I really wanted this movie to blow me away. It didn't, but
I still don't thik it was a waste of time and/or money. I did
spill nacho cheese on my shoes on the way into the theater as
I was trying to juggle nachos, drink, and ticket stub, but such
John Woo directed this movie. Don't worry if you forget that;
he'll remind you every opportunity he gets. Seriously, the movie
is stylized to the point where sometimes it seems like a very
long trailer. Woo wanted to make an action film that was pretty.
I found it a very visually appealing movie. Many times I was
just sitting with my mouth agape over the artistry over which
the different shots were constructed. Composition is evidently
very important here, and every few minutes you're handed a real
Of course, sitting in the middle of all this violence-as-surrealism
(and forgive me from straying from the Joe Six-Pack mindset
here, but I'm referring to surrealism as a direct connection
between images and the base cortex of the brain the way dreams
grab hold of you, and not surrealism in the context of the "Why
did the chicken cross the road?" "Frothy!" silly nonsensical
sense of the word) is a scientologist ferret by the name of
Tom Cruise. He doesn't really drag the movie down, but he just
seems to be the center of attention for too many scenes. A couple
of times during the movie I entertained myself by trying to
piece together a chain of events that would end with him in
this super-secret spy thriller in Australia, but began with
his character in Risky Business.
Please understand, in order to clear the deck for Woo's creation
of pretty scenes, the plot had to get watered down to the point
of being the cinematic equivalent of broth. Everything is determined
in the first ten minutes of the movie, and after that you're
just along for the ride, like a roller coaster. The sequence
of events is locked in place, it's just going to be a sensory
assult on the way there.
The heroine was one of those creepy-big-eyed girls that you
might see on velvet paintings of crying clowns, so not even
the bombshell was allowed to get in the way of the directing.
I guess that was a good thing. I didn't want to be distracted
from the action-ballet, so not getting someone too pretty was
a tactical move again on Woo's part.
I wouldn't urge people to see this in theaters, except for
the fact that a lot of the reason for seeing this movie (well,
the only reason, I guess) is going to be lost on the small screen.
If you want to lower your expectations, you'd probably really
enjoy this film.