Mission Impossible III

  • Directors: J J Abrams
  • Producers: Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner
  • Writers: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, J J Abrams
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Billy Crudup, Laurence Fishburne, Maggie Q, Simon Pegg, Keri Russell, Eddie Marsan

Six years after the events of Mission: Impossible II, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has retired from being an IMF team leader, instead opting for a quiet life with his fiancée Julia (Michelle Monaghan), a hospital nurse. During their engagement party, Ethan receives a call from his old friend John Musgrave (Billy Crudup), who provides him with a disposable camera. After viewing a video hidden in the camera, he finds out Musgrave wants him to rescue Agent Lindsey Farris (Keri Russell), Ethan’s protégé, who has been captured in Berlin by Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a prominent dealer in the international black market. He reluctantly agrees to participate in the mission and meets the team which has been selected for him, consisting of Declan Gormley (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Zhen Lei (Maggie Q), and his old partner, Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames).

The team assaults an enemy stronghold in Berlin and extracts Agent Farris successfully, who had been taped to a chair, but she dies during their escape when an explosive capsule placed inside her head detonates. After Lindsey’s funeral, Ethan is notified of a “package” sent to him by Lindsey, and discovers that it is a microdot hidden in a blank postcard. Ethan discusses its possible importance with Luther and both decide to keep its existence a secret.

Back at headquarters, Ethan is congratulated for his heroic actions, and then leaves for his honeymoon with Julia, with the blessing of his applauding teammates and promises for another mission which the White House is keen to contact him about. Ethan isn’t sure whether or not he’s going to retire, but promises to think about it and Brassel promises to tell him what the Rabbit’s Foot really is if he does come back.

Death Race

  • Directors: Paul W S Anderson
  • Producers: Paul W S Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Roger Corman, Paula Wagner
  • Writers: Paul W S Anderson
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Tyrese Gibson, Ian McShane, Natalie Martinez

The United States of America, 2012: The imprisoned population is so vast that private companies are hired to contain them. In Terminal Island Prison, “Death Race”, a gladiator-like fight-to-the-end competition is held to raise funds.

The film begins six months before by showing a race near its end. Machine Gun Joe (Tyrese Gibson) and a famous masked driver known as Frankenstein (original Death Race 2000 star David Carradine) engage in a bloody battle in which Frankenstein wins, but at the cost of heavy injuries and eventually death. Six months later, Jensen Ames (Jason Statham), an ex-racecar driver, is framed for his wife’s murder. Ames is sent to Terminal Island Prison where he immediately becomes enemies with an Aryan brotherhood gang, led by Pachenko (Max Ryan). He is taken to Hennessey (Joan Allen) who tells him that the gang will kill him without her help. Thus he is coerced by the warden to become the new driver of late Frankenstein’s car. The warden tells Ames that she knows about his baby daughter left in foster care. She also states that prisoners are freed upon winning five Death Races, but since the legendary Frankenstein had 4 wins at the time of his death, he would only require a single win. He agrees to race.

In the third stage, Joe and Ames must race one final time to the winner. Prior to the race Hennessey has a bomb planted under Frankenstein’s car, and then manipulates the race to favor Joe. However, her plans are ruined when Joe and Ames escape. Hennessey sends all her police force in pursuit and succeeds in capturing Frankenstein’s car. However, Ames had escaped from his car leaving his navigator, Case, dressed up in his costume, however Case has already received her walking papers. Joe and Ames hitch a ride and escape to Miami. Meanwhile, using the bomb from Frankenstein’s car, Coach kills both Hennessey and Ulrich, then turns to the camera and breaks the fourth wall, saying, “I love this game”. Six months later, Ames has his daughter back and Joe is working on living a clean life free of crime. As the two work on a car in their new home, a car pulls up and Case steps out to join the two..

Death Race 2000

  • Directors: Paul W S Anderson
  • Producers: Paul W S Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Roger Corman, Paula Wagner
  • Writers: Paul W S Anderson
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Sport
  • Actors: Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Tyrese Gibson, Ian McShane, Natalie Martinez

The United States of America, 2012: The imprisoned population is so vast that private companies are hired to contain them. In Terminal Island Prison, “Death Race”, a gladiator-like fight-to-the-end competition is held to raise funds.

