Driver's EDitorial #20: Don't Worry, Tom Cruise Will be Great in Mission Impossible 4
by: Brad Sturdivant
Our Driver’s EDitorial is a weekly column designed to express our opinion on something going on in Hollywood today. Sometimes we whine and complain about something we wish was different, other times we heap praise on the system for getting it right.
You should know that I’m a little biased when it comes to Tom Cruise. Like I’ve said before, he’s been my favorite actor for over two decades now and I’ve spent the better part of the last 10 years defending him to all of his critics. It was easy during the JERRY MAGUIRE years, but the whole Oprah-couch thing made it a real challenge. It’s surprising that he still hasn’t lived that down, despite the fact he’s made some good movies since then and he’s stayed relatively quiet as far as his off-screen antics are concerned. It’s frustrating that one of the greatest actors of our generation is better known for jumping on Oprah’s couch than for making great films.
But the point of this is to say that anyone concerned or disinterested in a fourth Mission Impossible movie should give the guy, and the franchise, a little faith. Tom Cruise isn’t in the business of making bad movies. Put the scientology and Katie Holmes stuff aside for a second and just look at his filmography; for a single actor, it’s probably the most impressive collection of movies in the history of cinema. Then remember that he only has one franchise and the majority of those films toppled the $100 million mark without the benefit of recognizable characters or previously written comic books. Tom is a true movie star and it’s time the public recognize that.
In less than 24 hours time, we’ve already gotten some negative skepticism about the merits of a fourth Mission Impossible movie. This isn’t the Bourne franchise, where each film mimics its predecessor and a fourth movie would be more of the same. The beauty of the MI franchise is that they constantly reinvent themselves, thus leading to the possibility that if you don’t like one, you may love the other. That also means you can’t say the fourth one will be bad because you didn’t like the first, second or third. Aside from Cruise and Ving Rhames, they really have nothing in common. Keeping the movies independent of each other is what allows Cruise the freedom needed to keep the movies fresh.
We don’t know what the fourth movie will be about, or even who will direct it. But I have faith that Cruise will settle on a story, script and director that will completely reinvent the franchise and that the fourth film will blow us away. He has so much he can do with it and so many directions he can take Ethan Hunt. Personally, I’d like to see him take it in one of two opposite directions. First, he can put Ethan in a tough, gritty role, and make it more of a cop-drama type film (like the first, but darker). Or, he can go a completely different direction and make it an epic action movie with a Michael Bay feel to it (like the second, but bigger). If he goes the second route, how about a reteam with Tony Scott?
Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to a fourth Mission Impossible film and will continue to look forward to future MI movies as long as Cruise is involved. And now that he has the creative mind of J.J. Abrams to help him with the franchise, I think we’re in for some great movies for as long as they want to keep making them. And if KNIGHT AND DAY is a good film, then he should get an award for making Cameron Diaz anything less than annoying.