The best of ‘Mission Impossible’

2011-12-19 00:00

GREETINGS, agent. Your movie, should you choose to accept it, is Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

This is the fourth Mission Impossible movie, so you know the score by now. Tom Cruise once again plays agent Ethan Hunt.

This means we are once again subjected to egomania and testosterone-filled pontifications (partly from Cruise and partly stemming from the weak dialogue). But as much as I hate to admit it, Cruise is an action star.

His stunts (that he insists on performing himself) are riveting and provide movie-goers with an adrenaline assault. Cruise is a believable agent and more importantly, he’s watchable.

The plot is in no way complex; in fact it has been a staple of action films since the sixties: mad Russian scientist steals nuclear launch codes, secret agent tries to recover them and prevent nuclear war. But there is a twist. After being set up in Russia and held responsible for blowing up the Kremlin, Hunt and his team are now considered terrorists. The Impossible Missions Agency therefore institutes Ghost Protocol, denying any connection between Hunt and America until Hunt can clear his name. While the plot may be overplayed and outdated, what makes this film intriguing is the focus on modern technology, the stuff that goes out of its way to satisfy our secret agent fantasies.

Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) plays Cruise’s sidekick, which I at first thought was a shocking piece of casting. But his quirky humour provides wonderful comedic relief and successfully dilutes Cruise’s intensity.

First time live-action director Brad Bird (previously a Pixar animation director) has fared well. The use of a sandstorm as the backdrop for one scene is a visually impressive feat. He has woven together myriad action sequences that are easy to follow yet also captivating. Bird has included subtle call-backs to the previous films, which provide some lighthearted moments.

Despite the unoriginal storyline, the stunts alone make the film worth watching. Excitingly paced and filled with amazing gadgets, this instalment breathes new life into the Mission Impossible franchise. Critics are calling Bird’s Mission Impossible the best of the four films, and I have to agree.

Oh, yes, I nearly forgot: this message will self-destruct in five seconds. ****

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