By Kyle St John Peters
From the word go, M:I-4 is a far less intense movie than the JJ Abrams’ predecessor. This is neither a pro nor a con, but simply a fact, to put you in the correct frame of mind. Brad Bird’s (The Incredibles) live action debut is a fun, globetrotting adventure with a great twisting and winding plot. This may in fact be the top film of the franchise.
The increased element of ‘team’ in this outing really makes the film shine, and although Cruise is still clearly the star, it has completely shaken the huge problem of the “Tom Cruise ‘one man army’ show” that destroyed M:I-2. It has the best supporting players out of all the films – Renner as a mysterious ‘analyst’, Pegg as the comic relief, Patton as… uh… the woman. Cruise is on top form once again (he really is the best cinematic runner we will ever see), despite his age beginning to show up in some of the shots, and it’s great to see him sharing much of the action with the ever watchable Jeremy Renner who really is beginning to make a massive name for himself.
This time around there is also an added mystery factor with some of the characters, most intriguingly with Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. Hunt was never the person who had secrets, so it is an interesting dynamic that Bird has added, creating a slight hint of mistrust within our leading man.
The Mission: Impossible films, of course, have always been about stupendous action, and this film more than succeeds on those terms. The entire Dubai section of the film, from the vertigo inducing building scene, to the double con culminating in an awesome sandstorm foot/car chase is absolutely outstanding. What is great, is that Brad Bird is first and foremost, a storyteller. The action is worked seamlessly into the narrative, never making you feel the ‘Matrix Reloaded’ syndrome of ‘action scene.talking.action scene.talking.’ It really has a great flow to it.
I would say, most importantly, the film makes you want to run. It makes you want to kick ass. It makes you want to jump off the tallest building in the world (with ropes of course) and do crazy aerial maneuvers. In short, it makes you feel like a kid again… and that is exactly what you want. Choose to accept it.