I’ll start where the movie starts, Budapest. It’s one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to, and the opening shot over the parliament building captures it perfectly. We then get our introduction to the story. Having only ever seen the original Mission: Impossible, I can assure you that there’s no need for context. You’re going to get it very quickly. A few bodies later, and we’re straight to the point: Tom Cruise being a badass with a nice cast of backup characters including the always funny Simon Pegg as Benji.
Directed by Brad Bird (Writer/Director for Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and The Iron Giant among other things) in his first live-action movie, it nails everything down tight. Can we talk about smooth? This movie had some sort of witchcraft that made it so that transitions were completely effortless. Other action movies are like when you play the game Mousetrap. You set it up, but you didn’t set it up quite right. It takes a little bit of human hands to make it work. MI was like the commercial for Mousetrap, it just worked, and it makes it look so easy. We go though such a number of challenges to global safety, threats of defeat, tech failures, car chases, and explosions to fill three action movies, but in the right hands, it just all clicks.
And that brings me to the pacing of the movie. Fantastic. MI puts you through your paces, but recognizes that sometimes you need to cool it off just enough to build a bit of suspense. My cousin who I saw the movie with had just been telling me about this app called RunPee which alerts you when it’s the best time to use the bathroom during a movie. MI only had two spots which they recommended you could skip out on. One of those scenes was a few minutes of the bad guys shooting at things underwater.
So this movie has it all. Pretty people, cool gadgets, good humor, and awesome title sequence (not quite as good as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but more on that later) loads of action, but more importantly smart pacing of said action. If you want to understand why we have so many sub-par actions movies, it’s because movies like this (and Die Hard) make them so enjoyable to watch. And I’m sorry for this, but I feel obliged: Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to go and see Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Trust me, it’s an enjoyable and easy mission.