MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL - The Best So Far
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL (action thriller)
Cast:Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Josh Holloway, Lea Seydoux, Tom Wilkinson, Michael Nyqvist, Ving Rhames and Anil Kapoor
Director: Brad Bird
Screenplay: Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec and Christopher McQuarry (based on the TV series by Bruce Geller)
Time: 130 mins
Rating: * * * 1/2 (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: Up to now, the Mission: Impossible franchise has been trying so much to outdo its previous efforts - and other action flicks - in the stunts and crashes department that it overlooked the basic elements that power all movies: a credible plot, realistic characters that we can root for, a bit of humour and a sense of 'real' danger.
Well, director Brad Bird (who gave us The Incredibles and Ratatouille) seems to understand these flaws and has tweaked the franchise a bit to include all those elements - and more. And with some of its scenes shot with IMAX cameras, we can get totally immersed in its thrills, spills and laughs. UIP showed the film to us (the media) at TGV Sunway's spanking new IMAX cineplex so that we can experience those awesome effects.
SYNOPSIS: After being falsely implicated in a bombing at the Kremlin, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his entire IMF team are shut down and termed terrorists by their own side. Ethan's new mission, dubbed Ghost Protocol, is to steal nuclear codes and devices from war-monger Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist), who plans to start a global nuclear holocaust so he can 'restart the world'.
This is the first time that Ethan has his team already 'picked' for him, comprising English tech specialist Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), Agent Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and Brandt (Jeremy Renner). Left on their own, the team has to track down the deadly Hendricks from Russia to Dubai and Mumbai.
HITS & MISSES: The M:I franchise is nothing if not for its eye-boggling and palm-sweating stunts and elaborate set pieces. These start with a jail-break and they seem to peak midway in the movie with Ethan scaling and dangling from the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building in Dubai. Still, the pace picks up again when we get to Mumbai, India, where Ethan and Hendricks face-off at a multi-storey electric car park. (Pic, left: Patton and Pegg)
However, the best part of this M:I 4 is not its stunts, it is the cast. Cruise, at almost 50, shows he still has what it takes to be an action star. Simon Pegg is a welcome addition as he provides the much needed humour and laughs to lighten up the proceedings. The femme fatale action is courtesy of Paula Patton who sizzles as the hot Agent Carter, and French starlet Léa Seydoux (pic, bottom) whose hit-woman Sabine is so cool and efficient that she will send a chill up our spines. When the two women face-off in Dubai, expect the attendant 'catty sparks'!
Renner's Brandt is made use of to give narrative depth to his relationship with Ethan. Yes, the writers take care to tighten up loose ends too. Normally, my back and buttocks would protest at movies that are over two hours long. Well, they did not with this one. It is so seamlessly exciting that I didn't feel the drag.
THE LOWDOWN: Arguably the best Mission: Impossible instalment so far and best watched in IMAX.