Cruise himself, as I mentioned, goes beyond the call of duty to ensure moviegoers are thrilled—most notably doing his own stunt-work scaling the tallest building in the world: Dubai's impressive Burj Khalifa. The impact is undoubtedly reduced sans IMAX, or even a regular cinema screen, but simply knowing Cruise was genuinely abseiling up those vertiginous heights earns the man my utmost respect. Nothing in MI:4 manages to top that midway Dubai sequence, which neatly dovetails into a high-speed car chase during an ill-timed sandstorm, but you're rarely five minutes away from another entertaining set-piece. It's also a funnier movie than previous instalments, given more of an Ocean's Eleven vibe at times, mainly thanks to Pegg's increased presence as the IMF's "Q" with a puppy's enthusiasm for being a field agent.
|I will catch me a mutant turtle...|
For my money MI:4's better than the previous sequels (although I do prefer the more personal stakes for Ethan in MI:III with his girlfriend in peril) but it's still a world away from the levelheaded approach taken by Brian De Palma in 1995's original. Since that first outing, the franchise has gotten progressively crazier and joyful, so it's down to personal taste which approach you prefer. But in a movie landscape where rivals Bourne and Bond are doggedly chasing realism now, I think it's clever for the Mission: Impossible's to embrace being rollicking good adventures to guzzle popcorn to in the dark.
directed by Brad Bird / written by Josh Applebaum & André Nemec (based on the TV series by Bruce Geller) / starring Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner & Paula Patton / Paramount Pictures / 135 mins.