories.

This movie actually proves how impossible the mission can be. For instance, when Hunt wears a special type of gloves that can stick to any surface. When the light shines blue, it sticks (Blue = Glue; Red = Dead). His gloves start to malfunction. It makes the scene all the more suspenseful. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is, in my opinion, the best of the series.

4/4