Romania Insider Film Review: Mission: Impossible 4- Ghost Protocol
Enjoying, or not enjoying, a film has a lot to do with expectation. And that's worth bearing in mind with Mission: Impossible 4, Ghost Protocol. Going in wanting James Bond or Jason Bourne will lead to disappointment. Out this weekend in Romania, the fourth installment of the Tom Cruise franchise has a difficult job to do, if for no other reason than it is number four in the series. Even the mighty Godfather faltered at the third film. Alien 4 resurrection would have been a perfect title if 'failed' was inserted after the '4'. The Matrix went from fantastic to abysmal at an exponential rate over the three parts, and the list goes on. But then we live in the franchise age of film and there are notable successes, too many to be the exceptions that prove the rule.
The latest outing for Ethan Hunt and his team is definitely a Tom Cruise affair, he produced the film and picked Brad Bird of Ratatouille and The Incredibles fame for directing duties. An interesting choice given Bird's background in animated films. Director of Mission Impossible 3, JJ Abrams returns as a producer and the cast features faces old and new. Simon Pegg reprises his Benji Dunn role and Michael Nyqvist from the film adaptions of Steig Larrson's books and Anil Kapoor, best known to western audiences for Slumdog Millionaire, join a quality cast.
This is out and out action. At its best Mission: Impossible 4 is all about high speed rolling sequences, cool gadgets, amazing locations and a fun, slightly retro feeling. [pullquote]The film doesn't take itself too seriously, which is a saving grace. [/pullquote]Tom Cruise is not everybody's cup of tea, but he is right up among Hollywood’s most successful for a good reason- he can do the job. His performance is well judged and deftly done throughout, he doesn't overplay it, the comedy double act scenes with Simon Pegg are pitch perfect and definitely provide some of the film's most likeable moments. That said, the dialogue is in places utterly banal or teeth gnashingly awful. Moments of intended emotional intensity, particularly those involving the female lead, Paula Patton, fail every time. The complex subject of avenging the death of a loved one is handled in a few seconds with a phrase along the line 'You can never bring them back'.
But leaving that aside the film is a great experience – the self destructing messages, the souped up version of the theme music and the high octane chase across continents are tried and tested but very effective. [pullquote]The Dubai scenes with Tom Cruise climbing up the vertiginous Burj Khalifa (in picture) then chasing disguised mad scientist arch enemy Michael Nyqvist through a sandstorm and a souk are hugely enjoyable.[/pullquote] Sabine Moreau's female assassin is suitably sultry, sexy and lethal and the early scene with a disguised Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg sneaking into the Kremlin is a gem.
Overall this film is a lot of fun, as long as it is taken for what it is – a slightly retro action romp, whenever it wanders into other territory weak points appear, but they are mercifully short enough to overlook.
Mission: Impossible 4, Ghost Protocol opens this weekend across Romania. Check here the list of cinemas where it runs.
Liam Lever, firstname.lastname@example.org
(photo source: Mission Impossible website)