Sadly having nothing to do with Tom Cruise’s team of super-secret spies engaging in diplomatic relations with spooky spirits, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol looks to be more of the same, only more awkwardly punctuated. Granted, there are a few new signs of the times: For one thing, the trailer gives almost equal weight to Jeremy Renner, rumored to be the one to inherit the franchise once Cruise’s Ethan Hunt finally lands a mission that is, in fact, impossible. (Sadly, the film’s other headline-grabbing new recruit, Lost’s Josh Holloway, is only briefly glimpsed.) There’s also a bombastic Eminem soundtrack, letting you know in contemporary terms that Cruise and Co. are back to shoot to kill, brain-dead rims, yeah, stupid wheels, etc.
But most importantly, M:I 4 marks the live-action debut of animation guru Brad Bird, who so far seems well-suited to staging the sort of cartoonish explosions and narrow escapes that typify the brand. Otherwise, there’s plenty of reassuring familiarity here, with Cruise climbing tall things, Cruise dropping down things on wires, Cruise running away from exploding things, plus plenty of kicking people, double-crossing agents, sleek sports cars, equally sleek ladies, Simon Pegg adding muttering comic relief, etc. In this case, more of the same may not be so bad.