Mission: Impossible audio commentaries

What all goes into making a Mission: Impossible movie? According to the star and arguably the mastermind behind the film franchise, “fun.” If there’s one word Tom Cruise consistently uses to describe making these movies and all his death-defying stunts, it’s fun. Cruise always sounds like he’s having the time of his life making movies, but from the sound of it, he has an especially good time making Mission: Impossible movies.

We all know Tom Cruise is a great actor and movie star, but he’s also a great producer. With each Mission: Impossible commentary, the directors share his notes and input, and they range from shots needed for a sequence, how to get across a piece of exposition, what Ethan would and would not do, and a whole lot more. He knows exactly what a Mission: Impossible movie needs to be. He has really shaped what a franchise is all about, with the help of countless fellow filmmakers he always makes sure to thank during the end credits.

Below, check out what we learned from the Mission: Impossible audio commentaries.

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mission impossible 2 john woo

(Welcome to Team Leaders, a series where we explore how the directors of the Mission: Impossible movies used this franchise as a canvas to explore their pet themes and show off their unique sensibilities. In this edition: John Woo’s graceful Hong Kong transplant, Mission: Impossible II.)

18 years after the May 2000 bow of Mission: Impossible II, it’s somewhat hard to swallow that the movie made $546 million worldwide, mostly because it’s garnered such an awful reputation (with many cinephiles considering it the unqualified nadir of the franchise). Some folks flat out hate John Woo’s Tom Cruise team-up (and fourth American theatrical feature), utilizing it as the prime example in arguments regarding how the United States studio system somehow “broke” the legendary Hong Kong action auteur.

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Mission: Impossible Franchise

Talk about impossible: somehow, Mission: Impossible has blossomed into the best modern-day action franchise. Since 1996, Tom Cruise has been inviting audiences along as he defies the odds, risks his life, runs like hell, and delivers increasingly entertaining adventures. Unlike most franchises, Mission: Impossible has generally improved with each subsequent entry. Now, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is ready to draw us in once again.

Before the film arrives, we’ve decided to accept the most dangerous mission of all: a journey through the entire Mission: Impossible franchise in an attempt to learn what makes it tick.

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manhunt trailer

John Woo returns to big, loud action filmmaking with Manhunt, which arrives on Netflix this week. It’s a silly yet entertaining thriller that finds the filmmaker embracing his trademarks and delivering a film overflowing with non-stop action. Watch the Manhunt trailer below.

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the killer remake

The Killer was not John Woo’s first movie, but it was the movie that put the director and his instantly recognizable flavor of Hong Kong action on the international map. American action films have spent the past 30 years shamelessly cribbing from Woo’s filmography, so a Hollywood remake of this bonafide classic was inevitable. The news that this is finally happening is not surprising.

What is surprising is that Woo himself is returning to direct and that Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o will star, gender-swapping the role originally played by Chow Yun-Fat. And like that, I’m suddenly interested in a The Killer remake.

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manhunt trailer

John Woo made a career creating operatic, ultra-violent crime films peppered with shoot-outs, stand-offs, morally ambiguous characters, and lots and lots of slow-motion doves. Woo eventually made the leap from Hong Kong cinema to Hollywood and created one of the greatest action movies of all time, Face/Off. But Woo’s Hollywood adventure was never truly able to rise above the joys of that film, and the filmmaker returned to Hong Kong.

Woo’s latest film, the Chinese-Hong Kong production Manhunt, is being heralded (by people who are paid to promote the film) as a return to form, supposedly recalling his classics like A Better Tomorrow and The Killer. Well, don’t believe the hype.

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manhunt trailer

Action movie guru John Woo finally makes a return to the cop thriller genre with Manhunt, a remake of a classic 1976 Japanese action film. Sadly, his once-frequent collaborator Chow Yun-Fat won’t be joining him.

Starring acclaimed Chinese actor Zhang Hanyu as a prosecutor who is wrongfully framed for robbery, rape, and murder, the Manhunt trailer looks like a throwback to Woo’s classic stylistic flairs: over-the-top action! Endless ammo! Slow-mo! It’s great to see Woo back in his element.

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Face Off

“I am tired of myself tonight. I should like to be somebody else.” — Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

We are hardwired to see faces. Through the phenomenon of pareidolia, we’re able to glimpse a collection of shapes in a rock, or a cloud, or an oil spill, and imagine we can spot a face within. Our brains are always searching for something to identify; something to relate to. We judge emotions through the facial features of others – we see entire worlds of possibilities in the raising of an eyebrow, or the downturning of a mouth.

Our own faces remain out of sight, save for when we catch them reflected in a mirror, or in a selfie, or ghost-like and shadowy in the screens of cellphones and laptops. Yet even when we’re not looking at our own faces, we tend to have an image in our minds of how we look. It may be idealized or depreciated, but it’s there. Our faces reflect who we are – without them, we might lose our identity. What might happen then if we gazed into a mirror and discovered a completely different person staring back at us. Worse than that – what if it was the reflection of someone we despised. Someone who had caused us irreparable harm. The face of a mortal enemy.

That’s the premise of Face/Off, John Woo’s glorious and deranged action film from 1997. It was not the first Hollywood movie Woo would direct, but it would ultimately be the best, the only film during the filmmakers’ sojourn in America that truly captured his unmatched style.

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John Woo Still Wants to Remake ‘The Killer’

John Woo The Killer

John Woo has been wanting to remake his own classic The Killer for a while now, and he has not forgotten about those plans. The filmmaker says his next project is Manhunt, described as a hard-boiled actioner that recalls his earlier work, but after that, he’s finally getting around to that English-language The Killer remake. Read his comments after the jump.  Read More »

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Manhunt Remake

In case you hadn’t heard, Face/Off and Red Cliff director John Woo is set to be at the helm of a remake of the 1976 Japanese thriller Manhunt. The news first surfaced back in March, though it somehow slipped through the cracks on our end. But thankfully, Woo was recently interviewed briefly about the remake, and the director talked about why he decided to take on the remake, and how it’s taking him back to his roots. More details on the Manhunt remake below! Read More »