Three Words.

As 2011 draws to a close, I would like to wish my readers and visitors a Happy New Year filled with all blessings and happiness that one could imagine.

I started my blog this year to find a creative outlet to express my views on movies, books, television and travel — things which I am enthusiastic and passionate about and it in turn brought me great joy as more people began to stumble upon my work and read them. But the best part, I think is meeting new friends — fellow bloggers who share my interests which make writing more fun. Thank you all. :)

So, if you are following my blog, or are just visiting —  if you’re reading this at all, welcome to the site and have a brilliant 2012 ahead

10 films I can’t wait to see in 2012

2011 was a great year in films. I actually have a couple of movies I still haven’t watched, truth be told. But 2012 promises to be another year filled with amazing theatrical offerings (a lot of remastered blockbusters such as Titanic, Phantom Menace, Finding Nemo), some remakes, a few risky takes on popular children’s fairy tales (Snow White and the Huntsman, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunter, Jack the Giant Killer), and different presentations of historical figures (J. Edgar, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) — all a fine indication that the film industry is thriving and brimming with ideas to entertain and enthrall its audience.

1. The Hunger Games: In a dystopian society where all the power is concentrated in the Capitol, tributes from Panem’s 12 districts are forced to participate in the annual Hunger Games, enclosed in a special arena where only one victor could emerge alive. District 12 tributes Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) try to defy the odds to survive the sadistic game of death while holding on to their last vestiges of themself . Based on the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (one of my favorite series), the movie is bound to be rife in action, suspense, romance and politics.  Check out the trailer here.

2. We Bought a Zoo:A single parent (Matt Damon) seeking to make a fresh start for his family, buys a property and all the wildlife that goes with it. I’m a sucker for inspirational stories involving animals and the great acting by the humans is but a huge huge bonus. I was hooked the moment I watched the trailer.

3.Brave: Walt Disney introduces a new heroine, Princess Merida, who seeks to change her path, prove her worth and bring honor to her family despite restrictions brought on by male dominated tradition. Think Mulan, but Irish. Watch this trailer and marvel at the sense of adventure.

4. Snow White and the Huntsman: After the success of their movies in 2011, Kristen Stewart (Twilight), and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) star in this modern take on the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Only, take the dwarves out of the equation and replace the prince with a ruggedly handsome huntsman, who helps the princess stage a revolt a la Robin Hood against the evil queen (Charlize Theron). Click here to view the trailer.

5. Coriolanus: A man who leads his country to victory is betrayed by the people whom he served wholeheartedly. Ousted and driven from his home, he joins forces with the enemy to seek vengeance against those who have wronged him. Ralph Fiennes takes on the title role and the director’s seat for this film while Gerard Butler plays his nemesis and eventual ally Tullus Aufidius. Anything that brings together King Leonidas (300) and Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter) gets my seal of approval. Check out this clip from the movie.

6. Chronicle: Three teenagers discover that they have uncanny superhuman powers and decide to record their exploits on film. Things turn sour when one of them begins to abuse his gifts. Shot documentary style like Cloverfield, Chronicle promises to be just as exciting and heart pounding 2008 sleeper hit.

7. The Expendables 2: I’m not a great fan of sequels but with the rep that the first film managed to achieve, I’m all for a new adventure with Sly Stallone and his motley crew of action superstars. The sequel deals with a seemingly new job that Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) offers the crew which goes awry after one of the men is killed in action (wonder who that will be? My guess is Lundgren). This trailer doesn’t give out much but I have faith in the franchise’s awesomeness.

8. The Avengers:  Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) pools together earth’s greatest superheroes to form a team that can protect the planet against evil that mankind cannot manage to defeat on its own. After the success of Marvel releases in previous years, it would be interesting how TV SciFi director and series creator Joss Whedon manages his all star cast of guy’s guys especially when he is more used to dealing with female heroines (Buffy, Angel, Serenity and Dollhouse). For a short dose of superhero fix, click here.

9. Big Miracle: Have I told you how much of a sucker I am for movies with animals? Well, Big Miracle is a story about three giant whales trapped in blocks of ice in Alaska and how a feature story reporter (John Krasinski) and his ex-girlfriend, a Greenpeace volunteer (Drew Barrymore) rally an entire state to save them. The trailer alone had me tearing up.

