Review by John Campbell
The most praiseworthy thing to be said about franchise-flicks is that you know exactly what to expect from them. The new MI delivers handsomely on its promise of thrills and spills, chases and punch-ups, brain-breaking plot contortions and ratbag heroics, throwing in for good measure glossy travelogue shoots in London, Vienna and Casablanca. So what do we have to complain about? Well, nothing really. It is what it is and I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Watching Tom Cruise as the indestructible Ethan Hunt is a grotesque fascination in itself – is Cruise a real human being? – and this time out his jaw-grinding bravado is thankfully tempered by the presence of Simon Pegg’s less macho Agent Dunn. The movie opens, in fact, with a very funny scene in which the lads stooge around trying to release smuggled cargo from a terrorist’s plane while it’s in flight. The episode suggests a more light-hearted approach might follow and if Cruise’s colossal ego will not allow for too much leave-taking the overall tone is not quite so testosterone laden as is normally the case. The delightful Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust (a Flemingesque name if ever there were one) also contributes to this, as do the reliably quirky Simon McBurney and everybody’s favourite boofhead, Alec Baldwin, as the CIA guy.
Hunt’s aim is to find a microchip that, in the hands of the villainous Syndicate, will threaten all that is proper and right in the world. Technology, an increasingly significant factor in such scenarios ever since Q and his gadgets entered the Bond series way back when, plays its dazzling part, but inevitably it is the high-voltage action sequences that are what it’s all about. Here they are typically prolonged, but director Christopher McQuarrie handles them with brilliant precision – the backstage fight at the Vienna Opera House is a textbook example of rapid-fire editing and climax building. Twists and double-crosses add to the fun – if you’re willing to go with the flow.