Director: Brad Bird
Cast & Crew: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Josh Holloway, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Léa Seydoux , Anil Kapoor, Darren Shahlavi, Vladimir Mashkov
Synopsis: When a terrorist bombing destroys the Kremlin, the United States government initiates a black ops “ghost protocol“ and disavows the entire Impossible Mission Force. Ethan Hunt and his team are to be blamed for the attack, but are allowed to escape as part of a plan to enable them to operate in the dark, outside of their agency. However, Hunt is warned that if any member of his team is captured during their mission, they will be charged as terrorists planning to incite global nuclear war. Ethan is then forced to work with ex-IMF agent Brandt, who knows more about Hunt and his past than even Hunt himself.
Review: An animated action potboiler that is sure to mind numb even the most avid action movie watcher. The stunt-heavy film is both death and budget defying. Complete nirvana for an action buff as it fluctuates adrenalin levels with commendable twists in its crisply woven plot.
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt does precisely what he is expected to – runs like he was possessed, leaps like an agile bird, bashes faces unabashedly, violates traffic laws at ease and of course flashes that million dollar smile of his. An almost 50 heartthrob!
What’s remarkable is the simplicity underlying all the daredevilry. The action is mind-boggling and director Brad Bird retains this by underplaying the heroism. Cruise spells his mission with a silent subtlety. No over-the-top machismo. He seems like a man who is well versed with the demanding nature of his death inviting mission. Words seem like an intrusion because the action packed adventure directed by animation maverick Brad Bird is seriously animated fare.
But all the animation is layered in the slick body language and the wild stunts that the cast boldly executes. In the scale and the scope of the stunts, Brad Bird’s genius springs alive. His fourth film and first live action debut tells you a lot about why back in 1977 Walt Disney invited him to enroll for a mentoring program with them at a tender age of 14. Perhaps they intuitively knew the strength of his path-breaking imagination. One that makes Ethan withstand onslaughts like it was part and parcel of the daily grind life he seems keen to put up with. He makes him a contemporary superhero who lets his stunts speak for him. The fourth installment in the “Mission Impossible” franchise is definitely worth all the excitement that you have built within you, waiting to unleash it at the cinema nearest to you.
As for the story, here goes. Ethan Hunt is trapped in a Moscow prison for unknown reasons. His Impossible Mission Force Agents Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Jane Carter (Paula Patton) expertly rescue him and rush him next to infiltrate Kremlin, to quick track the bad guys down. But it’s a tad too late as a massive explosion rocks the place and the IMF is blamed for it. The IMF Secretary (Tom Wilkinson) informs Hunt just in time that the President has invoked “Ghost Protocol “ and disabled the IMF in the wake of this disaster. In an urgent bid Hunt, Dunn and Carter , accompanied by Agent Brandt (Jeremy Renner) are on the run to track down the original culprit cum bad guy Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist), a cold blooded nuclear extremist, from starting a nuclear war between Russia and US. The mastermind behind the Kremlin blast which actually involved him escaping at Cruises expense after his theft of a Russian nuclear launch device. Hendricks believes that the world will be at peace if it succumbs itself to nuclear annihilation. Let’s just say he is a doomsday specialist. The manic hunt for him called for some serious globetrotting that takes the IMF team from Russia to Dubai and finally Mumbai.
Bird ensures there is an action overdose in each of these destinations. But one worth mentioning is Ethan climbing the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world, eventually dangling from it with one suction-cupped glove is just spectacularly shot. It’s a virtual near death experience. It will definitely compel your jaws to take a bow before its magnitude. Even the climax where Hunt and Hendricks battle it out in a high-tech parking garage, brilliantly recreates Play Station impact onscreen. A lot like a gaming gig, it feels like it’s been sequenced by a live action game remote.
For all the hoopla surrounding Anil Kapoor’s role in the film, it is hardly worth a mention, it’s a ten minute cameo where he plays a sleazy Indian tycoon Brij Nath, a crucial link to Hendrick who eventually gets seduced and effortlessly bashed by Paula Patton, in a bid to fulfill the last challenge of the impromptu mission. His role can best be described as demeaning and an atypical foolish projection of all things Indian. An unfair but a longstanding oriental trend that surfaces time and again in Hollywood. A far cry from the weightage he received in Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” in which he shared some serious screen space with the cast. He seemed like a silly prop used simply to propel the story forward. Mumbai folks will love the way Cruise leaps ahead of our rush hour traffic, reducing vehicles to standby road toys, almost fulfilling our fantasy onscreen.
Cruise yet again proves that even the most mind boggling and earth shattering action is simply cakewalk for him. The only thing that changes is the suaveness of the gadgets assisting him in all the series. I think it’s unfair to compare it to any of the previous parts since this comes in a league of its own. It’s definitely on par with the part 1 in its sheer magnitude is all I can truly say. Since every sequel has been creatively led by a new director, each like this one expresses a unique flavor of its own.
Kudos to Brad Bird who has previously bagged the best animated feature Oscars with his “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille”. In his first action flick, he blends in both, the commercial and the critically uplifting facets that go into creating good cinema. He hammers you with unconventional stunts and the smart alec strategy. The film is completely worth the nerve shaking stupor it can induce, simply with all its slick action gimmicks.
Verdict: Action-packed, suavely creative edge of the seat spy thriller