Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a good film. If it pops up at your local multiplex or on TV at some point be sure to see it.
I wanted to say that early on, because I have a few critical points to make and it wouldn’t be fair to have you going away thinking this one’s a stinker. It’s not. It’s a good, solid 6 or 7 out of 10 family-friendly action flick.
Despite the actual presentation I saw having been a bit slipshod, with flecks of muck routinely migrating across the screen, it’s worth catching in an IMAX theatre if you can. If only for one pivotal sequence.
Tom Cruise clearly saw what The Dark Knight did with the kind of neon cityscapes that featured in Mission Impossible 3 and wanted some of that super widescreen action.
The giant IMAX presentation lends a palpable sense of motion to the film’s many aerial shots, making the action astoundingly immersive and involving.
Simon Pegg is the first member of the team you’ll see, and he’s a major feature in this film. That prompted a small sigh of relief from me that the small part he took in MI:3 didn’t go, as was once suggested, to Ricky Gervais.
The generous amount of screen time devoted to Pegg, and to the other IMF agents, makes this the most team-oriented Mission Impossible film yet. Certainly 2 and 3 had a lot more solo Ethan Hunt in them.
There’s talk that this movie may be The Cruiser’s last outing as Hunt, perhaps to be replaced by new boy Jeremy Renner. If that’s the case it’s a shame that a nice conflict for Renner’s character, set up early on, is squandered by a somewhat self-indulgent coda.
If this is Cruise’s swansong as Hunt, it’s probably the right decision. At nearly 50 Tom is in better shape than I was at 20, but it’s still unwise for him to indulge in ‘vest off’ work at this stage. The viewer is more reminded of 1970s wrestling that the sublimely homoerotic beach volleyball of Top Gun.
In fact, with the slightly gone-to-seed action hero and Pegg’s talky, lippy Q figure Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol often feels like a Roger Moore-era Bond flick.
If Mission Impossible 3 is Cruise’s True Lies, Mission Impossible 4 is his Moonraker.
It’s certainly funnier than any Mission Impossible movie to date, but when the action happens it’s still fast, vivid and involving. There are a few period though where the film tales a bit too long to get where it’s going. It’s often tense, but it’s not tight.
That central stunt sequence, the climbing of the Burj Khalifa, is one of the most nail-biting sequences ever filmed. But too often the film is dilatory when it should be urgent. I loved Mission Impossible 3, but its newer cousin lacks that instalment’s relentless pace.
There are lots of neat touches for fans of the series. I particularly liked Cruise having to wear the same blackout hood he was forced to put on before meeting Vanessa Redgrave in the first movie.
I don’t think Cruise was at his best in this movie. I don’t think Brad Bird sustained the pace of the film as well as he might have, and much as I love Simon Pegg I thought his role was a bit overcooked in this film.
The villain of the piece is barely present, and doesn’t convey a fraction of the menace we saw from Dougray Scott or Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Galactus-style sandstorm is as much of an adversary for Hunt in one scene. And the plot is amazingly direct. It really needed another twist or two. And a less Minority Report car.
This one’s not Citizen Kane. Hell, even Citizen Kane isn’t actually Citizen Kane, but Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is certainly worth the time it takes to watch it.
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