10. The Dark Knight Rises: In Christopher Nolan’s concluding chapter in the Dark Knight trilogy, a new villain called Bane terrorizes Gotham City and the origins of Selina Kyle (Catwoman) is unraveled. I’ve always been a fan of Nolan’s Batman franchise, despite its brooding approach to the mythos of Batman, one of the most popular DC characters out there. Check out this trailer to get a taste of what’s in store.

My original list was much much longer but these are the best in the bunch. Happy 2012 guys, and thanks for your constant support for my blog.

MMFF Horror Showdown: Segunda Mano vs. Shake Rattle and Roll 13

According to http://www.wikipedia.org, horror as a genre is distinctive from other types of films for its ability to provoke a response, emotional, psychological or physical within each individual that causes someone to react with fear. In order for that response to be elicited there are different techniques used, such as unreal figures, or more real situations and figures such as serial killers. The whole horror genre is built up upon people’s fear of the unknown and anxieties. I would like to use these criteria in which to base my reviews for this year’s horror entries to the Metro Manila Film Festival.

THE LOWDOWN:

Segunda Mano (Second-hand): The first horror outing of RomCom/ drama director Bb. Joyce Bernal deals with a plain antique shop dealer Mabel (horror queen and queen of all media Kris Aquino),  who lost her sister Marie on the beach 20 years prior, and struggles to keep her business afloat support her mother (Helen Gamboa), who, after all these years has not given up on finding her daughter, whose body has not yet been recovered. Mabel finds her life complicated when Ivan (Dingdong Dantes), a man who was abandoned by his wife (Angelica Panganiban) for another man, pursues her and expresses his intention to have her complete his family, together with his daughter. The plot thickens when Mabel finds a bag in her best friend’s secondhand store,  and Mariella (the wife’s) ghost starts to haunt her and her family. But the horror does not stop with the bag as Mariella’s dress and car also pop into Mabel’s life just as the murders begin. So, is Mariella dead (duh), or did she run off with her lover, as what Ivan claimed? And if she was dead, who killed her?

Shake Rattle and Roll 13: On its 13th outing, the Shake Rattle and Roll franchise once again comes out with three horror episodes intended to shake, rattle and roll the audiences out of its wits with mindless horror, as is tradition with the franchise. The first offering is by director Richard Somes entitled Tamawo, which is based on local folklore of half engakanto, half maligno creatures who have been rejected by both heaven and hell and relegated to the woods which they consider their only kingdom. The episode stars the charming Bugoy Cariño as Bikbok, whose family — stepfather Allan (Zanjoe Marudo), blind mother Isay (Maricar Reyes) and his baby brother are transplanted to the province after Allan takes over the former post of his uncle Lando (Ronnie Lazaro) who was believed to be run over by cows, but was in truth murdered by the creatures. The Tamawos start attacking the humans beyond the woods and send a message through Bikbok that they want to retrieve what has been stolen from them (a crystal egg) or all hell will break loose. Bikbok tries to rectify the damage wreaked by the greedy humans at the expense of his own safety. The second story Parola, directed by Jerrold Tarog (who did a great job on last year’s SRR episode Funeraria) deals with two best friends who go up on a lighthouse only to find themselves possessed by two rival witches from the 1800s and being used to fight to the death by the ghosts. The final episode, entitled Rain Rain Go Away directed by Chris Martinez  stars comedian Eugene Domingo in a serious role as the wife of plastics magnate Mar (Jay Manalo), who, in the wake of typhoon Ondoy (which flooded around 80 percent of Metro Manila) experiences supernatural events in their new household.

THE SHOWDOWN:

PLOT AND STORYLINE:

WINNER: This year’s horror entries were a tad disappointing mainly because the filmmakers and producers failed to come up with stories that were original and engaging. Both Segunda Mano and SRR 13 seemed like recycled remakes of Hollywood hits and were concentrated in eliciting cheap thrills instead of building a solid plot and a subsequent twist that would linger in the minds of the audience a la Feng Shui.

