After seeing the third installment in the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE series, and after witnessing the self destruction of franchise star, Tom Cruise, over the last few years, I would have bet that the most impossible mission of all would be getting a fourth film made. And that is to say nothing of whether it would even be watchable. Yet here we are with a fourth film on our hands and it was created at the hands of a director famous for animated rats (RATATOUILLE) no less. Somehow though, not only does Brad Bird manage to reinvigorate a dying series in one grand sweep but he also succeeds in unleashing one of the most exciting blockbusters I’ve seen all year.
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL is simply a non-stop blast of energy from start to finish. Drawing on his experience with the spy game (THE INCREDIBLES), Bird crafts a twisted trip for the viewer to get caught up in. His experience with the limitless genre of animation is directly applied to his intense and creative vision of the supposed real world. Of course, in real life, regular people don’t scale the biggest building in the world with their hands, but we can all agree this is pretty far away from real life. Audiences don’t want to watch Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team, – rounded out here by a hilariously endearing Simon Pegg, a stunning but not so intriguing Paula Patton and a solid, sexy Jeremy Renner – in reasonably tense scenarios. No, they want to see them in situations no one alive could ever get through but somehow still do. It isn’t about actual realism; it’s about finding out how far you can push implausibility and stopping just shy of that sweet spot.
Hunt is the perfect character for Cruise. He exhibits strength and smarts and does so with savvy. This is wear Cruise cruises. Hunt leads but he does so with few words and very little emoting. This is where Cruise usually crashes so its refreshing to watch him coast by on what he does best for a change. And as he leads his disavowed team on a mission to stop nuclear war from breaking out, he does so with a commanding stance and a reinvigorated sense of determination. It almost feels as though Cruise is not just fighting to save the world but he’s pushing it hard because he knows his career is on the line too. By the time he completes his mission, he has taken us on a ride so exhilarating, it actually had me getting flush from excitement and nerves. It is a mission both he and Bird can claim as accomplished with pride and as far as you’re concerned, it is well worth accepting.