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Friday, May 12, 2006


So I know a lot of people are boycotting this movie, but, to paraphrase David Puddy, "gotta support the family." (For those who don't know, Isaac has a close connection to Paramount.) And on Tuesday night, Mrs. Bartender and I went to see Mr. Cruise's latest vehicle as we had an opportunity for someone to watch Isaac, Jr. This post will not discuss Mrs. Holmes, Suri, or Scientology, and is limited to the plot or problems thereof of the film. In addition, the post is filled with SPOILERS.

First, the film was certainly entertaining with some very exciting scenes--I most enjoyed the one at the Vatican. The more I thought about it (I realize this was a mistake), however, the more the plot simply made no sense. (I am not going to discuss the complete distortion of geography in the DC area (e.g., driving over the Potomac into DC only to wind up in Virginia or having a shoot out on, what appeared to be, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which is located outside of Norfolk and is 3 hours from DC but getting to DC in a few minutes.) I also won't touch the physical impossibility of what Tom Cruise manages to do (whether jump from one building to another or manage to get the bad guy with a final burst of strength) or to train his wife in 10 seconds to become an expert with a firearm.)

Just as a start, I want to be clear about the motivation of the bad guys:

Owen Davian (PSH) is a weapons dealer and wants to sell the "rabbit's foot" for $850 million. As becomes apparent, he does not have this weapon, however, despite his attempt to sell it. (We'll come back to this.)

Musgrave (Billy Crudup) is working with Davian. Leaving aside his little speech at the end, we have to assume he is corrupt and in complete alignment with Davian.

So what makes no sense:

1. Farris (Felicity) is sent to get Davian and is captured. It is a little unclear (and I may have forgotten a line or two here) but I have to assume that Brassel (Fishburne) had a role in this b/c why would Musgrave want to send someone to get Davian if they are in cahoots? Of course, Musgrave is running the operation, so I guess his picking the inexperienced Farris makes sense except for Brassel's seeming obsession about Davian. Wouldn't you send you best? I can live with this all, however.

2. Why then does Musgrave bring back Hunt to rescue Farris? I assume Musgrave clued Davian into the rescue mission, but one would have thought they would have been more prepared for the attack. If Musgrave didn't clue in Davian, why didn't he? Compared to what comes next, this is still small potatoes.

3. After Davian is rescued, the plot goes completely haywire. Obviously, Davian knows the rabbit's foot is in Shanghai (as Musgrave sends Hunt there to get it)--why does he need Hunt to get it for him? This makes no sense. One would think that if he were already brokering a deal to sell the thing, he would have had a plan about how to obtain it. (To make the entire movie an elaborate plot by Davian and Musgrave to lure Hunt into doing it just makes no sense.) But he doesn't, it seems. In fact, he acts as if he doesn't know where it is when he tells Hunt he must find it. This seems a wee bit strange--now I'm not a professional arms broker, but I would think if I sold something for $850 million that I didn't have, I would have a problem.

4. Why have the IMF think that Hunt is a rogue agent (other than it being a traditional movie device). Does Brassel really think this? Why? And if it's Musgrave, why would he want this to happen. If he wants to use Hunt to get the rabbit's foot, isn't it easier just to give him a new mission to do so or just help him achieve it? Why go through this elaborate charade where Tom needs to escape, etc.?

5. Why did JJ Abrams decide not to show how Hunt actually obtains the rabbit's foot? I thought this was going to lead to a development where Hunt had actually pulled a trick and we would later see what he had done, but we did not. This was very strange.

6. After Hunt got the rabbit's foot and gave it to Davian, why did Davian bother torturing Hunt/his wife (and why the fake wife? why would he care if killed the real wife). I guess he wanted to confirm that Hunt didn't pull a switcheroo, but again one would think that Davian would have been able to test the stuff and then could have tortured him/her if he knew it was a fake.

Am I missing something here? On the last two points, I remain convinced that at some point they wanted to do a switcheroo story but for perhaps budgetary reasons didn't.

And yet with all of this, I still enjoyed the movie. Watching Tom run was alone worth the price of admission.



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