Review: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Okay, I’m gonna come right out and say it – I don’t have a lot of love for the Mission Impossible series. If it’s action-packed espionage spy thrillery stuff I want, then I’ll watch the Bourne trilogy. I don’t think I’ve seen the first M.I. film since I rented it on VIDEO. Mission Impossible 2 soiled my eyes and mind with its awfulness. Heck, I haven’t even bothered catching up with Mission Impossible 3. So, why the heck am I reviewing Ghost Protocol? Because I love you, that’s why.
As is the way with all the Mission Impossible films, the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) find themselves double-crossed when doing their funky thang. This time Cruise and co. are framed with blowing up the Kremlin. The Russians, understandably pissed, want the IMF dead, while Ethan Hunt desperately tracks down a mental nuclear terrorist whom used the Kremlin explosion to steal some nuclear codes. Or something. Anyway, what follows is globetrotting adventure which whisks us from Budapest to Moscow, takes in the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and ends in Mumbai in India.
Tom Cruise. How old is he now? Pushing fifty, according to IMDB. Should he really be running around (with his shirt off at one point), fighting, shooting, and explodifying at his age? Rumour has it that’s why Jeremy Renner has been brought in, as Tom-boy’s replacement, to take the franchise into the future. So does Cruise still cut it? Yes. Just. The haircut is a bit silly (I’m one to talk…). The face a little wrinklier. But he can still do smouldering intensity better than anyone else. Yeah, the film sometimes feels like a vanity project (he produces, stars, probably swept the set) but never enough to detract from what is a tightly scripted, action-packed flick.
Cruise is joined by a very capable Jeremy Renner, an okay Paula Patton in a somewhat uninspiring role, and a very funny Simon Pegg. Mikael Nyqvist, best known for playing Mikael Blomkvist in the Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, is sadly given short shrift as the big bad terrorist.
The real star of the show, though, is director Brad Bird. After working on The Simpsons (when it was good), he directed The Iron Giant, before moving onto Pixar’s The Incredibles. His The Incredibles is not only one of Pixar’s finest films (which is saying something), it’s also one of the best superhero movies, like, ever. It’s unsurprising that he finally made the jump to live-action filmmaking, just that it took this long. Boy, does he do a good job. In a day and age obsessed with sound and fury, I watched a scene play out in near-silence, no score, characters whispering, as the audience sat rapt with tension. Then there are the thrilling set-pieces – the vertiginous sequence of the Burj Khalifa. An awesome chase through a disorientating dust storm. And a brilliantly inventive and brutal battle on giant multi-storey car park, complete with rising and falling platforms.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is an incredibly entertaining film. Full of thrills and spills, it never bores and only slightly outstays its welcome with a trite wrap-up. Brad Bird directs it all with aplomb and helps re-energise the franchise just in time for a new star to take over (possibly).
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is showing on cinema screens now.