American Made: It’s Just Fine

Sure it’s based on a true story which sets some limits, but a change of pace here and there would have been much appreciated.

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This is the story of Barry Seal (played by Tom Cruise), a tired TWA pilot recruited by CIA agent ‘Schafer’ (Domhnall Gleeson) to run reconnaissance flights in Central and South America. Over the course of the movie Seal evolves into gun runner, drug smuggler for the Medellin cartel, and informant for the DEA. Through all this Barry and his wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) raise a family and contribute to their community. As you can imagine, juggling so many jobs, things start to fall apart.

You’d hope that a film starring Tom Cruise and directed by Doug Liman (responsible for such action-packed flicks like The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Jumper, Fair Game, and Edge of Tomorrow) would have some excitement and good action. Especially if that movie is about a guy simultaneously working for the CIA, DEA and Escobar. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there was a lot lacking in terms of pace, excitement and much emotion of any kind. I left the cinema not really filming anything, but not quite feeling like it had been a waste of time.

The story is an interesting one and the actors play the characters well, there’s even a few decent laughs thrown in; but the film itself had no dynamics, it seemed to sit at the same level throughout. I can’t fault the actors for their portrayal, they were smart and most importantly believable; especially Sarah Wright as the wife, she was often skeptical of her husbands behaviour and was pretty vocal about it until he told her the truth.

More than likely it’s the script that has no flavour and lacks the changes in pace to make this film a little more intriguing. Unfortunately, in this case the story of Barry Seal has been narrated, but not really told.

Still better than The Mummy though….

[The Vault] Spooks : The Greater Good (2015)

For anyone not familiar with the series, Spooks was a wonderfully gritty espionage drama on the BBC, which ran from 2002 to 2011. The show was widely praised for its polished, sleek production, together with its shocking story lines. This was a show not afraid to display graphic violence, or kill off a main character. Things did taper off as the series reached it conclusion, but the shows peak in the earlier seasons are most definitely worth a watch online!

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Spooks: The Greater Good takes place after the events of the show. Sir Harry Pearce (Peter Firth), the long standing head of counter terrorism at MI5, has to disappear off the grid. Following the failed attempt at transferring terror suspect Qasim (Elyes Gable,) over to the CIA. Harry suspects that it was an inside job at MI5, and relies on the assistance of Holloway (Kit Harington), a former MI5 agent, to find out the truth.

Although there are a few minor appearances from some of the cast from the show, The Greater Good focuses mainly on new allies and antagonists. Kit Harington is the main star of the film, but it feels like he was simply cast in this, to ride the wave of his tremendous popularity from his Game of Thrones work. He does a credible job, but he does not elude the aura of an action hero, well not yet anyway!  Our villain never really feels like a threat, you don’t really see what he has done before, or why we should be afraid of him.  He just does not feel intimating at all!

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The plot is your standard ‘The Mole’ story line you have seen in many Spy movies from before. If you enjoy espionage movies, this has all the enjoyable troupes. Shady meetings in car parks, chases, interrogation and explosions! If you’re a fan of the show, you may admire the connection it has to the series, but if you have no idea what Spooks is, you’ll have a difficult time bothering to care about what’s going on!

It’s clear to see the budget for the movie was not huge, and the BBC sheen is obviously missing. The TV version felt so real, and raw. Here, it just feels like a generic movie. But it makes the most of what it can, and there are several famous locations in London that feature throughout. As some who live in London, it’s always nice to see places you recognize in a movie!

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Harry is by far the most interesting part of the movie. He is a character who has been beaten by years of service, and having to suffer all the tough decisions he has had to make, and it’s nice to see him away from his desk & suit, and getting his hands well and truly dirty. The rest of the cast are not very memorable. David Harewood brings some gravitas to his role as Warrender, the head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, other than that, not much else to report!

Spooks: The Greater Good is in no way a bad movie, but it suffers from a bland storyline and simply just not feeling as real as the show. Though at just over 1:30, it’s a perfectly decent movie to watch if you got some time on hand, and like your espionage!

3 word review: For Fans Only

 

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