I am perfectly aware that this joke has been said many times, but it becomes apparent after a TV show and four films that it really isn’t mission impossible, but mission quite difficult but entirely possible, though Mission Quite Difficult but Entirely Possible - Ghost Protocol doesn’t exactly go well together, does it? That said it is still a better title than Marvel Avengers Assemble.
A mission in Hungary goes deadly wrong resulting in a loss of some very important information concerning nuclear launch codes thus Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his informer, Bogdan (Miraj Gabic), are extracted from a Russian prison by Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Jane Carter (Paula Patton). The team is ordered to infiltrate the Kremlin and recover files that may provide information on who is using the code name Colbalt. However this doesn’t go to plan as a bomb explodes in the Kremlin, reigniting tensions back to the levels experienced in October 1962. The blame is shifted onto Hunt’s team, without support from the outside Hunt’s team must stop the plan drafted up by the raving mad Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist) which aims to evolve the human race by starting an Atomic war.
Brad Bird is best known for his works in the animated world, having directed the likes of The Incredibles and The Iron Giant it is clear that Bird is an established director in his field. Mission Impossible is his first foray into live action and like much of the animated world the laws of physics do not apply in the most recent installment of the Mission Impossible franchise, not that it matters because Bird’s debut in live action is an impressive one to say the least. Bird handles the often incredible set pieces and action sequences which such skill that one would be forgiven in thinking that Bird was an experienced master of the genre. A notable highlight is Hunt scaling the walls of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, which is so brilliantly filmed I actually suffered from vertigo while looking down to the ground a long, long way below while sitting at my computer (OK I didn’t, but that's not the point).
Like a phoenix from the ashes a dying franchise came back to life, much of this is down to Brad Bird who embraces the impossible stunts and smart gizmos and gadgets (the projection sheet is fantastic) taking further steps into ridiculousness than the franchise has ever gone before, because of that Mission Impossible 4 is the best of the lot. What is most surprising these elaborate set pieces are not only funny but tense as well, the scene in which Hunt scales the wall of the tallest building in the world, with nothing but an unreliable pair of gloves which stick to a surface, is pretty nerve racking (which is understandable considering its 829 meters high). The film requires very little effort on part of the viewer as all these terrific set pieces helps the film’s 130 minute running breeze effortlessly by.
The performances are fine as Cruise (also acting as producer and, on occasions, stuntman) gives an impressive turn but it’s Simon Pegg who steals most the plaudits away from his fellow actors with a highly comical performance. There are flaws namely the rather drab performance from Michael Nyqvist as the main villain threatening nuclear war, whether this is Nyqvist’s fault is debatable, but he was given very little to do other than to turn up randomly holding a suitcase. The André Nemec and Josh Appelbaum script doesn’t go far beyond the conventions of the genre in a narrative sense but they do conjure up amusing one liners.
Furthermore the film lacks some character especially in relation to the new characters as Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Jane Carter are not exactly interesting fleshed out individuals, and the supposed sexual tension between Hunt and Carter really doesn’t work, but overall Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol is fast, fun and funny mainly thanks to Bird bringing a new lease of life to the franchise, and the hilarious performance of the ever reliable Simon Pegg. Bird’s film, undoubtedly, soars like a Golden eagle above the others in the franchise.