So all it took was a veteran animation director in Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and The Iron Giant) to resurrect the Mission: Impossible franchise to greatness. Why couldn’t someone track him down two installments ago?
The 133 minute fourth edition, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is simply the best in the series. Tom Cruise is in top-form and the team he surrounds himself with (Paula Patton, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner) are with him stride-for-stride. Michael Nyqvist is also one of the better antagonists the franchise has seen, despite barely saying a word (to be fair, Phillip Seymour Hoffman was not given enough to do in the third flick).
Our espionage foreign adventure (travels through Russia, Dubai and India) sees Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) once again being recruited for his most important mission to date. His intelligence agency that signs his pay check, IMF, believes someone is attempting to start a nuclear war between Russia and the United States. Although there’s a legitimate chance to prevent all of this from unfolding, the elusive villain, going under the name Cobalt (Michael Nyqvist), is able to trigger tragic events that forces the U.S. President to shut down the IMF agency; leaving Hunt and his team (mentioned above) on their own, using very limited resources to stop a nuclear war.
Trust me; the synopsis is a bit more in-depth than the paragraph above. What is great about having Bird at the helm is that he finds the perfect speed to pace this action-caper. And he knows the exact point to explain what’s going on as the plot thickens through a variety of techniques (action, dialogue, killer new gadgets, etc.) that everyone in the audience can comprehend.
And the action is captivating! Not only is Cruise pushing himself to unbelievable limits, the rest of his cohorts are all jumping in on the ass-kicking fun. Well, except for Simon Pegg; his weapon of choice is his brilliant timing of all his sarcastic/funny lines while serving as the group’s techie. Plus, the camera – IMAX camera – is positioned so the entire scope of where the action is taking place can be viewed by the audience. Whether its fisticuffs or an assortment of chase sequences (ranging from the prototypical car jaunts to on foot in a sandstorm) they’re all clean even though their chaotic. A novel way to describe this piece is it has intense classy action; and there’s always something new around the corner. Many of the things they do here have never been seen in these types of flicks.
Besides the obvious hook of big-budget action spots, the interlude of dialogue and emotion is just as engaging in this extended thrill ride. When Bird has to slow down to make the next turn on this journey, he does it in a manner that is relaxing and exciting all at once. He basically sets the table properly and then serves one of hell of a five-course meal. Surprisingly, this spy-mystery chase is more appealing, and told more concisely than the recent Sherlock Holmes release.
And while this is still Tom Cruise’s show, he finds the ideal compliments – his supporting cast – and allows them to take over at the wheel when appropriate.
Overall, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is scary good. Tom Cruise is in the zone once again and this is by far the best directed piece in the series. Not to mention, the best directed action piece since…dare I say it? The Dark Knight.
Put it this way, yours truly had to desperately use the bathroom about 45 minutes in…And let’s just say my bladder suffered until the closing credits.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5