Four films in and you’d expect the pace to slow down a little, but this is Tom Cruise we’re talking about here. He’s nearly at the half-century milestone and is still willing to throw himself out of the tallest building in the world (and even recently climbing to the building’s peak, unharnessed!). The plot of the films hasn’t required extensive discussions over a few drinks after the cinema, they’re more of a catalyst for the big action set pieces. Ghost Protocol continues this tradition and pulls out of the hat some of the best set pieces in the series to date. For example, [minor spoiler] the recently disavowed IMF team suddenly need to hack into the mainframe of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Going through the front door isn’t possible, so instead it must be accessed from the outside. Cue vertigo-inducing acrobatics.
Brad Bird’s first live action feature really hits all the right notes, and the use of IMAX cameras for key scenes does a fantastic job at promoting this format. He could have easily used a CGI solution for the Burj Khalfia scene (given that he’s from an animation background, previously with Pixar’s The Incredibles). The rest of the action is very fluid, almost as if it drives the story itself. Every movement seems to have purpose.
It has its cheesy moments and a weak villain, but for the fourth film in a franchise it’s a solid entry. It proves they just don’t want make a quick buck at the box office, but push the limits of an action film to new limits.