The film begins six months before by showing a race near its end. Machine Gun Joe (Tyrese Gibson) and a famous masked driver known as Frankenstein (original Death Race 2000 star David Carradine) engage in a bloody battle in which Frankenstein wins, but at the cost of heavy injuries and eventually death. Six months later, Jensen Ames (Jason Statham), an ex-racecar driver, is framed for his wife’s murder. Ames is sent to Terminal Island Prison where he immediately becomes enemies with an Aryan brotherhood gang, led by Pachenko (Max Ryan). He is taken to Hennessey (Joan Allen) who tells him that the gang will kill him without her help. Thus he is coerced by the warden to become the new driver of late Frankenstein’s car. The warden tells Ames that she knows about his baby daughter left in foster care. She also states that prisoners are freed upon winning five Death Races, but since the legendary Frankenstein had 4 wins at the time of his death, he would only require a single win. He agrees to race.

In the third stage, Joe and Ames must race one final time to the winner. Prior to the race Hennessey has a bomb planted under Frankenstein’s car, and then manipulates the race to favor Joe. However, her plans are ruined when Joe and Ames escape. Hennessey sends all her police force in pursuit and succeeds in capturing Frankenstein’s car. However, Ames had escaped from his car leaving his navigator, Case, dressed up in his costume. Joe and Ames hitch a ride and escape to Miami. Meanwhile, using the bomb from Frankenstein’s car, Coach kills both Hennessey and Ulrich. Six months later, Ames has his daughter back and Joe is working on living a clean life free of crime. As the two work on a car in their new home, a car pulls up and Case steps out to join the two.

Mission Impossible II

  • Directors: John Woo
  • Producers: Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner
  • Writers: Screenplay, Robert Towne, Story, Ronald D Moore, Brannon Braga
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Ving Rhames

While working at Biocyte, an Australian company, Nekhorvich, a Russian scientist, is forced to develop a deadly bioweapon named “Chimera” which lies dormant in its host for twenty hours after infection, but then rapidly causes the body’s red blood cells to disintegrate and cause hemorrhaging and death while becoming highly infectious. At the same time, Nekhorvich has developed a potent counter-agent, “Bellerophon” to stop the effects of Chimera while in incubation. Nekhorvich realizes he must expose Biocyte’s research, and contacts his old friend Ethan Hunt, whom he refers to as “Dmitri”, to help assist him to reach the U.S. Government; in order to transfer Chimera, Nekhorvich uses his own body as a petri dish and makes sure he can reach the United States within 20 hours of departure to ensure he’s in time to administer Bellerophon. However, as he and Hunt cross the Rocky Mountains on a passenger plane, the captain—Hugh Stamp—claims that there is a drop in cabin pressure and releases the oxygen masks, and the rest of the crew and passengers are anesthetized due to an NO2 tank being supplemented to the oxygen mask air supply, and “Hunt” reveals himself to be Sean Ambrose, another IMF agent, who then breaks Nekhorvichs’ neck and takes the briefcase containing his research. Ambrose and the rest of his team jump from the plane before it crashes, killing all those aboard.

Hunt and his team kidnap McCloy and make him believe he has been infected with Chimera in order to learn what Biocyte’s plans were. McCloy reveals that they were planning on releasing Chimera and then make a fortune off the sale of Bellerophon. After Nekhorvich stole the only samples, McCloy contacted Ambrose to help return them, but Ambrose turned the tables, asking for a large sum of money to return the samples, which McCloy has agreed to. Knowing the samples are at the Biocyte headquarters, Hunt and the others plan a daring break-in. However, their presence was expected, and Ambrose has prepared an ambush while holding Nordoff-Hall as a hostage. A firefight breaks out, and Nordoff-Hall manages to get free and inject herself with the last remaining sample of Chimera, forcing Ambrose to keep her alive for at least twenty hours in order to get McCloy’s money. Hunt is able to flee the building and regroup with Stickell and Baird, and trace Ambrose to a Biocyte storage facility near Sydney. They learn that Ambrose has let Nordoff-Hall loose in Sydney, such that when Chimera becomes active, it will launch an outbreak that will send Biocyte’s stocks skyrocketing due to the demand for Bellerophon, and Ambrose is now blackmailing McCloy to make sure he has a controlling interest in the company’s shares. Hunt breaks up the meeting, grabbing samples of Bellerophon, and a large battle between Ambrose’s men and Hunt’s team breaks out. Hunt’s team is able to defeat all but Ambrose, and Hunt orders Stickell and Baird to locate Nordoff-Hall while he fights Ambrose alone. Hunt gains the upper hand and kills the rogue agent while his team members find and return Nordoff-Hall; Hunt is able to inject the Bellerophon into her body just in the nick of time to stop Chimera. Hunt is debriefed and confirms that all samples of Chimera have been destroyed, and then returns to his vacation, this time spending it with Nordoff-Hall on an Australian beach.

