Jan 5 2012 by Ian Bunting, Hamilton Advertiser
MISSION: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is the fourth installment of the action adventure series.
Tom Cruise returns as Impossible Mission Force (IMF) agent Ethan Hunt and along with teammates Brandt (Jeremy Renner), Benji (Simon Pegg) and Jane (Paula Patton) is forced to clear the IMF’s name when it’s blamed for a bombing of the Kremlin.
I’ve had a mixed relationship with the Mission: Impossible film franchise.
Brian De Palma’s first entry was an effective mix of old school spy twists and turns and spectacular action set-pieces but then John Woo’s first sequel opted for big bangs and slo-mo over story and emotion. And Dougray Scott’s bad guy was incredibly lame.
J.J. Abrams’ third installment was much more like it with the best action, humour and villain (Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Owen Davian) of the series.
Abrams is only on producing duties this time around as The Incredibles’ Brad Bird takes over in the director’s chair to helm his first live action movie.
And Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol falls somewhere in the middle of the franchise ‘quality-o-metre.’
There’s undeniably some top notch action sequences and stunts but it lacks the emotion and personal edge of number three.
For large spells it’s very middle-of-the-road and most of the time is spent jumping from place to place on a new part of the mission, with little in between.
Writers Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec have a background in television and the rogue team working ‘off the books’ smacks of many episodes of their work on TV spy show Alias.
Terrorism and nuclear weapons are the order of villainy once again but it doesn’t help that the bad guy, played by Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Mikael Blomkvist, Michael Nyqvist (Hendricks), is almost non-existent.
He almost made me pine for the return of Dougray Scott... almost.
But it’s not all bad. Nyqvist apart the cast are on good form and the action of a high calibre.
An early prison break features more fisticuffs and better technology than Andy Dufresne’s tunnel escape in The Shawshank Redemption.
The Kremlin also goes boom in the film’s best visual effect and, in what must be a big screen first, a cool car chase takes place in a sandstorm.
Regular franchise leading man Cruise has prided himself on doing his own stunts and you have to admire his bravery.
Here, his crowning moment is a nail-biting, jaw-dropping sequence where he clings to and swings from the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, as Bird uses dizzying camera shots.
Renner will take over the Bourne franchise from Matt Damon later this year and rumours circulated that he could unseat Cruise as Mission: Impossible’s new hero.
Surprisingly, he plays a comedic and reluctant agent here and his character will have to toughen up in future to unseat Tom from his ‘baby.’
Some car park dangerous driving is the highlight of a race against the clock finale that leaves the door open for more to come.
But any other installments will have to add a bit more heart and meat on its story bones than Ghost Protocol.
Dull? Rarely. Memorable? Chances are, five seconds after leaving the cinema you’ll be thinking about something else.
Rating - 6 out of 10.