The cockiness of the titular character is often roll-your-eyes annoying (especially knowing this is a “Tom Cruise Production”) but it is occasionally charming in a cheesy sort of way (“Don’t need it”), and there’s a certain fun in knowing for certain your hero will get the job done–it’s just a matter of how, and to that point, the action and investigation scenes are all well done and make up a solid story with just the right amount of humour (mostly Duvall) and political intrigue added in.
Underneath its fun tapestry of endless witty banter, zany apocalyptic sci-fi, and action ’til you’re blue in the face are some wonderful nuggets of character drama and thematic debates on nostalgia, authenticity, friendship, and personal growth. There’s only one Gary King (or is there? Should there be? Are we always the same person?); he’s a “fuck-up” but he’s human; his devil-may-care attitude is wildly concerning but helpful when the devil himself comes to call at the world’s end (“Fuck it.”).
Has a few good sequences (see the clever spoof of the classic rooftop chase, pointless helicopter hijack, awkwardly delayed bathroom confrontation) but also some cringe-worthy ones (see the opening Tibet training montage, life-saving kiss). Most of the rest is in between: a mediocre spy plot (who was this murderous lady who kept showing up?) slathered with slight-chuckle-worthy slapstick and dramatic irony along the lines of the first film, just with a little less luster this time around.
With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent. (IMDb)
Affleck’s Nick acts suspicious from the get-go here, which feels sudden and anti-climatic; add in awkward cuts and unnaturally quick dialogue and you have a first half-hour that fails to latch on despite a well-crafted atmosphere. Yet led by Pike’s excellent turn a shocking plot grabs a hold from here: First uncertainty abounds as the line between victim and villain is blurred, then definite and bloody revelations follow as the line is made startlingly clear once again in a haunting final act.