Vanilla Sky

  • Directors: Cameron Crowe
  • Producers: Cameron Crowe, Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner
  • Writers: Mateo Gil, Cameron Crowe
  • Genres: Mystery, Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Jason Lee, Kurt Russell

David Aames recently has become owner of his deceased father’s publishing company, and begins to enjoy a wealthy lifestyle. David, through his friend Brian Shelby, is introduced to Sofia Serrano, and the two begin to flirt and become closer. When David’s former girlfriend, Julianna Gianni, discovers this, she becomes extremely jealous. One day, she offers David a ride, but purposely crashes her car at high speed off a bridge; Julianna dies while David survives, though his face is scarred up so badly he wears a mask to hide the embarrassment from the world so that people will not stare or look at his face. On an evening out with Brian and Sofia after the crash, David becomes extremely intoxicated, much to Sofia’s displeasure, and she and Brian leave David to wallow on a sidewalk. However, the next morning, Sofia returns to help David back onto his feet, and they begin to date steadily.

Though David’s life seems perfect, he finds oddities about it, such as a completely empty Times Square. At times, he finds himself hallucinating, his face reverting to before the plastic surgery. A strange man appears at various locations to tell David he has the power to control the world. After one hallucination episode, David goes to Sofia’s apartment to find Julianna there, and that all the old photos and pictures of David and Sofia have been replaced with Julianna. In a fit of rage, David kills Julianna by suffocation. He is arrested and put into prison, placed under the psychological care of Dr. Curtis McCabe. David, finding himself suffering from a form of amnesia, attempts to recount the recent events to Dr. McCabe, and the two discover that there may be a connection between David and a company known as “Life Extension”, who place clinically-dead patients into cryogenic chambers to awaken in the future when cures may be available. David and Mr. McCabe visit the company, who explain that they place their patients into a “Lucid Dream” state while in the cryogenics company. David recognizes that the reality he is in is his own Lucid Dream, and calls for Tech Support.

David escapes from the company office to find the mysterious man directing him to an elevator. As they rise to the top of an impossibly tall building, the man, revealing himself to be the tech support, explains David’s true past: after passing out drunk on the sidewalk, he never saw Sofia again. Due to his depression, David sought the services of Life Extension, wishing to start the Lucid Dream the morning after the drunken incident, and to live under the “vanilla sky” his mother always talked about; he then committed suicide so that he may be placed in the cryogenic system, where he has been for the past 150 years. While David was experiencing the Lucid Dream, a malfunction of the system caused the dream to become a nightmare, merging Sofia and Julianna’s personas and creating people, such as Dr. McCabe, out of his past memories. At the roof of the building, the man offers David a choice, to either be reinserted into the corrected Lucid Dream as to be together with Sofia forever, or to opt to wake up though this requires a leap of faith off the building. David opts to be awakened so that he can live a real life, and he takes a few last moments to say goodbye to the Dream versions of Sofia and Brian, then jumps off the building, his memories flashing through his eyes as he falls. Just as he hits the ground, a voice tells David to wake up, the film briefly focuses on his closed eye opening onto the real world.

The Last Samurai

  • Directors: Edward Zwick
  • Producers: Tom Cruise, Tom Engelman, Marshall Herskovitz, Scott Kroopf, Paula Wagner, Edward Zwick
  • Writers:
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, War
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Timothy Spall, Billy Connolly, Tony Goldwyn, Ken Watanabe, Hiroyuki Sanada, Koyuki Kato, Shin Koyamada

Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise), born in United Kingdom but naturalized American, is a disenchanted Ex-United States Army captain, tortured by the guilt of his past transgressions against Native American civilians. After losing his previous job of sharing his old war experiences in public demonstrations, he is recruited by his former commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Bagley (Tony Goldwyn), whom Algren loathes and blames for his waking nightmares, on behalf of a Japanese businessman, Mr. Omura (Masato Harada). He is hired to help the new Meiji Restoration government train the new Western-style Imperial Japanese Army. With him are his old army colleague Zeb Gant (Billy Connolly) and Simon Graham, (Timothy Spall) a British translator.

