Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - Imax Review

'presented in seat-shuddering, next-door-neighbour bothering Imax'

After J.J. Abrams pulled the Mission: Impossible franchise back from the gutter where John Woo's Mission: Impossible II had left in back in 2000, this fourth outing for the big screen series, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, returns to standard sequel lore; bigger, better, louder, longer. In fact, in most of those cases, Ghost Protocol displays a materialistic ethos to adhering to the sequelised concept. Brad Bird's film is presented in seat-shuddering, next-door-neighbour bothering Imax and, despite the hugely inflated ticket prices, the unfeasibly large screen does add something to the action spectacle of an M:I film.

Other than Tom Cruise's ever-present Ethan Hunt, the only returning member from Abrams' version of the Impossible Missions Force is Simon Pegg's Benji Dunn, a character decision that begs the question... why? Whilst Benji may have been effective as light comic relief in III, here he is ineffective, attempting to combine that role with the mantra of assured field agent, something which Pegg is ill-suited for. New IMF member Jane Carter (Paula Patton) brings significantly more to the gun-toting party, adding both heart and intelligence to the character offerings.

Even Carter though is upstaged by William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) whose inclusion and ultimate link to the M:I canon forms a perfect bit of scripting by writers Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec. Brandt and Hunt ultimately form the film's emotional apex, something which feels like a break from tradition and a nice change in pace given the familial mechanics of Abrams' film. The failing point of this though is the conclusion. If this was the film that was meant to hand the franchise over to Renner from Cruise - as rumoured pre-opening night - then it singularly fails to do so whilst equally leaving Brandt in a position which makes it difficult to imagine him returning as just another subordinate.

It's not the only character-led miss step which Bird falls for. Sabine Moreau (Léa Seydoux) is a weak and unconvincing assassin, Anil Kapoor is the anonymous 'multimillionaire playboy' stereotype writ large. More troublesome than those though, and certainly most damaging to the film is Michael Nyqvist's villain. Nyqvist - much more comfortable as Eastern-European terrorist here than debonair journalist in the Dragon Tattoo series - does well but his character is thinly motivated and underdeveloped and, particularly at the end, he finds himself forced to undergo the classical villain transfer; from slightly overweight geek-with-knowledge to hard-kicking Jean Claude Van Damme impersonator.

Passable enough entertainment but hardly the lesson in franchise building it should have been, post-Abrams' involvement. Also bears the dubious honour of being a film which suggests anything and everything is possible as long as you purchase a couple of Apple's more famous products.

Look further...

'Bird takes one look at M:I’s live-action jazz standard and wonders what it would be like to draw all over it' - Kinnemaniac


  1. I personally loved MI4 although the Apple product placements were a little too in-your-face for my liking!

    1. The lesson of the film is definitely, 'buy Apple products: become Ethan Hunt'.