Saturday, 17 December 2011
I didn't care that he personally undertook the stunt on the tallest structure in the world. Or took his wife and his high heel wearing little miss with him.
I didn't even go to this movie for Tom Cruise.
I went in spite of him.
I went to see what Brad Bird could achieve with a cast of humans, rather than the computer animated variety of The Impossibles or Ratatoille. And Brad did good, real good.
The movie moves at a clipping pace...except when there's a character establishing monologue. No one attends a movie like this to hear actors talk so these scene slow the pace dramatically and feel like a hindrance. Even the bad-assery of Jeremy freaking Renner can't sell it completely because so little of his character is established, though he does come out strongest.
The character of Ethan Hunt, as formerly established in the three prior titles of this series, is a little more worn down by the system. It's a welcome change but doesn't prevent him from doing some amazing feats all in the service of retrieving the film's mcguffin. Yes, Cruise has the action man run down so well that other action stars will pale in comparison. I could watch his tiny form, clad in designer duds, run with whooshing arms all day long. If only I didn't have to have his 'acting' inflicted upon me. It isn't that Cruise is bad, just bland.
Paula Patton (Jane) plays the token female agent with a sexy figure and a mean right hook. Unlike many actresses kicking butt in Hollywood these days, Patton looks like she could actually take down some bad guys. She's striking, she's strong and she grounds the character well within the confines of what she's been given.
Renner (Brandt) performs well with some lovely comedic bits with Pegg, and also with the physical aspects. If this is a glimpse at what a new MI led vehicle might be, then I am on board. Pegg is typically great but they don't stretch him beyond his comedic sidekick role.
Action takes place in Russia, Dubai and Mumbai which allows Bird's eye to wander over some truly impressive landscapes. Dubai, in particular, might not have been seen this way before (as captured by US filmakers) and at times I did feel a rush of vertigo.
The inclusion of some snafu's were most welcome bringing complications that made sense and press the team to be creative. While the action scenes are impressive and show off Cruise's grace, it smells decidedly of narcissism. He's 50 and he can still run, jump and bash up the bad guys like the best of 'em...I get it. I just think that Renner looks better in a suit (don't get me started on Cruise's weirdly muscley and grotesque torso - put the shirt back on, man!)
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is enormous fun, slightly shallow and visually impressie. Credit to Brad Bird, cinematographer Robert Elswit and fight coordinator Robert Alonzo.
Also, a quick shout out to Josh Holloway who demonstrates there is much more to his repertoire than quips.
Release Date: December 16, 2011
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: Brad Bird
Screenwriter/s: Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Vladimir Mashkov, Michael Nyqvist, Josh Holloway, Lea Seydoux, Anil Kapoor