After three movies all featuring different directors, Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles. Ratatouille) puts on his “live action movie directing” hat, breathing some life into the longest running franchise based on a tv show.
We catch up with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) who is in prison at the beginning of the film. The security system is hacked by field agent Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) with fellow agent Jane Carter (Paula Patton), who is waiting to intercept Hunt. As Hunt meets up with the two, he is told of files they must retrieve from an assassin named Sabine Moreau (Léa Seydoux), who took these plans from a former agent she gunned down. Add to the fact that Carter was in love with this now deceased agent, it makes for an interesting revenge story arc. The three make their way to the Kremlin building to find out more information about the files, only to be there the same time as the landmark is blown to pieces. The IMF powers that be track down Ethan and provide him details on locations to use special equipment, being that IMF is now being framed for the bombing, Ethan must go rogue to clear the name of the organization. In a turn of events, Ethan is left alone with analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), and the two meet up with Dunn and Carter to set matters right.
My biggest complaint about Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol is the villain. Yes, there is a villain (it’s not the assassin, if that’s what you’re thinking), but there is not enough character development to make this person known to be such a horrible threat to the audience. Now, as I’ve heard, the baddie in the third movie (Philip Seymour Hoffman) was awesome, but I haven’t had the opportunity to see movie three yet. Regardless, the fourth installment of the franchise really falls flat in this territory.
Now, let me dish out the positives. The core four stars-Pegg, Renner, Patton, and Cruise-have an undeniable chemistry that makes the group dynamic a lot of fun. However, each one of these characters has solo scenes, and they aren’t boring to watch; each of the four is individually interesting and holds their own. Pegg is too charming for words, he brings a lot of comedic relief to the proceedings, but also you completely buy him as a field agent computer nerd. He’s also the designated scene stealer. Patton is gorgeous, kicks a lot of ass, and I hope she gets more roles as she is a good actress. Plus her “revenge” storyline isn’t lost in the shuffle of all the activity, and it’s good to see a strong female character in a male dominated flick.
Renner steals some comedy bits from Pegg, and the dude is super charismatic. I can’t wait to see him in The Avengers as a full force Hawkeye. I just hope he isn’t lost in the back drop of all of it, as there is many other bigger name characters he must contend with. In any case, Renner’s storyline is also quite interesting, as he has holds secrets that develop as the movie plays out.
And then there is Cruise. Cruise, despite however he acts like he acts in the tabloids, or on tv, or in various types of media, is a good actor, and his lifestyle choices never affected me negatively. And since Ethan is one character he’s revisited several times, he’s pretty much got it on lock down at this point. And he’s fun to watch, as he seems to really enjoy this role. The man also did his own stunts, and God bless him, because the “wall crawling” scene on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (the tallest man made structure in the world) definitely ranks among the highest “edge of your seat” moments in the movies in at least the last decade. Seeing this glorious sequence in the biggest IMAX on the east coast was money well spent.
The movie is just a blast. While the CGI could have used some touch ups here and there, and the villain needed a lot more work, the four actors, along with some great comedy and some awesome action pieces, make M:I 4 one of the most fun times I’ve had at the cinema in recent history.
And I owe all of it to Brad Bird. One of my top three favorite directors, Bird lends a great hand to the franchise, impressing me mightily with such a great live action debut. While I still think the man should still promote animated stuff (The Incredibles 2?!), if he sticks with this series, I will gladly plunk down the dollars for future installments.
I honestly think he could film a person reading the phone book and I’d pay money to see it.
In any case…
I give Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol 9 explosive fuses out of 10.