Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93% (Critics) / 88% (Audience)
Directed By: Brad Bird
Written By: Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg
Studio: Paramount Studios
Synopsis: When the IMF is shut down and blamed for a terrorist attack on Russia, Ethan Hunt and his team go rogue in order to clear their names and stop a nihilistic scientist from starting a nuclear holocaust.
The Good: It is sometimes easy to forget how good Tom Cruise is as an action star. He very easily slips back into the skin of Ethan Hunt and plays him with a combination of devil may care attitude, intense determination and an air of world weary heartache that makes the character seem more alive in this film than in any of the previous movies. The rest of his IMF team is also very well cast. Jeremy Renner skillfully plays a role that has the audience guessing just where his allegiances truly lie, Simon Pegg is all goofball, tech nerd charm and Paula Patton is excellent as the smart, hard as nails Jane Carter.
Brad Bird is a major revelation as the director of this film. Bird has already proven that he is a master of animated storytelling with THE IRON GIANT and THE INCREDIBLES but he put together some truly innovative and suspenseful live-action scenes in this movie with the standout being Cruise’s perilous climb up the outside of the Burj Khalifa building using just a pair of experimental magnetic gloves. The way Bird shot this sequence was stellar. Bird also showed a knack for exhilarating fight and chase scenes. If this is what he is capable of with live action films then I am really looking forward to what he has planned next.
Movies like this usually live or die based on the quality of the primary villain. Luckily for MI:GP everything else about the film was so good that the lackluster villain was an obstacle that was easily overcome. Michael Nyqvist’s Hendricks did not work for me…he was too understated a villain for such a “big” movie. I would have liked to see Hendricks expanded and focused on more because what we were shown of him was sorely lacking.
The appalling lack of screen time for Ving Rhames.
Final Verdict: MI:GP is the best action movie of 2011 and Brad Bird is going to be justifiably in demand as live action director after the amazing job he did with this movie. The actors were top notch, the characters were all interesting, the action was stylish and engaging…MI:GP was a really good time at the cinema. A-