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By Tom Glasson
December 18, 2011
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By Tom Glasson
December 18, 2011
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When it comes to the world of action movies we’re now living in the year 9AB (After Bourne) – a dark and gritty reality characterised by nebulous morality, sympathetic villains and brooding heroes who’ll punch you in the face if you ever call them a hero. Championed by the likes of Paul Greengrass they’re films driven by complex plots and sweeping character arcs where the occasional shaky action sequence almost feels like a reluctant concession made by the director. Without a doubt they’ve helped revitalise a genre that had come perilously close to ridicule in the wake of such abominations as Die Another Day, however for all their positives the one thing they collectively lack is that indispensable sense of fun.

That’s where Tom Cruise comes in.

Say what you like about the man’s personal life, he rarely fails to deliver when it comes to movies and his latest offering is no exception. It’s almost paradoxically an old-school action flick filled with ultra-modern, hi-tech wizardry and the most refreshing part of all is how it refuses to take itself too seriously.

The first clue comes with its choice of director, Brad Bird, whose previous works included Disney/Pixar’s exceptional The Incredibles, Ratatouille and even a few episodes of the Simpsons. Then there’s Simon Pegg reprising his role as the awkward but well-intentioned techy ‘Benji’; a fan favourite whose promotion to fulltime field agent provides the film with a constant stream of laughs. Lastly there’s Cruise himself: actor, producer, smiler — he does it all in Ghost Protocol and always with the kind of unbridled enthusiasm you’d expect reserved for a person appearing in their first ever film.

As the fourth instalment in the now 16 year-old Mission Impossible franchise, Ghost Protocol doesn’t stray too far from the familiar. When a mission in Moscow is sabotaged and the Kremlin’s nuclear launch codes are stolen, super spy Ethan Hunt and his team once again find themselves disavowed by the US Government and forced to save the world on their own (a plot device used in all but one of the four films). Filmed in Russia, India and Dubai the stunts are spectacular, the action is thrilling and the technology is as mesmerising as it is terrifyingly believable.

Ghost Protocol is a slick, exciting and terrifically entertaining movie that unashamedly pushes plausibility to the very extreme without straying into farce. Cruise and his team have served up a classic action movie here, not in the least because it is so damned fun to watch.

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