Forget Cruise control, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is out of control - in a good way. While most action franchises begin to lose traction the later they linger, the Mission: Impossible series has found a whole new gear. IMF (Impossible Mission Force) agent Ethan Hunt has been AWOL after the `end' of his marriage, but he can't turn down a mission to thwart the schemes of end game theorist turned nuclear extremist Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist). His plan quite literally explodes in his face when he and his new team are implicated in the bombing of the Moscow Kremlin and America edges closer to nuclear war. With the IMF shut down and enforcing ghost protocol, Hunt and company go rogue to clear their organisations name and, naturally, save the world.
This is the first live action film from director Brad Bird who previously made a name for himself with Pixar hits such as Ratatouille and The Incredibles. Bird clearly has an eye for visual flair and he makes a seamless transition into the big budget sphere with what is an entertaining and action-packed blockbuster. And the action really is packed to the brink. This the first of the Mission: Impossible films to have any continuity, which is nice change because you're not spending the first 15 minutes wondering what happened to the hot brunette. Add to that two hours of some the most exciting, thrilling and daring action sequences ever caught on film. Ethan Hunt launches himself into the league of our favourite cinematic super spies - such as James Bond and Jason Bourne - as he chases baddies in a sandstorm or scales the world's tallest building in Dubai. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get through the latter scene without biting away your finger nails.What the Mission: Impossible franchise had been lacking was a sense of humour and that's something J.J Abrams (Alias, Lost, Star Trek) brought when he stepped in to direct the third outing. In an executive producer role for MI4, Abrams continues to bring the funny in everything from chuckle-worthy one-liners to subtle Bruce Springsteen shout outs. The cast in the Mission: Impossible films has always been great, but this time it's exceedingly so. Besides a small cameo from stalwart Ving Rhames and Michelle Monaghan, it's a host of fresh faces making up Hunt's new team including Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner as an analyst/agent, Paula Patton as the token femme fatale and Simon Pegg returning as the technicians expert.
Fresh off playing a crime-fighting journalist in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, Swedish talent Michael Nyqvist appears in his second big Hollywood villain role for 2011 after a commendable turn in the cringe-worthy Abduction. Nyqvist has a lot more room to move here and is beyond convincing as the single-minded villain bent on a nuclear holocaust. Cruise does his part, remaining cool and buff in front of a wall of explosions, but Renner and Pegg bring a joyful energy to the set-up providing comic relief and playful banter. And Paula Patton, well, what can be said about her other that PHWOAR! Patton is all woman as a heartbroken yet fierce IMF agent and she gets one of the best fight scenes in the film against French beauty Léa Seydoux. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol closes with the open-ended possibility of another film and after the adrenaline-pulsing fourth outing, audiences will be hoping a fifth is more than possible. MI4 proves this is a franchise that won't self destruct in five minutes.Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is out Thursday.