Iwouldn’t mind looking at a series of still photos from “The Untouchables” (1987) or listening to the genre-hopping score by Ennio Morricone. But when watching the film, I kept expecting character depth or layers of insight into alcohol Prohibition and the government-versus-mob battles, and these things never emerge. There are occasional lines with a David Mamet flavor (“Yes, surprise is half the battle. A lot of things are half the battle. Losing is half the battle”), but his screenplay doesn’t take the reins of “The Untouchables,” and the film doesn’t rise above something that looks gorgeous and sounds pretty.
The Black Dahlia” (2006) starts comedically, with cops Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart) and Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) in a boxing match to raise public support for LAPD raises. It ends in the fashion of old Hollywood drama, as Bucky and Kay (Scarlett Johansson) stand on a doorstep at twilight. Everything in between in director Brian De Palma’s film is tonally confused, and it makes for a schizophrenic viewing experience. Some actors go way over the top, and some play it like they’re in a normal 1940s-set noir mystery.
In honor of “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” hitting home rental this week, I thought I’d do a ranking of all six “M:I” movies in which Tom Cruise plays Agent Ethan Hunt. As an action movie junkie, my views may differ from the typical critical rankings. Cruise does almost all of his own stunts, and they are just as much the star of the show as he is, so I’ve included a nod to the best action sequence in each film.