Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Art & Culture

Brad Bird, who made The Incredibles, is the director for this fourth movie in the Cruise-driven franchise. I will merely mention that by comparison with The Incredibles, this is a film for children. Or at least the very simple-minded who like lots of explosions, silly disguises and techy nonsense, all wrapped up in a plot that makes less than no sense. It's all yours, boys.

Back in 1996, when the first Mission Impossible movie appeared, Tom Cruise was the biggest movie star in the world, and Simon Pegg was a 26 year old comedian who had just started his career. Fifteen years later, Cruise is not the biggest movie star in the world (though he still behaves as if he is), and Pegg is appearing in a film alongside him. How times change. Also part of the MI team are Paula Patton, a woman of stunning beauty but no great shakes as an actor, and Jeremy Renner, a man of stunning acting talent but no great beauty – which shows where Hollywood's priorities lie.

As I said, the plot is both preposterous and irrelevant. In the opening sequence, Cruise (pretending to be Steve McQueen) is sprung from a Russian prison by Pegg and Patton, and then they are sent on a mission to the Kremlin, but everything goes pear-shaped, and the Kremlin is blown up. Oops. The Russians are understandably miffed about their famous palace being destroyed and the US President has to pretend to be very cross with Tom and co, though secretly they are being told to go off and find the real bad guy, codename Cobalt. Disconcertingly, he is played by the guy who was Mikael Blomqvist in the original Girl With Dragon Tattoo, which is almost as odd as seeing Noomi Rapace in the second Sherlock Holmes film. His real name turns out to be Hendricks, and he is trying to blow up the world using Russian launch codes.

As a result of this annoying ambition, The MI squad, who have been joined by Brandt (Jeremy Renner) set off for a round the world tour with stops in Mumbai and Dubai (but not Morecambe Bai), trying to foil this dastardly villain who has a sneaky habit of wearing a disguise – as of course does Cruise. This makes for a lot of close but misleading encounters. And then there's the stunt stuff, with Tiny Tom scooting up and down the world's tallest building just to prove he's the toughest hombre in town, even though he's going to be 50 in 2012. Childish, yes; thrilling, not really. It's more like one of the lesser Bond films, full of action and yet achingly dull. No one gets hurt, no one has sex, and the main objects pf desire are electronic gadgets. In a sense it's the ultimate testament to western capitalism, whose main temple is Dubai. To buy or not to buy? Save your money.


Philip Raby

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