The Tom Cruise Show returns to an established spy franchise with plenty of crash-bang-wallop, thanks to J.J. Abrams and director Brad Byrd. This time it really is Mission Impossible; prevent World War III after the Kremlin is bombed.
The madness of the movie franchise arms race is matched only by the resurrection of the Cold War.
Amongst some inventive set-pieces, Jeremy Renner rehearses his Bourne Legacy. But nobody wears a mask; the character baggage and Swedish villain (Michel Nyqvist) fail to convince; and isn’t Simon Pegg in the wrong movie…?
In a movie that’s as pompous and overblown as its pseudo-jargon title, Cruise and the IM Force are discredited, outlawed, disavowed and on the run. Again.
This time they’ve been conveniently framed for the Kremlin explosion, the villain has made off with the Nuclear Codes, the Russians and Americans are after them, the Indians are on the take and no travelogue cliche is left out of the suitcase as the International action moves from Russia to Dubai to India.
It’s awash with gadgets, techno-babble, running, shooting, fighting, stunt driving, free-climbing and tense radio chatter. There’s also an over-reliance on computer-hackery of all descriptions, with technology that bears as much resemblance to the real world as my left foot does to Marilyn Monroe. Most of it belongs in The Avengers.
Joining the white-boys club of the IMF (hold on, isn’t that an international bank?) Paula Patton is on hand to check the quota boxes for female, black and eye-candy.
Not that it matters who’s in it; Cruise, Renner and Paula Patton act out their characters’ emotional baggage in the mistaken belief that anyone is listening or cares. This is an MI-spy movie. Just chase somebody, jump off something, dangle off a wire – or jump down a ventilation shaft onto an electro magnet – nobody cares about the plot. Nyqvist (Dragon Tattoo trilogy) is completely wasted as the principal villain – a mathematician, statistician and game-theorist so absorbed by nuclear Armageddon that he decides to start one. He’s written off as a nut-job with one line and that’s it.
But this is an MI movie. It is what it is: big, expensive, loud, frenetic and utterly ludicrous. And too long. You don’t want that? Don’t see it. I wish I hadn’t. RC
Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol (2011)
Director: Brad Byrd
Writers: Josh Applebaum, André Nemec
Running Time: 2 hr. 12 min.
Genre: Thriller, Action & Adventure
Cast: Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Michael Nyqvist, Vladimir Mashkov, Sidorov, Samuli Edelmann, Ivan Shvedoff, Anil Kapoor, Léa Seydoux, Tom Wilkinson
Related: Alternative Review: Skyfall