WELL, THAT HAPPENED: Cruising altitude

By on August 4, 2015

Don’t hate on the Cruise ship of Hollywood

Just another day for Tom Cruise, running on a plane sans harness. (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

Just another day for Tom Cruise, running on a plane sans harness. (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

Jackson, WY – When a movie series like “Mission: Impossible” releases its fifth film (a fourth sequel that no one really asked for) you can’t expect too much substance to fill the two-hour void. Perhaps you’re in store for a convoluted plot with predictable twists, some familiar faces and a few riffs on the previous films, all peppered with a smattering of explosions, bullet dodging and quirky quips. But what’s so astonishing about “Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation” is its ability to constantly surprise.

The trailers did an admirable job of showcasing just enough plot without revealing every single major action sequence, unlike those for “Jurassic World.” In addition to the action, a great gaggle of supporting actors round out the film including the Katharine Hepburn look-alike Rebecca Ferguson, who plays a mysterious undercover agent named Inez, and the scene-stealing joy that is Simon Pegg playing Benji. But the most jaw dropping element is that star Tom Cruise is utterly irresistible and such a pleasure to watch.

Now, it’s easy to rag on Cruise. His reputation with Scientology has persisted in the news for years and was most predominantly featured in the HBO documentary “Going Clear,” based on the book by Lawrence Wright. Cruise kind of comes off as the smarmy brother-in-law that arrives at Thanksgiving with terrible wine and even worse jokes. You’d shoot side glances at your sister as if to say, “Seriously?” And she’d shrug and say, “Oh, that’s just how he is sometimes.” But I digress.

Despite the dude’s personal life, the Tom Cruise ship has barely wavered off course since his “Top Gun” days. Even though we’ve been subjected to the slosh like “Knight and Day,” in which Cruise and Cameron Diaz bumble their way through a bad script and clunky action, and the painfully mediocre “Jack Reacher,” Cruise at the ripe age of 53 (!!!) has not slowed down his pace. Two of his recent films, “Oblivion” and “End of Tomorrow,” are now considered two of the best original sci-fi films of the recent decade.

It’s fascinating to see a man so unabashedly in love with Hollywood, especially since most all of the films he works on are so entertaining and damn good to boot. He’s also an actor who takes risks, as seen with his portrayal of Les Grossman in “Tropic Thunder,” where he donned a fat suit, some gold jewelry and swore like a sailor. On top of it all, Cruise does a number of his own stunts many of which are mind-blowingly featured in the latest “Mission Impossible.”

If you’re reading this you’re probably wondering why I am fanboying on an actor who many consider to be a slimeball. Personally, I can easily distinguish the creep from the action star, because I don’t give a crap about Cruise’s personal life. And I’m sure he’s thankful for that. Who cares what happened between him and Nicole Kidman? Can’t we respect a man for what he wants us to respect him for?

In a perfect world, we could all go see a Cruise flick and we’d by none the wiser as to what happens when the cameras turn off. Like in old Hollywood, the actors were only known for their work as actors. Their private lives remained private (Rock Hudson). I’d much rather have us all get off Cruise’s back and let the man entertain us as he clearly loves to do.

So, world, your mission should you choose to accept it is to see Tom Cruise in “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.” It’s easily one of the best films in an increasingly awesome series, and it features America’s best action hero in top form. Your criticisms will self-destruct in 132 minutes. PJH

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