DIR: Brad Bird • WRI: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec • PRO: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Tom Cruise • DOP: Robert Elswit • ED: Paul Hirsch • DES: James D. Bissell • CAST: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg
Always clambering to be the American’s answer to Bond, the franchise to date has already had something of a roller coaster of quality and tone. The first was a quite good and surprisingly intelligent Hitchcockian spy thriller, the second was a quite bad and frustratingly stupid balls-out action film, and the third something of a mixture of the two, with smarts and explosions, and it felt like the series had finally settled into a groove. And settled it has, with this forth entry in the cannon feeling like a direct sequel to M:I-3.
This being the live action debut of animation genius Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille), expectations were high. And while in the action department he reaches and surpasses them, the movie disappoints in terms of story. It kicks off with Simon Pegg and Paula Patton breaking Tom Cruise out of jail, then they head to the Kremlin to find out why he was put in prison, only for someone to blow it up, and pin it on Cruise and Co., and now they’re on the run with new recruit Jeremy Renner to find a bad guy who’s plan is to nuke the planet and start again. Seriously. That’s the bad guy’s plan.
But if you can ignore the awful plotting and get lost in the action, then you will have a deliriously good time. There are four or five massive set-pieces, with the centrepiece starting with Cruise climbing on the outside of the world’s tallest building, and ending with a violent car-chase in the middle of a sand-storm, and is a shoe-in for Best Action Scene Of 2011.
The cast are uniformly excellent, especially Renner who is rumoured to be replacing Cruise as franchise lead, and on the whole the movie is a lot of fun, but it is also about 30 minutes too long, and if they’d put as much effort into the story as they had on one of Paula Patton’s outfits, we’d be on to a great thing here.
Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is released on 26th December 2011