Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is the fourth installment to the hugely successful franchise, and in true fashion it brings us everything we’ve come to associate with the films; gadgets to out-do any Bond film, action scene after action scene and Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt; the IMF Agent who, like the franchise itself, simply cannot die. Only five years ago Cruise was dropped from his production company due to a ‘disappointing’ gross taken by the third film, yet here he returns once more, and judging by the box office takings so far (nearly $300,000,000 worldwide to date) it’s no surprise as to why he returned.
The fourth installment takes a much more light hearted approach, with Brad Bird being drafted in as the film’s director (the director’s first live action film, being more familiar to audiences with such films as The Incredibles and Ratatouille). It’s clear that Bird’s mission was clearly not to take the film down the road of the Bourne films or the post-Brosnan Bond films, but rather to revamp a tried and tested formula. The fourth film takes us to heights never seen before, quite literally, as Cruise launches himself off the 130th floor of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and impressively he does the stunt himself.
From here we get the usual use of the gadgets we’ve come to expect within the franchise, and whilst there are claims the gadgets go beyond the realm of possibility but isn’t that what Mission Impossible is all about? Every one of the films features them, they’re quite literally as big as the film’s star himself, and if you’re expecting the realistic brutality of a man being beaten with a book or stabbed with a pen, then I’d recommend you flip over then channel to Jason Bourne.
The action is explosive and continuous, and it’s nice to see Simon Pegg has been upgraded into a major role within the film, as oppose to the gadget man attempting to provide some comedic elements (although he still works this angle too). Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) and Paula Patton (Deja Vu) also get plenty of screen time to show off their action skills, creating a cast that actually all seem necessary, as opposed to filling an empty role. Where the film dips is mainly in the plot; the villain has next to no screen time, he isn’t menacing or even remotely interesting, which helps bring the focus onto Cruise more, sure, but without a strong villain is there ever any doubt that Ethan Hunt will fail? It seems action and effects have taken the right of way, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and to be quite honest, did we ever expect anything else with a Mission Impossible film? Of course not, and with a summer of blockbusters ahead of us it seems Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol has kick started things already.
It cannot be denied that the film is tremendous fun, the action is fast and persistent and the performances are great. Cruise is energetic and believable in a role that he plays so well, and Pegg, Renner and Patton get their own fair share of the spotlight. The fourth installment has certainly managed to capture a more vibrant and comedic element than its predecessors, but a slightly weak script stops the film from ever competing on a serious level with the likes of the Bourne films. Minor flaws aside, the film revels in the fact it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and will undoubtedly leave cinema goers riveted from over two hours of immense action scenes.