In this battle, I  would give the edge to Segunda Mano, because the plot had better structure (although very predictable) and lets face it, Tarog may have done great in last year’s SRR but this year, his  episode did not make any sense at all. It used up its entire time trying to serve up blood and gore that it did not answer the question as to who really started the feud between the two rival witches/ghosts. The last episode Rain Rain Go Away, aside from the very weak title, also revolved around a very weak premise, taking away from the final reveal. Without any ice breakers, the episode was very bleak and depressing, leaving audiences waiting for the entire thing to be over because the twist was so obvious. The only saving grace in the movie was the Tamawo episode, because of the great acting of its cast and excellent make up and effects for the creatures that hit the right spot.

EXECUTION:

WINNER: Horror newbie Joyce Bernal got schooled by SRR on this aspect because of a.) poorly executed death scenes, b.) poorly executed haunting scenes, c.) lack of blood and gore. This is horror, after all and its not just the number of shrieks you get that count. Bernal made the mistake of focusing on the establishment of (both) hauntings, that she inadvertedly gave the twist away too early in the game.

SPECIAL EFFECTS and MAKE UP:

WINNER: SRR 13 prides itself on its monsters and this year wasn’t any different. In terms of special effects, the old school horror franchise did not slack off. Segunda Mano fared decently in this aspect though, but really, it could have stepped up its game and thought of more creative ways to stage a haunting. Translucent ghosts in limbo? Really?

ACTING:

WINNER: Acting wise, I would say that it would have to be a tie between the two — Kris Aquino’s overanxious look was an excellent foil for Eugene Domingo’s perpetual state of dismay while Bugoy Cariños charming portrayal of a brave young boy who would protect his family at all cost was a great counter to Dingdong Dantes’ psychotic rages. As for the supporting cast, Bangs Garcia was a revelation as she provided comic relief as coñotic best friend to Kris’s character while Maricar Reyes shone in her role as a blind mother, helpless in protecting her children from imminent danger.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:

WINNER: This one goes to Segunda Mano, because it at least got the viewers involved in the story that it had to tell. At times, one would wonder whether or not it was actually a psychological thriller with elements of the supernatural and it did have a lot of loopholes and inconsistencies but overall, it entertained audiences, and injected a bit of fun in the face of supernatural haunting.

SRR 13 should have brought it in this installment, seeing as 13 is one of the most popular and significant numbers in the horror genre. But it chose instead to settle for weak stories that eroded the very foundation of its overall presentation. It should have known better.

CONCLUSION:

Both movies had a lot going for it — great budget, and all star cast but both was on pretty equal footing in not reaching deep enough to bring something new to the table.  Segunda Mano tried to spend too much time establishing its story and injecting decoys that it failed to check on the loopholes of the plot — leading to a  lot of questions (for the more discerning horror fans) like how the ghost’s stuff suddenly materialized when it was clearly with the body? Like how come the ghost was able to speak towards the end when it could have spoken before and given her message to Mabel and made it much more simple? It was also obvious from the beginning who was the murderer so taking too long to move the story along was merely a ploy to eke out moments for Dingdong Dantes for the award.

Shake Rattle and Roll, on the other hand, already had the genre down to a science but somehow, this year’s offering was unoriginal and uncreative and seemed like a halfhearted attempt just to keep the franchise going when it fact it should have taken the lead in dishing out monsters galore and a ton of teenagers being chased by signature folklore creatures. In short, it played safe when it should have pushed the envelope, resulting in a generic and unmemorable horror flick.

Both films are not bad and are passable in their own right. However, they were not fresh and were derailed by their ambition to get one over the other in terms of awards that the essence of horror was diluted by attempts to infuse drama in their stories, dragging out the films instead of moving them forward to a thrilling, horrifying spectacles that it should have been. I say get back to the drawing board, people. This made recent horror The Road  seem like a gem. I wouldn’t call that a compliment.

MMFF Fantasy Face-off: Enteng Ng Ina Mo vs. Panday 2

BOX OFFICE HIT. The crowd lines up to purchase tickets to see MMFF entries.

Christmas day is always a great day for Philippine cinema due to the opening of the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) which showcases entries that have been screened by jurors to qualify for the filmfest. During the last week of every year, Philippine theaters are devoted to showing only Filipino movies that cater to the taste of discerning Pinoy viewers.

Two of the biggest competitors for the award each year are entries by Vic Sotto with his Enteng Kabisote franchise spawned from his former television series entitled Okay Ka Fairy Ko, while Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s counter attack varies with his two action fantasy franchises — Agimat and Panday (Blacksmith). This year, Vic Sotto’s Enteng joins forces with another box office giant Ina Montecillo (Ai Ai delas Alas) of Ang Tanging Ina to entertain both the young and the old. Meanwhile, Revilla chose to field this year another journey by Flavio and his magical sword in Ang Panday 2.

