Original review featured on the Doha Film Institute website.
It may well be a case of fourth time lucky for Mission Impossible as the latest installment of the spy series sees a stellar cast, stunts which take the protagonist Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) to Dubai and a dash of humour from actors who really know how to pull off comedy.
MI4 is director Brad Bird’s first action film and a successful departure from his comfort zone. He’s won two Oscars for the animations “Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles”, and now joins leading star and the film’s producer Tom Cruise to create this 2 hour and 13 minute adventure.
MI4 is based on the 1980s American television series with the same name that chronicled the missions of a team of secret American government agents known as the Impossible Missions Force (IMF).
Tom Cruise is back to his role as IMF Agent Hunt, who is first seen as carrying out an undercover operation in Moscow. Following a terrorist bombing at the Kremlin, the Russians consider this attack an act of war, prompting the United States government to initiate a black operation known as “ghost protocol”. The entire spy team is now forced to operate outside of their agency’s command without any kind of support, making this operation harder to sustain. Their goal is to locate the intelligence behind the Moscow bombing – in other words, the bad guys.
The brilliantly talented Philip Seymour Hoffman, who played Owen Davian in Mission Impossible 3, remains the most remarkable Russian antagonist. Michael Nyqvist, who is Hendricks in MI4, gives a worthy performance. But the anti-hero, which we’re used to seeing more of in this genre, is almost absent. The focus has shifted to more intense action scenes, sophisticated (yet not quite as high tech as 007’s style) gadgets and, of course, plenty of sports cars, making MI4, as it’s always been, a major platform for advertisement.
New elements, such as the inclusion of international celebrities separate this film from its predecessors. The legendary Indian actor Anil Kapoor makes an appearance and there is more humour, thanks to Simon Pegg, the English actor who plays a clumsy, geeky computer nerd operating on the ground.
And for viewers in the region, it’s difficult not to enjoy the highly anticipated scenes shot in the Middle East. Several were filmed in Dubai, and the city is mentioned frequently throughout the movie. Tom Cruise is seen jumping from Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, in his most dangerous stunt to date. The fearless actor, in interviews with local newspapers, said he wasn’t afraid of jumping but afraid of falling. The result is breathtaking, and surely a historical moment for the Gulf.
Watch as Tom Cruise performs his MAD stunt from Burj Khalifa.
Consequently, the film also premiered at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival.
Ten years ago, getting Tom cruise to film in the Middle East would have been a far-fetched possibility. Worse, we’d never have thought A-list stars would make it here. We are witnessing an unprecedented bridge of cultural exchange through film, where locations from the region are being considered by the producers of Hollywood blockbusters. To name a few, the Oscar winning film “Hurt Locker” was shot in Jordan, “Black Gold” starring Antonio Banderas was partially shot in Qatar and now MI4 in Dubai.
The action scenes are inventive, thrilling and more impressive than ever, the cast is sparkling and Tom Cruise is back to playing a character which suits him perfectly. We’ve seen him in a variety of roles recently and it will be interesting to watch his performance in the musical “Rock of Ages”, due for release this summer.
The film’s only drawback is its length. For this genre, more than two hours can be exhausting viewing and there are only so many explosions, crushed cars and chasing sequences one can watch in one sitting. But it doesn’t take away the charm of this popular franchise, which will most probably be another box-office hit worldwide.
It is now playing in Doha so take a dose of action during your extra-long weekend.