The Mission Impossible franchise has seen its share of A-List directors in its first three instalments. Brian DePalma, John Woo and J.J. Abrams have all had cracks behind the camera directing star Tom Cruise and his rogue IMF agents as they save the world from impending doom.
It been five years since Ethan Hunt (Cruise) performed death-defying stunts in a mission he chose to accept but now he is back in an action packed adventure this time directed by Brad Bird who is most known for his Pixar efforts (The Incredibles, Ratatouille).
The film opens with a chase scene that leaves an IMF agent (Lost’s Josh Holloway, who plays Agent Hanaway - weird) dead thanks to a female blonde assassin (Léa Seydoux) who takes from Hanaway Russian launch codes to a nuclear arsenal.
After this introduction to the story, we get our first glimpse of Ethan Hunt. He is in a Russian prison serving time – that is, until returning agent and comedic fodder Benji (Simon Pegg) and Agent Jane (Paula Patton) execute a daring rescue.
Freed from his prison, Ethan learns of Hanaway’s execution and is given the mission of infiltrating the Kremlin to search for secret files. As with all the Mission Impossible films, the gadgets and disguises border on the insane as the team gains entry into the highly secured landmark.
But it is upon their escape that a series of events shape the remainder of the film. A blast of epic proportions destroys a good portion of the Kremlin and the IMF team is immediately implicated and disavowed (the President of the United States initiated ‘Ghost Protocol’).
From here, Agents Hunt, Benji, Jane and mysterious newcomer Brandt (Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker) make it their mission to thwart any attempt of the use of Russian launch codes while evading capture by authorities wishing to bring justice to the Kremlin bombing.
Director Brad Bird does a fantastic job of keeping the story and the action moving towards a satisfying conclusion and Tom Cruise shows that he is still very much a viable and relevant action star in what we believe is the best Mission Impossible of the series.
The story is a tiny bit complex and moves locations (Russia, Budapest, America, Mumbai, Dubai etc.) at whim, but the action sequences are incredibly well shot including a Spider-Man walk outside of Dubai’s Durj Khalifa tower and a concluding action sequence shot inside an automated car park.
Jeremy Renner’s conflicted and mysterious Brandt is a welcome addition and the chemistry he has with fellow co-star Cruise is electric. And Simon Pegg’s Benji has taken the shackles off his comedic restrains that held him back in Mission Impossible 3 to give us his possible best screen performance to date.
For those of you that have yet to get acquainted with the Mission Impossible characters – don’t fret. Although there is a very prevalent and important connection with the third film in reference to Ethan Hunt’s wife (Michelle Monoghan), you will not be lost in Ghost Protocol’s story that is a self contained action/adventure.
And for those of you that were let down by Cruise’s last fray into the action genre with Knight & Day you can rest assured that that ‘blip’ is all but forgotten as you watch Cruise fight and scheme his way to our rescue as a nuclear rocket is closing in on New York City.
The entire Mission Impossible series does not have a true weak link. Mission Impossible 2 was likely the weakest link thanks to a less than interesting villain played by Dougray Scott, but that film is still far from being dismissed as an average action flick. Mission Impossible 4 solidifies the series’ place as being a James Bond of the new millennium and can now take its place above Fast Five as the best action film of the year.