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Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - Review

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

BRAD Bird may have been a surprise choice to take on the Mission: Impossible franchise given his background in animation with the likes of The Incredibles and Ratatouille but the ensuing fourth film in the franchise is often pretty incredible itself.

Boasting some truly gasp-inducing set pieces, as well as a nice sense of humour, Ghost Protocol delivers the goods in spectacular fashion, while even raising the bar during certain set pieces.

And it does so by operating on a fairly simple premise, unfolding like a chase movie as Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his new team of IMF comrades (Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg) find themselves blamed and disavowed for an explosion at The Kremlin and subsequently racing against time to prevent a terrorist (Michael Nyqvist) from starting global nuclear war.

There are flaws, of course, as Bird’s occasional use of CGI heavy set pieces (such as the opening Kremlin explosion) seems to be at odds with the film’s more death and/or gravity-defying real-life stunts (such as Cruise on the Burj Khalifa). While the film’s rapid momentum occasionally comes at the expense of greater character depth (the dark past of Renner’s Brandt, for example, warrants much greater exploration).

But when you’re having as much fun as Ghost Protocol affords (particularly in jaw-dropping IMAX format), it’s difficult to get too hung up about what doesn’t work quite so well.

Bird, for his part, clearly relishes the opportunity to tackle live action and does so by combining outlandish set pieces with situation appropriate humour.

The standard is set from the start with a thrilling, and almost unspoken, prison break sequence set to Dean Martin’s Aint That A Kick In The Head that neatly juxtaposes bone-crunching violence with laugh out loud humour.

He then proceeds to drop in a Kremlin-set sequence that becomes so tense you can almost hear a pin drop.

The Burj Khalifa showpiece, meanwhile, is just a perfect mix of tension, action and comedy that it takes the breath away, while also being likely to induce feelings of vertigo in anyone so inclined. It’s a masterful sequence and one that truly exhilarates.

If the final third of the film loses momentum slightly, Bird still manages to throw in another thrilling fight between Cruise and Nyqvist that feels fresh and expertly choreographed, while a final scene involving the return of at least one former franchise favourite is also nicely done without feeling too cheesy.

Bird’s decision to give Simon Pegg more to do also pays dividends, as the actor’s expert sense of comic timing is never over-played and serves as a nice respite from some of the more larger-than-life heroics, while Jeremy Renner brings grit and everyman qualities to Brandt and Patton combines sultry appeal with kick-ass attitude and an underlying vulnerability.

Sadly, Nyqvist isn’t afforded enough time to make his villain a true heavyweight, while I could also have done with seeing more of Josh Holloway’s IMF colleague.
But if not perfect in every aspect, Bird’s film is still an effortless crowd-pleaser that quite often excels.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 132mins
UK Release Date: December 26, 2011