Under the command of Bagley, Algren trains an army of peasants and farmers in firearm techniques, and before they are sufficiently trained, is forced to take them into battle to defend Omura’s investment in a new railway, against a group of samurai rebels led by Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe). During the battle, the samurai slaughter Algren’s vulnerable soldiers, and Bagley withdraws from the field. Gant kills several samurai, but is soon killed. Algren manages to kill some samurai (including the samurai who killed Gant) with a pistol, a saber and a broken spear embroidered with a flag depicting a white tiger. Despite his best efforts he is soon overpowered. However, the flag on the spear reminds Katsumoto of a vision he had during meditation, of a white tiger fighting off his attackers. Seeing the resemblance, Katsumoto makes Algren his prisoner instead of letting his samurai kill him. In self-defense the badly wounded Algren deals a death blow to Katsumoto’s own brother-in-law, the red-masked Samurai, Hirotaro. He is taken to an isolated village, where he gradually recovers from his wounds (as well as his rampant alcoholism). He lives with the family of Hirotaro, namely his widow Taka, her two sons and Katsumoto’s son Nobutada (Shin Koyamada). Over time, Algren’s mental and emotional state improve as he learns the way of the samurai, (Bushido). He develops romantic feelings for Taka, studies swordsmanship from a skilled sword master (Ujio) and learning Japanese, converses with the local residents, gaining their respect.

The movie ends and the viewer realizes that the narrator of the story is Simon Graham. Algren then returns to the samurai village where he was imprisoned earlier, and to Taka. Graham philosophically concludes Algren found a measure of peace “that we all seek, and few of us ever find.”

Mission Impossible

  • Directors: Brian De Palma
  • Producers: Paul Hitchcock, Tom Cruise, Elias Badra, Paula Wagner
  • Writers: Story, David Koepp, Steven Zaillian, Screenplay, David Koepp, Robert Towne
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jon Voight, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Vanessa Redgrave

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is an agent of an Impossible Missions Force (IMF) team, an unofficial branch of the CIA. Led by Jim Phelps (Jon Voight), the team assembles for a mission in Prague to prevent an American diplomat from selling the Non-official cover (NOC) list – a comprehensive list of all covert agents in Eastern Europe. The mission goes hopelessly wrong, resulting in the deaths of the diplomat and every team member except Hunt. Fleeing the scene, Hunt meets with Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny), the CIA-based director of the IMF, at a café. Kittridge discloses that the NOC list in Prague was a fake meant to draw out a mole who has infiltrated the IMF and made a deal to sell the list to an arms dealer known as “Max.” Suspicion now falls on Hunt, the only survivor of the botched mission, who makes a daring escape from the café and flees into the city.

Hunt returns to the IMF safe house, where he discovers that fellow agent Claire Phelps (Emmanuelle Béart), Jim Phelps’s wife, actually survived the mission. He begins correspondence with Max (Vanessa Redgrave), warning her about the fake NOC list and offering to deliver the real one in exchange for $10 million and a face-to-face meeting with the mole, nicknamed “Job.” Max agrees to the deal and gives Hunt a cash advance, which he uses to hire two blacklisted or disavowed intelligence agents: computer expert Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and pilot Franz Krieger (Jean Reno). Hunt, Stickell, Krieger, and Claire infiltrate the heavily fortified headquarters of the CIA in Langley, Virginia, and successfully steal a copy of the full NOC list before escaping to a safe house in London. Once there, Hunt discovers that his uncle and mother have been falsely arrested for drug trafficking in an attempt by Kittridge to lure him out of hiding. This infuriates Hunt, and he contacts Kittridge, who offers to drop the false charges the moment Hunt surrenders to authorities. Hunt stays on the line long enough for Kittridge to trace him to the London area, then hangs up and finds Jim Phelps standing right next to him.

