The fourth installment of the Mission: Impossible series, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, is much more than your straight-forward popcorn action flick. MI4 is the live-action directorial debut of Brad Bird (2004’s The Incredibles and 2007’s Ratatouille), and he delivers.
The story picks up with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) in a Serbian prison for committing unidentified crimes. Soon, Benji (Simon Pegg) and Jane (Paula Patton) orchestrate your typical Mission: Impossible-style complicated plan of escape, while Hunt casually waits in his cell. The action and escape scene that follows is exciting, fast-paced, and fun to watch. And Bird, without relying on the über-quick editing and sometimes disorienting fight scenes from other recent movies (2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum), continues to do an excellent job of crafting scenes that allow you to follow the action. In addition, screenwriters André Nemec and Josh Appelbaum’s witty dialogue works well to bring out inspired performances from Bird’s actors, which we’ve grown to expect from his Pixar films.
If the story of Hunt and his IMF team – whom Brandt (Jeremy Renner) later joins – working to clear their names and stop the onset of nuclear war doesn’t sell you on the film, then the incredible locations and filming of the scenes in Dubai most likely will. Bird accomplishes the nearly impossible when Hunt climbs, scales, repels, swings, and crashes through windows in the world’s tallest building: Burj Khalifa. With vertigo-inducing overhead shots of Cruise climbing the outside of the building with no support other than tech-magic window-cling gloves, Bird brings the terror and realism of Hunt’s daunting task. Bird fills the film with memorable scenes about which you’ll be talking long after you leave the theater, including a funny and technological genius sequence in the Kremlin, which involves an iPad, a huge hallway sized projector screen, and a noise clicker.
Each member of the cast brings their A-game, and Cruise is once again a fantastic choice for the leading man of the Mission: Impossible series. A genius casting choice, Jeremy Renner establishes himself as the likely future of the franchise.
I watched the film on IMAX, and the film takes every advantage of the film size, depth, and clarity the format offers. The sound is so crisp, clean, and ear-shattering that every punch, kick, crash, and gun shot sounds so close that they might make you feel uncomfortable. Around twenty-five minutes of the movie were filmed in the IMAX format, so be sure to see it on the really big screen while you can and enjoy it the way Bird envisioned it.