THE LOWDOWN:

Enteng ng Ina Mo: In the fifth installment of the Enteng Kabisote franchise, Enteng, a repair shop owner who is married to fairy princess Faye, the heiress to the throne of the magical kingdom called Engkantasya, is finally getting used to peace and quiet in his household (after four previous adventures) when his wife is called upon to take the throne after her mother Ina Magenta, is held captive by the evil fairy Satana, who wants to take control of the kingdom. The villainess, while trying to sabotage Engkantasya and Faye’s reign, puts Enteng under a spell and he falls in love with Ina Montecillo, the former president of the Philippines and widowed mother of 12 children from four different marriages. As the two develop feelings for each other, Satana learns of a prophecy that her plans will not proper because of the intervention of an extraordinary mother — Ina Montecillo and the fight to protect the kingdom and the Kabisote and Montecillo families ensue.

Panday 2: After Flavio, the Panday (Blacksmith) defeats the evil Lizardo in the first movie, the powerful villain is revived by the witch Baruha and he once again lays siege to the towns to search of Maria, Flavio’s betrothed, who also happens to be the daughter of the queen of the forest fairies. Lizardo succeeds in his goal of capturing the maiden and seeping her powers, regaining his strength and growing more powerful. Meanwhile, Flavio becomes too caught up in the the power of the sword that he begins to lose sight of his true goal as the one  chosen to wield the sword to uphold justice and peace. He also discovers that the beautiful woman he often dreams about is his trusty dragon friend Bagwis — whose true name is Arlana, a member of the Ragona tribe (humans who have the ability to take the form of dragons), who also happens to be in love with him.

The FACEOFF:

PLOT AND STORYLINE: 

WINNER: I give this to Enteng ng Ina Mo. No question about it. The story was fairly simple and easy to follow despite the fact that the filmmakers needed to balance out both elements of the two mega franchises of Enteng Kabisote and Ang Tanging Ina. They managed to achieve the proper division of exposure and integrating aspects of the two movies seamlessly.

Sad to say, this was not the case for Panday 2. As with the first movie, the filmmakers tried to do too much and introduce too many elements to the film that were often unncessary and served only to prolong the movie without any real impact. There were many scenes that they could have done without especially those that brought back characters from the first movie that they must have felt would add consistency with the two chapters. Well, it didn’t work.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: 

WINNER: I would have to declare a tie as both films chose excellent locations to film the movies. The shots were also well thought out. Panday had the artsier angles and the grittier backdrop while Enteng Kabisote had the paradise scene down pat.

SPECIAL EFFECTS: 

WINNER: Both films had excellent CGI but Panday slightly edges out Enteng in terms of fluidity and texturing. My complaint though is that the characters are eerily similar to Hollywood figures from the dragon in Harry Potter and the Kraken in Clash of the Titans. Some originality would be awesome.

Enteng, on the other hand, provided the more animated version of characters since its target market is clearly children. It employed vivid colors and goofy looking characters, mostly animal-inspired to catch the interest of the viewers. Not a bad effort.

PROPS AND SETTING: 

WINNER: Another hands down victory for Enteng Kabisote on this front as the costume designs were well thought out and executed. It was obvious that the production wanted to do the elaborate costumes to add to the overall feel of the movie and they succeeded in doing so, raising the quality of their final outcome. Their setting was also better lighted and better set up than Panday’s dungeons recycled from Part 1.

I was fairly disappointed by how elaborate the CGI and effects was for Panday 2, but how cheap and fake the costumes and the props looked for the rest of the movie. The armor for the townspeople were made to look like wood but were in truth made of rubber matting or cardboard, as were their weapons. The costumes of the Ragona tribe were, in my opinion better suited for merpeople rather than dragonpeople and the rest of their equipment were also — you guessed it, rubber. In my opinion, the props looked like projects for art class rather than those made for the movies.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 

WINNER: Enteng Kabisote takes the cake for entertainment value mainly because it kept audiences engaged for the entire movie. There was a variety of phases to the movie and the transitions were also very good, getting the viewers involved in whatever the Montecillos or the Kabisotes are going through with each segment. The comedic timing of the two lead stars, along with the supporting cast made the entire movie a riot from beginning to end, from the real world to the kingdom of Engkantasya to the spoofs of different blockbuster movies that audiences more than related to.

