Starring: Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner
Directed By: Brad Bird
Ghost Protocol surges close to the complex spy shenanigans and intricate set pieces of the original film but comes up frustratingly short overall. Yet, even if this feels less a complete story and more an extended episode of television, it is still enjoyably daft fare with enough sci-fi tech and desirable clobber to keep you cooing until the credits.
Even with Tom Cruise’s star draw as agent Ethan Hunt, the Mission: Impossible movies have always been about the team. Mainly because Ethan is not nearly as interesting a spy as James Bond or Jason Bourne, a point reflected by his choice of attire. Ethan sports a portable wardrobe of changing trends (v-neck sweater and leather jacket from Greenwich market in 1996, tight Levis and stretch jersey shirt in 2011) plus many elaborate disguises, which thankfully Ghost Protocol dispenses with almost entirely. He is refreshingly inconsistent in terms of look, although this can make it difficult to lock down a stable, familiar silhouette for the character.
Michael Kaplan’s (Fight Club, Burlesque) costume design for Ghost Protocol goes some way to addressing this point. He introduces a reoccurring motif of Ethan Hunt hidden beneath a hooded sweater or jacket, hunched over with his hands in his pockets. Now Ethan lurks in the shadows, waiting, adapting, ready to strike in yet another snappily orchestrated Brad Bird orchestrated break in or beat down.
Despite a 1960s vibe with costume, very sharp and smooth; think notched lapels and trenchcoats, Ghost Protocol resembles a seventies era Bond film. It is silly and for the most part exciting. Glamour quota is pushed up to eye-popping levels by Paula Patton, new and capable member of the Impossible Missions Force. Her almost bungled seduction attempt wearing a beautifully cut green ball gown is amusingly played and staged. Like everything else in Ghost Protocol this sequence is dependent on initiating without a hitch and then suddenly going disastrously wrong. Best example of said concept: Cruise playing Spider-Man on the side of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, when his ‘sticky gloves’ fail.
Ghost Protocol is solid action cinema that thanks to several thrilling, if over long set pieces, plus a healthy sense of irony is almost on a par with the first film. A sequel is as guaranteed as an increase in sunglasses sales after glimpsing Cruise brooding in his Persols. Never mind the shrug inducing introduction of Jeremy Renner’s (agent?) Brandt, providing Paula Patton is back on board we will be too.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is released in the U.S. on 16th December (IMAX) and in the UK on Boxing Day.
© 2011 – 2012, Chris Laverty.