Tom born to do this

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH Now show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas

EVEN when it hits a flat spot, Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble – Ghost Pro­to­col is never less than good.

And when it re­ally picks up the pace, a gen­uinely great ac­tion movie bursts to the fore. And if you check your records, there haven’t been too many of those in the past year, has there?

While Ghost Pro­to­col is as jumpy and tech- ob­sessed as its pre­de­ces­sors, there is a lean­ness and mean­ness at its core that tran­scends all ear­lier MI ef­forts.

The starker tone of the new film, which puts it closer in feel to Matt Da­mon’s Bourne ad­ven­tures, is es­tab­lished im­me­di­ately with an elec­tri­fy­ing ex­tended open­ing se­quence.

The ac­tion be­gins in the heart of Moscow, where vet­eran IMF agent Ethan Hunt ( Cruise) is serv­ing time in a grotty max­i­mum se­cu­rity prison.

How Hunt came to be there is of lit­tle im­por­tance to the plot. What is im­por­tant is how the IMF will bust him out of this hell­hole.

With long- serv­ing com­puter whiz Benji Dunn ( Si­mon Pegg, the sole sup­port­ing holdover from past MI pro­duc­tions) call­ing the shots and the weapon- wield­ing new­bie Jane Carter ( Paula Pat­ton) fir­ing them, Ethan Hunt is soon back in the spy busi­ness.

And then just as quickly, out of busi­ness once more.

Again, the why and how is barely ad­dressed here. All you need to know is that the Krem­lin has been blown to smithereens and Hunt, Dunn and Carter have been fin­gered with the blame.

Forced to go rogue to clear their names, Hunt’s small team – now bol­stered by a shad­owy IMF field an­a­lyst named Brandt ( Jeremy Ren­ner) – sneaks down to the Mid­dle East money mecca of Dubai.

An­other ma­jor set- piece ac­tion se­quence un­folds, ex­e­cuted with such high- cal­i­bre, ver­tigo- in­duc­ing pre­ci­sion that the film could end right there and no viewer would feel short- changed.

In the in­ter­ests of keep­ing every­thing spoiler- free, I’ll sim­ply men­tion you will be­come all too fa­mil­iar with the win­dows on the 123rd floor of the world’s tallest build­ing ( the fa­mous Burj Khal­ifa sky­scraper).

From here, it is on to a sat­is­fac­tory self- com­bust­ing cli­max in the In­dian me­trop­o­lis of Mum­bai, and Ghost Pro­to­col ’ s work is done.

It is only once the af­ter­shocks sub­side that you re­alise the en­tire film has been spent evenly among its three pri­mary lo­ca­tions. The stunt work, spe­cial ef­fects and com­bat chore­og­ra­phy are all first­class, and negate any real need for finely tuned script­ing or act­ing.

Speak­ing of per­for­mances, Cruise’s many de­trac­tors will find him in the most bear­able form he has been in for ages. A lot of that needy show- of­fery is gone, sig­nalling Tommy Boy may still have some good stuff on the way in the years to come.

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