Thursday 29 December 2011

275: Review - Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol MI4 poster

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
28th December 2011. Location: Cinema

I recently watched/re-watched instalments 1-3 of the M:I franchise in preparation for this. They're over on my Facebook review album, but I've posted them under this review as well. Because I watched them in rapid succession, I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting a lot from M:I:4...

...which, this year has taught me, seems to be the key to enjoyment. Ghost Protocol surprised me pleasantly. It's not without its foibles, certainly, but it's entertaining, and it's tight. As the things I enjoyed slowly disintegrated in the first three, Cruise/Abrams have gone some way to getting back to form, here.

Once again, the IMF is proved to be one of the most abysmal employers in the world. It seems as soon as you get to office level, it's apparently full of fuckwits. The film itself, however, is way better than your job prospects with those fools. It doesn't try to be twisty-turny, and it doesn't try to be confusing. With the central thread being a lunatic trying to destroy the world (yeah, like Bond used to do), the plot is linear and well expositioned (a little too well at times, but infrequently), and the explosions never overshadow the cast. Which is a compliment, as there are a lot of explosions. I could probably have done without a lot of the humour, but this is largely down to Simon Pegg being cast to play Simon Pegg™. Don't get me wrong, Simon Pegg is great at playing Simon Pegg™, but there are few films that need that. Still, as with the explosions, it doesn't overturn the cart and the rest of the cast are earnest enough to balance it out. The eyebrow raising thing for me was the technology on display. They seem to have learned from before (see my mini review for MI2, below), and rather than use gadgets that will be outdated in five years, have gone for gadgets that clearly can't exist in this day and age. That's fine, I'll take the second one.

You don't need me to tell you that the stunt and effects work is spot on (you can read that in greater detail in every other review), but what really struck a chord with me, and I can't quite believe I'm typing this, is the roundness of the acting on display. And I include Cruise in that. Yeah, I know. Given the absolute absurdity of the situations that all the characters find themselves in, this is bloody well played. Maybe not award-worthy, but everyone concerned keeps a straight face and acts like it matters. Which is the important thing. The end-sequence seems overly long, and with character appearances that the film could have quite happily done without, but by that point you're just catching your breath, so it doesn't spoil what's gone before.

So in terms of comparison, this almost comes close to the awesomeness that was Mission: Impossible. Alas, it doesn't feature David Schneider as a train driver, but it's still more coherent than M:I:3 and more tightly focused than M:I:2.

In other words, this is a good film and that makes me happy.


Not an extremely solid six, but definitely better than a five.

Mission: Impossible poster

Mission: Impossible
11th December 2011. Location: On a train between Torquay and Oxford

Been a long time since I watched this, and I'm catching up in advance of Ghost Protocol coming out in a few weeks.

I really enjoyed this. Not 'too' twisty, not 'too' dumb-actiony, not trying to be 'too' brainy. Add in a cast of familiar faces, and you're laughing. Even Cruise is bearable in here (oh come one, you know what I mean).

For an entry-level action thriller, you could do a lot worse.



Mission: Impossible 2 MI2 poster

Mission: Impossible 2
12th December 2011. Location: Home

Oh, John Woo. What are we going to do with you, eh? Talk about style over substance. With a more linear plotline, this film should pack way more of a punch than the first one. But Woo's wasted so much time with slo-mo, sunsets and smouldering glances, that it borders on 'slow' at times. Which is the exact thing that Woo DOESN'T want.

That said, it's still good fun, although the ensemble cast isn't quite as likeable this time around (that's down to my personal preferences, admittedly).

The other drawback is - tech ages. It ages badly. When Dougray Scott calculatingly slips a 32mb SD card into an envelope, you just want to laugh out loud (and especially 10 minutes later when you see the quality and resolution of the animated sequence that's supposed to be contained on that 32mb card).

This could be a very tight 90 minute action thriller. Instead, it's 120 minutes, and it's merely 'good'.



Mission: Impossible 3 poster

Mission: Impossible 3
16th December 2011. Location: Home

Kind of makes you wonder why you'd do that job, doesn't it? If my place had the track record of fucking over its employees that the IMF had, I'd have retired a LONG time ago. And yet, lovely naive Ethan Hunt still hasn't learnt. Ah, well.

And you know what I loved about the first M:I movie? You'd get a location title just saying "Langley". Not "Langley, Virginia", and not "Langley USA". It's left to the audience to work it out. False flattery, maybe, but M:I3 has "Rome, Italy", and "Shangai, China". In case we thought it might be the OTHER Rome with a Vatican in it.

Other thoughts:
• Too much shakycam. This isn't fucking Cloverfield, Abrams.
• The pacing's great apart from those stretches where I'm supposed to give a shit about Ethan (Cruise) Hunt's relationship status.
• Not a fan of that saccharine ending. No good-guy casualties? At all? Hmm.

It's good. Not great by any stretch, but good.


• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

1 comment:

  1. MI 4: Ghost Protocol gifts you a munificent entertainment by lurking your senses in for a sophisticated gizmo treat, peppered with flamboyant action brimming over Soviet-US suspicion of nuclear threat!!! Not raking in the moolah any smug stuff, MI 4 piques applause but more when Tom Cruise plays over ''Burj Khalifa''. Certainly with no plan, no backup Tom cruise and team eke out accomplishment alluringly !!!! Kudos ,thumbs up, Encore !!!!