Tag Archives: Jeremy Renner

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Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) 3.29/5 (4)

 

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Rating: The Good – 68.4
Genre: Action
Duration: 133 mins
Director: Brad Bird
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg

Tom Cruise takes charge of his IMF team on its fourth cinematic outing and despite its watery plot, there’s enough thrills and cleverly worked out set pieces to justify its existence. Joined by Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Paula Patton as he tracks down a “nuclear terrorist” bent on destroying most of the world, this adventure whisks us around the near east from Moscow to Dubai to India in one breathless sequence after another. Brad Bird’s installment isn’t going to incur much in the way of second or third viewings but the cast are just engaging enough to compensate for yet another generic bad guy and over-familiar plot. One would think the impossible mission scenario would offer a variety of jeopardising circumstances and, to be fair, such is the tradition since De Palma’s original big screen adaptation (and before). However, the plot to this one was grabbed straight off the shelf marked “Stock Plot: 21st Century Action Movie”. What’s even more unforgivable is that despite the franchise’s history of wonderfully colourful and nefarious bad guys – from John Voight’s reptilian traitor to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s terrifying arms dealer – writers Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec serve up an even blander villain. Ultimately that, even more than the story, is the great let down here. Thankfully, a back to form Cruiser is on hand to elevate things and his scaling of the world’s tallest building not to mention the accompanying caper set inside it is a peach.

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The Town (2010) 3.57/5 (2)

 

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Rating: The Good – 69.7
Genre: Crime
Duration: 118 mins
Director: Ben Affleck
Screenplay: Ben Affleck, Peter Craig
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner

Ben Affleck’s follow up to his excellent debut Gone Baby Gone is not as good as that film but its nonetheless a thoroughly entertaining and original heist movie set in an area of Boston remarkable for its preponderance of bank-robbers. Affleck and Renner are excellent as the hardcore thieves with the latter being particularly watchable in the scenes he’s given. Rebecca Hall is fine if a little dull as the conflicted love interest while salty dogs Chris Cooper and the late Pete Posthelwaite add some extra grit where needed. Affleck proves yet again he can keep an audience engrossed for 120 minutes and he also proves a dab hand at the action scenes (although the scene where the two men run a gang of hoods out of town seemed crow-barred in for the sake of needless action). Despite some very minor issues and the overt soppiness of the final scene, The Town is a worthy addition to the crime genre.

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The Hurt Locker (2008) 4/5 (2)

 

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Rating: The Good – 75.8
Genre: War, Drama
Duration: 131 mins
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty

Kathryn Bigelow had already proven her action chops with the brilliant Point Break so she was always a good candidate to direct a film about a bomb disposal unit in Iraq. However, in The Hurt Locker she and writer Mark Boal take a more pensive approach and focus on the mental battlefield that the soldiers fight internally. Think The Thin Red Line without all the monologues or broad sweeping references to nature and you’ve got the idea. For the most part, it works thanks to the compelling performance of Jeremy Renner as the ace explosives disarmer who is addicted to the rush he gets from his job. The film follows him and the two other men of his unit, the equally excellent Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty, as they are called to disarm a variety of devices. However, the unnecessary danger that he puts himself and those around him in strains relations between him and his men resulting in a few close calls, both professional and personal.

Bigelow effectively contrasts the lulls and boredom of downtime with the fear and tension of battle and her handling of the latter scenes is especially fantastic. One scene in particular where Renner and Mackie’s characters coordinate their efforts against a sniper threat under a baking hot desert sun works beautifully. However, despite the plaudits this film received, there are problems. Boal based this film on a series of Vanity Fair articles and unfortunately he never really stepped back far enough from that source material to tie them together into a single story driven by a discernible plot. As such, the story comes across as a fascinating collection of anecdotes. Furthermore, their attempt to engender the proceedings with a sense of purpose towards the end comes off as rather clumsy with Renner’s character inexplicably getting involved in a couple of incidents that ultimately bear no consequence to the rest of the sequences. That said, because the individual sequences are such a treat to watch and the acting is universally first class, The Hurt Locker remains a richly entertaining experience.


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