While Panday had its moments, the film made the grave mistake of taking itself too seriously, its presentation unsure of whether it was targeting kids (as it was marketed) or the jurors to reap acting awards. The pacing was slow at best and the story was all over the place. For a film that presented itself as an action adventure, there were minimal adventure scenes that awed and amazed viewers, but there was a lot of dialogue, too much perhaps that some of the viewers were getting a bit restless. Considering the first movie, I felt this was a bit bet better but only slightly.

ACTING: 

WINNER: All of the actors cast for each movie did great so I would say this one’s a tie.

CONCLUSION: 

WINNER: In my honest opinion, Enteng Kabisote is the winner of this fantasy face-off. It served up the laughs without compromising the different facets of the movie — it was able to deliver on the drama aspects and make the transition without being awkward and it was able to sell the partnership of two blockbuster hits in one movie. And mostly, it did not compromise on the final output of the movie, making sure that from beginning to the blooper reel, the audiences will not regret paying for their tickets.

Panday was not a bad film per se, but its main failing perhaps, was that it was not clear on what it hoped to achieve at the end of the movie. It focused its strength entirely on the special effects and the CGI to be at par with Hollywood that it forgot to check for the quality of other facets of the movie — wardrobe, props, script and whether or not the plot would appeal to its target audience, leading to a lot of inconsistencies and unnecessary scenes that drew out the movie, thus compromising quality over bravado when both should be of equal importance. The filmmakers and producers should understand that CGI and effects are only one part of the movie — there is still the total output to think about.

Best of 2011 Poll: Fan Favorites

2011 has been a year of great movies, from original releases to sequels — from action to drama, to animation, to just about anything. This year has been jam packed with films that fans have been dying to see and boy, did they troop to the cinemas in full force.

Compiling this list of choices has not been easy as I too, have tried to be objective about which movies should be nominated for each category. The categories in itself are unlike those that are given by award giving bodies, but those that fans, moviegoers and film buffs like you appreciate in taking in these movies. Some of you would notice that there are no local (Filipino) releases included in the choices. That’s because I have a separate poll coming within the week after I have watched (and reviewed) movies entered in the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival.

Feel free to sound off at the comments section if you feel that I have forgotten to include your favorites on the list. I am, after all human and not prone to overlooking some details. Your comments will be more than welcome. So without much ado, welcome to the Best of 2011 Poll: Fan Favorites which will be open from Dec. 24-31 at 12 pm. Winners will be posted on the afternoon of the 31st while I will blog about my personal favorites on the 1st of January. Vote wisely! This is bound to be a doozy :) Happy holidays everyone!

Country Strong: A Belated Review

Gwyneth Paltrow stars in this romantic drama as troubled country superstar Kelly Canter, who hits rock bottom and gets checked in to rehab after losing her baby to an accident when she performed drunk on a Dallas stage. Real life country superstar and multiple Grammy winner Tim McGraw takes on the role of her husband/manager James, whom, because of grief and disappointment over the direction his wife’s life has taken, comes across as a controlling heartless bastard. Garrett Hedlund (Tron Legacy) stars as Kelly’s paramour and confidante Beau, whose concern for the fallen superstar prods him to go on tour with her as her opening act and Leighton Meester rounds up the cast as Chiles Stanton,  a young beauty queen who is being groomed to be the country star’s  successor.

I’m not really big on country music or Gwyneth Paltrow for that matter but I must admit that after seeing this film and witnessing the talent of these actors as they take on the stage like professionals, I now have a finer appreciation for how great country music is. Garrett Hedlund is super charming and is very confident on stage that it would come as no surprise if he truly enjoyed performing in real life. His grin as he sings is infectious and his voice has a distinctive timbre that could actually work in the country circuit. I initially thought that Leighton’s character would turn out to be scheming bitch whose ambition would drive her to do horrible things to sabotage the tour but to my great surprise, Chiles was 100 percent a good girl in this film, with no trace of Blair Waldorf’s arrogance or penchant for mischief whatsoever. Her performance on stage was a bit awkward and her voice better suited for pop rather than country but Leighton still made it work. Actually, the chemistry between her and Garret was so strong that there were times that I forgot that they were merely secondary characters.

