Today: February 28, 2024

Mission Impossible DVD

Should you choose to accept this Mission you better hold your breath.

To be a good spy you’ve got to have something that sets you apart from the crowd.  Jason Bourne has that inventive knack for turning household objects into weapons, James Bond has the gadgets and the girls and Mission Impossible’s Ethan Hunt has those silly masks.  You know the ones where they can duplicate anyone’s face to stupid levels.  Yes you buy it, as much as you had to buy James Bond’s invisible car, but it never quite sits right.  It is therefore refreshing that Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol forgoes all that nonsense and focuses firmly on huge, and by huge we’re talking tallest building in the world HUGE, spectacle and set-pieces.

This time out Ethan Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) IMF team, consisting of Benji (Simon Pegg) and Jane (Paula Patton), find themselves disavowed and framed for blowing up the Kremlin.  Joined by the mysterious CIA analyst Brandt (Jeremy Renner) they must track down the terrorist Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist) before he uses stolen nuclear launch codes to attack America.

What has always put the Mission Impossible films in good stead is the insistence from the producers that each new director, no one as yet has returned to direct more than one film in the franchise, be allowed to do as they see fit.  So with De Palma’s first film it was all intrigue and espionage, with John Woo’s installment it was all flying doves and slow-mo action porn until JJ Abrams came along for Mission Impossible 3 and injected a bit of his Aliasstyle character drama into proceedings.  If Ghost Protocol has a failing it is in trying to be a bit of everything thrown into one.  As such the espionage keeps you guessing but not thrilled, the action is entertaining and the character drama seems to be desperately shoehorned in at the last minute.

However, where it succeeds is in Brad Bird’s direction of the action.  They are simply breathtaking and the kind of thing that demands an element of practical, rather than computer wizardry assisted, stunts.  Bird’s Pixar directing back-ground, he gave us the brilliant The Incredibles and the wonderful Ratatouille, could have easily led to a Roland Emmerich bombardment level of CGI gimmickry but thankfully he goes bigger than computers allow in the believability stakes.  Watching Tom Cruise jump, dangle and swing from the world’s tallest building is awe inspiring and one of the best action-set-pieces you’re likely to see this year.  Add to that an octane fueled fight in one of those fancy automated car-parks in the climax and a head-spinning chase through a sand storm, not to mention watching the Kremlin blow-up, and you have yourself a film that sets the adrenaline input to high and leaves it there for the entire running time.

The cast are, for the most part, all on good form as well.  Patton tries to do Anglenia Jolie levels of Kick-Assery but can’t quite pull it off.  Sweden’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo star Nyqvist certainly knows how to pull out the villainy stops and here is appropriately boo-hiss enough for you to anxiously wait his demise.  Renner brings a level of nervous energy which has been previously unseen in his roles and considering his action back-ground, The Hurt Locker is nothing if not octane injected, it is refreshing opposite the stalwart action-man that is Cruise.  Pegg seems to be in the form of his career getting all the best lines and, while playing the fool, always coming off as the most likeably character on offer.  And then there’s the aforementioned action-man Cruise.  If anyone else in the world can climb tall buildings, jump vehicles in a single bound or run as brilliantly as Cruise then we’re yet to see it.  Throughout his career he has rarely been given the credit where it is due, not only is he a solid pair of shoulders as a leading man but Cruise gives an audience something to latch onto.  It’s that winning smile and his knowing asides that make him hands downone of the greatest movie stars of all time and here he does it all with ease and enjoyment.

Plot wise this Mission self-destructs quickly, but frankly when the excitement and character interactions are this much fun who cares.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email:

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