Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, an actor by the name of Tom Cruise was seen as an A-lister with the star power to sell a film on his name alone.
Think about Born on the Fourth of July and Jerry Maguire – movies that certainly benefited from his name being on the billboard. His monicker may be synonymous with Top Gun but he was still making a name for himself when the role of Maverick came along – a role that rocketed him into the stratosphere.
Since the turn of the 21st century, however, it’s my opinion that, while he still has some pulling power, Cruise is no longer a name that provides excitement whenever it’s linked with a future project.
Of the films he has been in since 2000, I’ve only watched three because he was involved – MI:2, Vanilla Sky and Minority Report. However, you won’t find me exclaiming: “Oh my god, I must see that movie…” if Cruise is part of it.
Nope, for me the actors nowadays who draw me to the cinema include Ryan Gosling – I’ve been a fan of his since The Believer in 2001, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, among others. These are guys who choose interesting and challenging roles.
Cruise, on the other hand, is at a stage in his career where his choices are predictable and his performances vanilla. In fact, the one time where he went against type – playing Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder – he was brilliant. Throwing caution to the wind, he was a standout in a film that was very funny, only matched by Robert Downey Jnr.
Don’t think for a second I’m implying that Cruise is a bad actor. I think he’s perfectly good at doing what he does – but for me, there are better ‘stars’ out there who provide both powerhouse performances and entertainment in the roles they choose.
Since 2002 I haven’t watched a film because Cruise was among the credits.
Collateral? It was director Michael Mann who interested me in the tale of a hitman in LA although it did transpire that I was impressed by TC.
War of the Worlds? A perfectly passable remake of a classic sci-fi B-movie, but again, it was the director – this time Steven Spielberg – who swayed my decision to see it.
More recently, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was great fun (spoiled by a forgettable and unthreatening villain) but it was the fact Pixar’s Brad Bird was helming his first live-action feature that excited me.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Cruise in those films, but he wasn’t among any of the reasons I wanted to see them.
I actively avoided Valkyrie purely because it seems Hollywood is so bewitched by the diminutive star that he doesn’t even need to put on an accent when he’s playing a historical German figure. Christ, Ewan McGregor and Gerard Butler are forced to adopt (bad) US accents for their films, yet Cruise gets a pass for a film based on a real character!
Lions for Lambs never piqued my interest and Knight and Day was fucking awful!
Now we have him playing a rock star in Rock of Ages but there is nothing about it that makes me want to endure it. And don’t even start me on the Top Gun sequel… which could be released some 18 years after the first if it ever gets a release date. It’s baffling that tinseltown has greenlit this. But will it be Cruise’s involvement that will get paying customers to flock to the cinema or will it be a morbid curiosity to see how it stands up to Tony Scott’s 1986 homo-erotic action film?
I’m going for the latter.
Confusion also reigns regarding the fact he’s been chosen to play Jack Reacher, the former US Army guy who travels the country solving crimes.
Now, those who haven’t read the Lee Child novels may not have an issue with his involvement, but I’ll give you a handful or reasons why his casting is laughable.
Reacher’s character is 6ft 5in in height. Cruise could be a stunt double for Vern Troyer.
Reacher has a 50inch chest and weighs around 250lbs. Cruise doesn’t.
Reacher has blonde hair and icy blue eyes. Cruise doesn’t, but these features will be the easiest to replicate.
Of his other future projects, he’s lined up for two sci-fi films – Oblivion and All You Need is Kill – of which the synopsis of the former excites me more than him being part of proceedings while the latter sounds intriguing. A sort of Independence Day meets Groundhog Day.
He’s also reportedly set to top the billing for a remake of 2004 car-wreck Van Helsing. It’s as if studios believe him playing a part in it will make it better than it’s predecessor. In fact, scratch that, my involvement would make it better than the Hugh Jackman disaster.
I’m not disputing the fact ol’ mentalist Tom can entertain when on screen, I’m just saying, in my opinion, he no longer has the star power or attraction to be the main reason I’d want to see a film.
One thing you can be guaranteed, though – he’ll run like a kid running to the ice-cream van in his movies.