Posted June 30, 2011 by Ben Winkley in Films

Mission Impossible…

Take a seat, 007, and do pay attention. The bar has been raised.

Take a seat, 007, and do pay attention. The bar has been
You can’t expect to
take such a long sabbatical and simply take your place at the head of the
table. There’s a new game in town, Bond.

Indeed, the world’s
longest-running guns’n’girls franchise will have to go some to top what the
Mission Impossible team bring us for Christmas. The popcorn-munching public won’t
settle for moody introspection and interminable games of poker when Skyfall, the
23rd Bond, lands next year.

Not when they’ve seen
a man climb the world’s tallest building, aided only by malfunctioning suction

Not when they’ve seen
a car chase through a sandstorm.

Not when they’ve seen
the Kremlin BLOW UP!

Not to mention
magnetic body suits, the adrenalin-pumping breakout from a Russian gulag, the
hunt for missing nuclear warheads and the Impossible Mission Force discredited
and forced to operate off the grid. When Bond comes back in 2012, he really
does need to be better than ever, because MI4 is all over him like a
made-to-measure tuxedo.

After a brief
scene-setting rooftop chase in Budapest, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team are set up to take the fall for the
Kremlin explosion, an act the Russians deem an undeclared act of war. The US
government disowns the entire Mission Impossible set-up, initiating the titular
Ghost Protocol, meaning Hunt and his team operate with none of the usual
back-up and must move fast to both clear their names and stop the man with the
stolen nukes meeting the man who can make them work.

There’s barely a
still moment, as director Brad Bird
brings his grounding in Pixar’s animated thrill-rides to live action with great
effect. The highlight is found on the outside of the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai
landmark skyscraper. Almost a mile above the desert, Cruise indulges in a bit
of Spiderman action. Seen as it’s meant to be seen, in IMAX, it’s quite

The supporting cast
is small, but well formed. Acting’s Great White Hope, Jeremy Renner, as the mysterious Brandt, brings a quiet intensity
to counter Cruise’s trademark grinning mania, and there’s solid support from Paula Patton–equally at home in a ball
gown and bullet-proof vest as agent Jane Carter–and light relief from Simon Pegg, who as tech-geek Benji Dunn
wears the look of a man who can’t quite believe his luck at having all the best

So it’s over to you, 007. I do hope you’ve been paying

Ben Winkley