Cruise Control

Tom Cruise has certainly tried many milieus as an actor.

He's done romance, suspense, comedy-drama, avant garde, you name it.

Now Cruise, 49, is in yet another "Mission: Impossible" movie, this one called "Ghost Protocol."

I got to thinking about Cruise's career as I've been seeing trailers for his latest "M:I" movie pass through my TV.

The action/adventure genre---and that's certainly what the "Mission" movies are categorized---would seem to infer that the star doesn't have to do much acting. Indeed, in so many of them, that's been the case.

It's tempting, to me, to suggest that the acting talents of Tom Cruise are wasted when it comes to the "Mission" films.

Cruise was never better than he was in "A Few Good Men" and the iconic "Jerry Maguire"---that I think will elicit very little argument.

But in the "Mission" movies, there's an increasing amount of jumping and free-falling and diving and running, and you begin to wonder: is there any acting?

There certainly doesn't really need to be any, much less from anyone of Cruise's abilities.

There have been several action/adventure franchises. "Die Hard" comes to mind immediately. In none of them has the acting by the lead been anything remotely close to Academy Award level.

Cruise's talents are wasted on the "Mission" films but at least he hasn't buttonholed himself into the genre, like Bruce Willis did some 20 years ago. And Willis isn't the actor that Cruise is.

Cruise running (what else) in the latest "Mission: Impossible" film

Name me a so-called action/adventure "star" who has the diversity and filmography that Tom Cruise possesses.

In fact, it would be terribly unfair to even call Cruise an action/adventure star, because he's so much more.

Yet with this latest installment of "Mission: Impossible" eye candy for the holidays, and with any subsequent movie in the franchise---which is now about 15 years from its original---Cruise is getting closer aligned with the action/adventure genre.

Not that the "Mission" movies are all he's doing.

Next year, Cruise will appear in "Rock of Ages," which is set in 1987 Los Angeles and centers around a young couple chasing their dreams. Then it's Cruise as Jack Reacher, a homicide detective, in "One Shot," slated for late 2012 or early 2013.

But for now it's another installment of "Mission," and by all accounts this is the best of the bunch.

How much acting Tom Cruise really does in it, is up for conjecture. Not that it matters. It's eye candy for the masses---a break from real thespian duties.

Sometimes you gotta give the people what they want, right?


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