Directed by Brad Bird
Written by Josh Appelbaum & Andre Nemec
The Mission: Impossible series, based on an older television series I have never seen, has had a strange history. When it started in the mid-90s it started with a bang and the first installment was great fun. But the releases after that first one have been sporadic in their timing as well as their quality. But I was still excited to learn that a new one was in the works and long time animation director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) was set to handle the affair. The cast was also an attraction for the film, featuring the booming stardom of Jeremy Renner, the comic relief of Simon Pegg, the undeniable beauty of Paula Patton, and of course the movie star Tom Cruise back as Ethan Hunt.
The film begins with Hunt (Cruise) in prison in Russia, but the IMF are working to get him out because there is trouble brewing on the outside. It is learned that a baddie by the name of Cobalt (Michael Nyqvist) is working to secure launch codes and a launching device for a nuclear missile. His plan is to incite global war between America and Russia, and it is the job of Hunt’s team to stop his sinister plan. But there is a hitch in the plan when the Kremlin explodes during the IMF’s mission to recover information concerning Cobalt. The explosion is pinned on the team and the entire IMF is disavowed, which means the team must work independently and under no circumstances can they get caught, or fail.
To start I need to address Tom Cruise. He is a wacko, I agree mostly on that one, but I feel like his presence on screen and his movie stardom is pretty much undeniable. He has a way about him and I will probably never lose my interest in seeing his movies. He is just an awesome actor, especially in these types of blockbuster action movies. He is definitely one of the strengths here as is the rest of the cast which fill in around him quite nicely and make for a great ride altogether. And it is an action packed film. So action packed in fact that I am surprised it was not released as a summer blockbusting popcorn flick. A December release just seems strange for a film like this, but I do welcome it.
The action was from start to finish and I was impressed with Brad Bird’s handling of it all. There are some truly amazing sequences and the film drips cool off the screen between the stunts and gadgets. For that reason it really reminded me of the Bond series which I know and love so much. The plot is rather shallow, generic and thin with the main villain and his henchmen barely getting enough screentime or attention to be able to even remember them very much. Another weakness of the film was the strange tone that wavered throughout. It was not enough to detract from my enjoyment at the end of the day, but was something I noticed. The comedic relief was welcomed, but its placement most of the time felt a bit off. One minute the situation is dire and extremely tense and then the next they are cracking jokes.
I definitely appreciated the style of the film, and even the couple call backs to previous films in the series, even when they were unnecessary. But what fuels this film is the action and the actors alone. There is not much substance to grab hold of here and that might be a product of it being the screenwriters first script on the big screen. Brad Bird and company do a good job of bringing it all together in a very entertaining manner. And on a final note, I did see this in IMAX and it was truly amazing. IMAX is definitely the way to go whenever given the opportunity, and knowing that parts of the film were done specifically with IMAX in mind, it is obvious they did a bang up job. The sound and picture are spectacular, even if some of the fighting sound effects are a bit obvious in the picture. My final word is simply that the film is a lot of action fun, not much more than that, but in some cases it doesn’t ever need to be more than that.