Claire tries to persuade Phelps not to kill Hunt, but he kills her instead, knocks Hunt down, and climbs up to the roof. Krieger has been following the train in a helicopter and is waiting to extract Phelps. Hunt recovers and follows Phelps, impeding his efforts to escape and tethering Krieger’s helicopter to the train as it heads into the Channel Tunnel. The fight continues, with the helicopter now following the train inside the tunnel. The two fight atop the wind-swept train before Phelps disconnects the helicopter from the train and attempts to escape. Hunt follows, leaping onto the helicopter’s landing skids and attaching explosive chewing gum to the windshield. The ensuing explosion kills Phelps and Krieger, with Ethan narrowly escaping. Now in possession of the NOC list and Max’s true identity, Kittridge reinstates Stickell as an IMF agent and drops his investigation against Hunt, who resigns from the IMF. As he flies home, a flight attendant approaches him and asks, through a coded phrase, if he is ready to take on a new mission.

Mission Impossible II

  • Directors: John Woo
  • Producers: Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner
  • Writers: Robert Towne, Ronald D Moore, Brannon Braga
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Ving Rhames

While working at Biocyte, an Australian company, Nekhorvich, a Russian scientist, is forced to develop a deadly bioweapon named “Chimera” which lies dormant in its host for twenty hours after infection, but then rapidly causes the body’s red blood cells to disintegrate and cause hemorrhaging and death while becoming highly infectious. At the same time, Nekhorvich has developed a potent counter-agent, “Bellerophon” to stop the effects of Chimera while in incubation. Nekhorvich realizes he must expose Biocyte’s research, and contacts his old friend Ethan Hunt, whom he refers to as “Dmitri”, to help assist him to reach the U.S. Government; in order to transfer Chimera, Nekhorvich uses his own body as a petri dish and makes sure he can reach the United States within 20 hours of departure to ensure he’s in time to administer Bellerophon. However, as he and Hunt cross the Rocky Mountains on a passenger plane, the captain—Hugh Stamp—claims that there is a drop in cabin pressure and releases the oxygen masks, and the rest of the crew and passengers are anesthetized due to an NO2 tank being supplemented to the oxygen mask air supply, and “Hunt” reveals himself to be Sean Ambrose, another IMF agent, who then breaks Nekhorvichs’ neck and takes the briefcase containing his research. Ambrose and the rest of his team jump from the plane before it crashes, killing all those aboard.

Hunt and his team kidnap McCloy and make him believe he has been infected with Chimera in order to learn what Biocyte’s plans were. McCloy reveals that they were planning on releasing Chimera and then make a fortune off the sale of Bellerophon. After Nekhorvich stole the only samples, McCloy contacted Ambrose to help return them, but Ambrose turned the tables, asking for a large sum of money to return the samples, which McCloy has agreed to. Knowing the samples are at the Biocyte headquarters, Hunt and the others plan a daring break-in. However, their presence was expected, and Ambrose has prepared an ambush while holding Nordoff-Hall as a hostage. A firefight breaks out, and Nordoff-Hall manages to get free and inject herself with the last remaining sample of Chimera, forcing Ambrose to keep her alive for at least twenty hours in order to get McCloy’s money. Hunt is able to flee the building and regroup with Stickell and Baird, and trace Ambrose to a Biocyte storage facility near Sydney. They learn that Ambrose has let Nordoff-Hall loose in Sydney, such that when Chimera becomes active, it will launch an outbreak that will send Biocyte’s stocks skyrocketing due to the demand for Bellerophon, and Ambrose is now blackmailing McCloy to make sure he has a controlling interest in the company’s shares. Hunt breaks up the meeting, grabbing samples of Bellerophon, and a large battle between Ambrose’s men and Hunt’s team breaks out. Hunt’s team is able to defeat all but Ambrose, and Hunt orders Stickell and Baird to locate Nordoff-Hall while he fights Ambrose alone. Hunt gains the upper hand and kills the rogue agent while his team members find and return Nordoff-Hall; Hunt is able to inject the Bellerophon into her body just in the nick of time to stop Chimera. Hunt is debriefed and confirms that all samples of Chimera have been destroyed, and then returns to his vacation, this time spending it with Nordoff-Hall on an Australian beach.