04 January 2012

The Mission Remains the Same

I watched the first of the revamped Mission: Impossible movies on the back of a school bus somewhere in Benelux. The small screen didn't really do it justice (I mean, Tom Cruise looks small enough on an IMAX screen) but it was entertaining enough--more so to my 14-year-old self than episodes of Yes, Minister, sanctioned by my history teacher, anyway. I never bothered to check out M:I-2 or M:I-3 (and it doesn't seem like I missed much) but as I had finally caught up with my cinema to-watch list, I decided to give the fourth film, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol a shot, despite there being too much punctuation in its title.

IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has been set yet another impossible mission: proving his innocence in the face of damaging allegations made by a range of women from hotel maids to journalists. Oh, wait, that was the other IMF. What really happens is that he busts out of a Russian prison, with the help of his crack team of feisty Jane (Paula Patton) and geeky Benji (Simon Pegg). In a recent botched mission, the IMF lost some valuable nuclear launch codes and must now recover them from a mad Scandi physicist (Michael Nyqvist, not looking much like Mikael Blomqvist) before he brings "peace" to the world through the medium of nuclear war. To make things more challenging, the IMF has been implicated in an explosion at the Kremlin, triggering Ghost Protocol, which disavows the team and means they have no help and no back-up and are going to have to work jolly hard if they are going to save the world and, more importantly, their reputation. Along the way, they acquire the services of government analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), who makes even n00b Benji look like an experienced field agent.

If you like big explosions, cool gadgets and impressive stunts (Cruise reportedly did his own stunt work on the scene where Hunt scales the tallest building in Dubai using only a pair of 50% functional Spidey gloves), you won't be disappointed with M:I - GP. There are no great surprises and not much great acting but the plot certainly ticks along and Pegg definitely gives the stand-out performance, although he also gets the best lines. As for Cruise, he mainly runs around looking all serious, although I find it hard to take his running style seriously. Overall, M:I - GP is a solid, if not particularly special or otherwise outstanding, action thriller.

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