I got a kick out of watching Tim McGraw starring in a country film about music and not even lifting a guitar to strum some tunes. However, he gave justice his role as a frustrated husband/ manager who is caught between wanting his wife to be the person he fell in love with and wanting what’s best for her career. Gwyneth played drunk for half of the film but in the times that she had her moments, she had them and sold them.

The best thing about this drama, in my opinion, is the soundtrack. I could not wait to get my hands on the album because the songs were just awesome. I think that the tracks in this soundtrack were way better than the songs that Leighton performed prior and she may have a future singing these types of songs once her run on Gossip Girl ends.

All in all, Country Strong was a great movie. It struck a balance between the drama and the music and turned up solid performances both acting-wise and musically from its four main stars. There might be some storylines that could have ended better but the final outcome was a good conclusion so no complaints from this end.

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol: A Review

Three awesome Mission Impossible movies should have been enough to close the movie trilogy but Tom Cruise feels confident that the franchise has enough juice to up the stakes with Ethan Hunt at the helm of yet another mission to save the world from utter destruction. I could almost hear Cruise laughing his way to the bank as this latest adventure paid off in spades for the MI team which includes director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouile) and JJ Abrams (as co-producer).

After Ethan Hunt marries his fiancee Julia in the third movie, the movie opens with a new team of IMF agents Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), the former IMF technician from the third movie and Jane Carter (Paula Patton) breaking Hunt out of a Russian prison for allegedly killing Serbian hit squad  for the unexplained death of his wife. He receives a new mission, this time to stop a nuclear extremist known as Cobalt from launching missiles that could wipe out mankind in his goal to attain world peace. In order to do so, Hunt, together with his new team must infiltrate the Kremlin to intercept vital information that could lead them to Cobalt and prevent him from realizing his goal. When an explosion hits The Kremlin, the incident is pinned on Ethan and his team and the President of the United States is forced to activate Ghost Protocol,  a secret operation which disavows the entire IMF in case their agents are caught by the enemy. After receiving instructions from the secretary to discreetly get to the bottom of the matter, the secretary is killed and Ethan finds himself saddled with another member of his team, analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), who harbors secrets of his own.

Ghost Protocol was an enjoyable ride in its own right. It remained faithful to the original television series on which it was based and paid tribute to the franchise from the beginning of the opening credits. The movie was action packed, as what was expected from the previous films and has great humor provided by British comedian Simon Pegg (Shawn of the Dead, Hot Fuzz). There was also a wealth of great action stunts and close calls that has become the trademark of the franchise —  this time in Russia and Dubai at the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa. And consistent with the MI 3, there was a lot of chase scenes and running on the part of the film’s lead star Tom Cruise.

Ethan Hunt scales the Burj Khalifa to get to the server room and gain access to the building's system

What I liked about the movie was that there was a certain vulnerability to each of the characters and although they were portrayed as the creme of the crop in their field of work, the film showed that they were not exempt from failure, and that they too have to wrestle with their personal demons.

The flow of the story was  good as there was a certain balance to successes and failures that the team experienced throughout their journey to save the world from annhilation. There was also a great continuity with the previous movies due to cameos of stars who have appeared in the earlier films towards the end of the film.

The main problem I found with the film was that story in itself was not very original. Frankly, I felt like while there were a lot of cool gadgets on display, the stunts were mere rehashes of stunts that have already been done in previous movies. While executed nicely, the film still suffers in comparison to most hard core action offerings released recently (The Expendables, Taken). It even suffers in comparison to its predecessors, which served up many great and memorable moments like Cruise’s Close Call scene in where he was hanging from the ceiling as he tried to copy the NOC file, with sweat starting to drip from his brow (which he catches in time before it landed on the floor). Ghost Protocol was good movie, but it lacked a certain swagger that it should have been waving around to sustain the momentum it gained from the first three movies. It seemed to me that it was holding back rather than pushing forward to bring the franchise to new heights.

All in all, Ghost Protocol was well worth the money audiences shell out to see it on the big screen. There was great acting and a good execution of the scenes but the team could have done better, in my opinion. Perhaps, the audiences (myself included) may have been expecting too much but after the success of the franchise, I guess it was to be expected.