Tom Cruise returns as everybody’s third or fourth favourite spy film franchise hero, and this time the high jinks have never been higher. Carrying on from the narrative of Ghost Protocol Cruise is still hunting the syndicate (an organised anti-IMF terrorist group thing), only this time they are also looking for him.
The plot is far dense than that really, but despite having only seen it yesterday I cannot for the life of me remember what was happening. There is something about the prime minister, and a bit about a memory stick or something, but the fact of the matter is none of that is important. What is important is watching Tom Cruise dangle off a moving aeroplane, or holding his breath whilst dodging a mechanical arm, or driving a car backwards down some stairs, or fighting a guy with a flute on a balcony. The Mission Impossible franchise has always been about set pieces. And here they are better and more numerous than they have been before.
However, good set pieces do not a good movie make. Of course there is no character, no real story arc so you never really relate or attach yourself to the film. There is this barrier between you and the action so while you appreciate the stuntmanship and the imagination behind them you never really get swept away because you don’t really care what happens at the end of them. The exception to this rule is the one set piece that involves Simon Pegg, now his character is as two dimensional as everyone else’s but I have such a love for him as an actor that I do start to care. You as the viewer latch onto Simon Pegg’s key likeability (something incidentally that Tom Cruise lacks) and you care about him. But this is purely down to Simon Pegg, not the writing.
It is also far too long, in that I was engaged enough to sort of follow what was going on plot wise for the first 90 minutes. And it was always moving along at a fairly speedy pace, but there is a turning point at around 90 minutes when the whole film decides to get a little more serious and slows down a little. The effect being that you just kind of nod off. There is about a 25 minute long stretch of pure exposition, where no action occurs and we have to listen to Tom Cruise talking about memory sticks and double agents and other nonsensical stuff like that and I really lost patience at this point.
Overall, it’s your typical mission impossible entry. If you say the first one was too serious and thus boring, the second one was too ridiculous and thus boring, the third one was actually decent and the fourth was a pure snorefest. This one started off decent and then ended as a snorefest. But if Tom Cruise dangling from a moving plane (in real life!) sounds like your bag, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the first 90 minutes.