Saturday, 7 January 2012

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, dir. Brad Bird, wr. André Nemec, Josh Appelbaum, st. Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner

Best known for directorial duties on Pixar's Ratatouille and The Incredibles, Brad Bird turns his keen animator's eye to live-action with exhilarating results. If I'm honest I wasn't holding out much hope for a decent fourth outing. 1996's first instalment had a kind of Euro-Hollywood cool about it but the next two left me pretty hemmed and hawed. There may come a time when simply getting out of a chair is a stunt for Tom but for now, here he is, guns sculpted and kicking Ruskie ass. My one quibble might be that the cast is a little slight - there's not much for Renner to do, Paula Patton as the girl member of the IMF quaternary similarly struggles with an underwritten part and Pegg, though great, will always provide hearty comic backup before anything else in these types of films. Nevertheless there're some excitingly choreographed sequences, the centre-piece of which being the much touted Burj Kahlifa Tower sequence which elegantly daisy-chains a giddy exterior window suction-glove climb, a palpitating simultaneous dual-floor meeting bluff and a gloriously disorientating chase through a Dubai sandstorm. As recent talks of the upcoming Sam Mendes Bond Skyfall paint it as a return to the spy-thriller formula, there's a space opening up for globe-trotting action-excess and the Mission: Impossible franchise fills it perfectly.