REVIEW: “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol”

Usually, when an action star agrees to star in a “fourth film in a trilogy,” the decision reeks of desperation. It’s a kind of acknowledgement by the actor that his star has reached its apogee, that audiences wanna see him in one thing and one thing only. By the time Bruce Willis signed on for Die Hard IV, he hadn’t had a bona fide star-driven hit since The Sixth Sense; Sly Stallone quickly settled into a routine of Rocky-Rambo movies, and hasn’t really tried to break the pattern since; Vin Diesel and Paul Walker both skipped a Fast-Furious movie to pretend some confidence in their starpower, but they quickly returned; even Harrison Ford hadn’t seen a name-above-the-title victory since 2000’s What Lies Beneath when he finally did Indy 4.

So when Tom Cruise, now pushing 50, followed M:I3 with duds like Lions for Lambs and Knight & Day, his decision to sign on to do Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, reeked of last-ditch career move. And honestly, for about the first 20 minutes, as Cruise sucks in his gut and throws back his shoulders to look like the unrelenting superspy Ethan Hunt, it feels that way. But then the movie just gets good.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Drawing Dallas • 12.24.10

All we want for Christmas

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator

In the season of miracles, meet miracle baby Luis Rios

Name and age: Luis “Lulu” Rios, 25

Spotted at: Throckmorton and Rawlins streets

Occupation: Cashier

Sleek and sexy Plano-born Luis Rios is a miracle baby, being born unexpectedly from a mother who had her tubes tied, then surviving a heart murmur and seizures at 5, which led to a major heart operation at 7. Luis came out at 15. “I did my research about how to be gay and what all comes with it. I knew it would be difficult, especially for my mom.” Luis’ family has been amazingly supportive, welcoming his partners and friends as part of the family. “My friends love my parents.” His hobbies include dancing, music, and fire dancing.

The boy with something extra: This enigmatic Libra has a sixth sense, which runs in his family. He has experienced telepathy and sometimes sees the future in dreams. This empathic ability makes him a go-to guy when his friends need psychological counseling. “It’s a gift, and a curse.”

Happy holidays! Luis plans to spend Christmas on the strip, singing R&B and ballad karaoke at Hungdinger.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 24, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens