The Mission: Impossible movie franchise has been a consistently great source of fun for action fans. The first film had a couple of classic set-pieces, the second film may be the weakest of the lot but still had lots of fun moments and the third film was a blistering return to top form. This instalment, directed by Brad Bird (taking his first foray into live-action film after some sterling work with The Iron Giant and, of course, his time with Pixar), maintains the high quality of the series and features at least one stunning sequence, as we have come to expect from the brand.
Tom Cruise returns to play Agent Ethan Hunt and he’s joined by a mix of old faces (mainly Simon Pegg playing Benji) and new ones (Paula Patton as Agent Jane Carter, Jeremy Renner as William Brandt) in a globetrotting adventure that features daring, treachery, wit and a major nuclear threat to the fate of the entire planet. Just another day at the office then.
From the very beginning, it’s clear just what the main hurdle is for this Mission: Impossible movie and that is just how will it top the previous Mission: Impossible movies? Thankfully, the script by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec puts an emphasis on humour and the group dynamic while the assured direction from Bird ensures that when the action takes the spotlight it does so in a way that you’re not likely to forget in a hurry. The extended middle section of the movie that takes place in, and out of, the tallest building in the world (the Burj Khalifa tower) is the best example of this – a dizzying spectacle that easily sits up there with anything from its predecessors.
While the script and direction are great there’s also a lot of praise to aim at the cast. Cruise has been playing Ethan Hunt now for a while and owned the role from the very beginning so it’s no surprise to find out that he does just as well this time out, Simon Pegg seems to clearly relish having much more screentime after his supporting role in the third film, Paula Patton is a worthwhile member of the team and Jeremy Renner brings some decent backstory with his character. Michael Nyqvist makes for an okay villain but he’s not best served by the script, especially when compared to the fantastic threats spat out by the villains in the previous three films. Lea Seydoux fares better, and it’s a shame that she doesn’t have more screentime, and Samuli Edelmann does a good line in menacing behaviour while Anil Kapoor adds some more humour with his scenes. With small roles for Josh Holloway and Tom Wilkinson, there is enough talent on display to keep most people happy.
From an uncertain beginning (I can’t have been the only one wondering just what Brian De Palma was going to do with a potential franchise-starting blockbuster), the Mission: Impossible movies have developed into a series of fantastic adventures that you want to see continuing. And with an exciting prison break in the mix, a raid at the Kremlin, that amazing sequence in the Burj Khalifa tower and much, much more being used to provide the thrills this time around you have to already wonder . . . . . . . . . how will the next instalment top this one?
DIRECTOR: BRAD BIRD
WRITER: JOSH APPELBAUM, ANDRE NEMEC
STARS: TOM CRUISE, PAULA PATTON, SIMON PEGG, JEREMY RENNER, MICHAEL NYQVIST, SAMULI EDELMANN, ANIL KAPOOR, LEA SEYDOUX
RUNTIME: 133 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: USA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES