With Brad Bird bringing his imaginative animation brain to the world of live action and Tom Cruise at his crazy action-man best, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol provides slick high octane espionage thrills while upping the ante in the stakes of good vs evil action theatre.
For those waiting for Bird to release a sequel to his whiz-bang superhero movie The Incredibles, this is as close as you will get. With cool gadgets galore, nerve racking action sequences and Mr. Incredible himself Tom Cruise leading the way, …Ghost Protocol is a gleeful addition to an action franchise revived by J.J. Abrams in 2006’s Mission: Impossible III, yet doesn’t have the same emotional impact which that film had.
Where it does trump over previous missions is in its scope. Travelling from Russia, to Egypt, and to India, Bird has super spy Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and a new team of agents (Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg) on a mission to thwart a plan by a nuclear extremist (Michael Nyqvist) hell bent on dropping a nuke on American soil.
The film begins with Hunt sprung from a Russian prison and into the thick of a new mission, which ends with the spectacular looking destruction of The Kremlin. When he and his crew are framed “Ghost Protocol” (a blacker than black operation) is initiated, leaving Ethan and his team to find the bad guys before a nuclear winter is born.
Quickly the characters settle into their roles. Renner is the outsider bad ass with secrets to hide. Patton is driven by revenge. Pegg is the computer whiz and comic relief.
But this is the Tom Cruise show, and the man with the grin and go-go attitude delivers on his action star wattage with a performance filled with intense focus and daredevil physicality, which Bird pushes to the limit with a scene set at Dubai’s Burj Khalifa tower which the Cruiser scales with sticky gloves. Vertigo sufferers be warned: puke-age is possible.
This mission isn’t all smooth sailing. Bird’s decision to shoot the fight scenes close and shaky is a disappointment, considering his talent for action choreography. And while a juicy backstory intrigues, its insistence to add sentiment to the gung-ho thrills doesn’t work.
Nerve jangling suspense and big action spectacle is where …Ghost Protocol is at its best. With Bird handling the reigns and Cruise at full capacity, another solid entry in what is shaping up to be a pretty spectacular franchise is delivered. Mission accomplished.