Director: Brad Bird
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist
Synopsis: As a result of Ethan Hunt’s team being framed for the bombing of the Kremlin, Ghost Protocol has been initiated, resulting in the IMF being disavowed. Hunt must go on an unsanctioned mission to prevent a terrorist codenamed Cobalt (Nyqvist) obtaining nuclear missile launch codes, and clear the reputation of the IMF in the process.
Tom Cruise’s return to one of his most reliable franchises does not disappoint. Say what you will about the man and his eccentricities, he has been in some good films, and he has even been great in some of these. I would rate Ghost Protocol as one of these films. It delivers a satisfying amount of action to be a popcorn flick, but with enough intrigue in the plot to avoid it becoming boring and predictable.
Cruise knows the skin of Ethan Hunt, and he slips back into character very easily. Each film to date has been very different, with Hunt being the one reliable connective thread. As such the film does rely on great action, but Cruise is the lynch-pin on which it succeeds or fails. He plays the role for its very serious angle, but is not shy from introducing humour where appropriate. This does help the action sequences be immensely more watchable.
Director Bird is a veteran of Pixar, and he manages to bring a visual flair to this instalment which is unique to the M:I films to date, yet is reminiscent to some of his more exciting animated set pieces. The combination works really well, with the film shot such that when there are dizzying heights involved, the audience can feel the vertigo. He also manages to get a lot from his great cast. Renner is the best addition to the cast, with a character that manages to contribute a few surprises. He has secrets in his past, yet believably evolves into a reliable asset in the later stages of the film. I was delighted to see Pegg return. He has moved from having a few great moments in the first film, to almost stealing his scenes in this one. He was a lot more to do, and it is to the benefit of the whole firm that he was promoted into a larger lime-light. Compared to these, Patton’s lustre is somewhat dimmed. However, she has one of the more difficult characters to play, going through a great deal of emotional turmoil, and she comes through well. If anyone was under-utilised, it was Swedish Millennium Trilogy‘s Nyqvist. He makes a fantastic villain in this piece, and I would have loved to have seen him chew up a bit more scenery.
This film recovers some of the same level of intrigue which was available in the very first film. In my opinion, the second film was explosive but forgettable, and not very rewatchable. The third film was much more entertaining, but to anyone familiar with J.J. Abrams’ Alias, the film was just like another chapter for some otherwise unknown characters in that same universe. Ghost Protocol however mixes action, intrigue , and star power to create a very enjoyable cinematic experience. It may not win awards for best film of the year, but it is certainly up there amongst the most entertaining.
4 stars out of 5