After wrongly accusing Ethan Hunt for the terrorist bombing of the Kremlin, the President initiates “Ghost Protocol”, causing the immediate termination of the entire IMF agency. Forced to go rogue, Ethan teams up with a number of fellow IMF fugitives in order to clear his name and prevent another attack.
Director Brad Bird comes to ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ for his live action directorial debut having worked on previous films including ‘Ratatouille’, ‘The Incredibles’ and ‘The Iron Giant’. ‘Ghost Protocol’ also sees Tom Cruise return to the franchise for the fourth instalment, along with new comers to the series Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton.
Brad Bird’s direction for ‘Ghost Protocol’ seamlessly slides into the franchise, bringing with it many of the stylistic changes that were introduced to the series by JJ Abrams with ‘Mission Impossible 3’. Not quite achieving the sophistication or attention to detail that Abrams brought to the previous film, Bird effectively weaves together a simple but entertaining story which provides for some thrilling action set-pieces alongside some quieter character moments.
We follow Agent Ethan Hunt and his team operating independently under difficult circumstances to various locations around the world, the film focuses more on delivering the stunts and action sequences than it does a well crafted story which is where this film falls down a little when compared to other films of the genre such as the Bourne films or Casino Royale.
Where ‘Ghost Protocol’ does deliver is with some very entertaining, explosive and fun action scenes which push the characters to their limits and beyond. There is also excellent photography which takes great advantage of the settings around these scenes particularly in Dubai which involves some gripping climbing sequences that might summon memories of John’s Woo’s opening scene with ‘Mission Impossible 2’.
This film brings with it some interesting new gadgets with it, shaking things up a little by avoiding some of the mainstays of the franchise in terms of the gadgetry we’ve seen in several of the previous instalments.
Tom Cruise slides back into the role of Ethan Hunt without missing a beat, and what he delivers is exactly what we’d expect from a new Mission Impossible film, new comers to the series Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton are given enough material to place their own stamp on the franchise which includes some quieter character moments and back story in between the scenes of chaos throughout the film. Simon Pegg hits a home run as he delivers the comedic relief, though it’s tipped a little too far in that it somewhat curbs the film’s ability to heighten the tension, a balance that was better managed in the previous instalment.
As with ‘Mission Impossible 3’, and unlike the first two films, ‘Ghost Protocol’ takes more of a team approach to the series allowing each of the cast some time to shine and deliver something to the film rather than allowing it to be a one man show.
‘Mission Impossible 3’ and ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ have re-shaped the franchise taking it in a new direction than where it was left at the end of John Woo’s contribution, it’s good to see Bird taking the time to maintain the continuity set up by Abrams in the previous film, and it gives an impression on where things may go for the future of the franchise. It seems obvious that if the franchise proves to have ongoing financial dependability, that there is a real potential for it to continue similar to the modern Bond franchise.
For now however, ‘Ghost Protocol’ is an entertaining film, it lacks some of the complexities of other spy films, but delivers a charismatic cast with good performances, and fun crowd pleasing action scenes.
I’m giving ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ 3 out of 5 stars, it will be released in cinemas around Australia from Thursday 15 December 2011.