With the visual haymaker that was Ghost Protocol still reverberating in our brain sockets, we cannot wait to see the next installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. And with the Burj-Khalifa-sized stack of cash the film pulled in, it’s only a matter of time before the studio puts the next one into motion. Unfortunately, it was recently announced that Ghost Protocol director Brad Bird would not be returning to direct the fifth film. While this was disappointing, considering the bang-up job he did on M:I-GP, the Mission: Impossible franchise has been a revolving door of diverse directing voices, each putting their individual mark upon the franchise. With that in mind, the question as to who will take the reigns for the next chapter becomes a fascinating, limitless discussion. If I may, I’d like to submit The Raid: Redemption’s Gareth Evans as the ideal candidate. Here’s why…
Evans Can Direct The Hell Out of Action
If there is one thing that Ghost Protocol accomplished for the Mission: Impossible it was upping the standard for its action sequences. That scene high above Dubai, especially projected in IMAX, left audiences cringing in suspense. You know what other movie had viewers cringing during its action sequences? That’s right, The Raid: Redemption. Now obviously we’re comparing two different styles of action, but the fact of the matter is that Gareth Evans not only knows how to craft incredible moments of eye-popping violence, he also knows precisely how shoot them so as to give the audience the full scope and impact of each fight, gunshot, and explosion. Just watch the shot in which the camera follows two combatants as they fall from a window and you’ll know what I mean.
The original Mission: Impossible series was all about the team. For the first two films, it was entirely the Tom Cruise show. J.J. Abrams’ third installment started to work in this direction, but it wasn’t until Ghost Protocol that things felt more evenly balanced across all members of the IMF. The Raid: Redemption has a similar structure. In the end, it is about our protagonist officer, but there is a definite team dynamic in the movie and arguably one of the best fights in The Raid: Redemption does not involve the lead character at all: that of the squad leader and a vicious kung-fu killer. Evans understands this balancing act and would have no trouble continuing this favorable trend within the Mission: Impossible franchise.
You couldn’t possibly make a film bearing the name Mission: Impossible without building in plot points involving objectives that were miles outside the realm of conceivable success. In the M:I franchise so far, these missions always seem to involve Tom Cruise flying through the air or otherwise putting himself at great risk of falling to his death. But equally impossible is the mission to scale an apartment tower controlled by a ruthless gangster, which also happens to be packed to the rafters with murderous scumbags. Evans, who also wrote The Raid: Redemption, knows how to create and adeptly pace insane undertakings and I would love to see what obstacles he could construct for Ethan Hunt and his crew. Plus, given that he was able to put together such a gripping, impossible mission entirely within one setting, I can’t imagine what he would be able to do should he be given the chance to stretch out over an entire planet.
The Franchise Should Choose To Accept More Martial Arts
Every now and again a fight scene in the Mission: Impossible universe will impress us, but there is not a single physical altercation in the franchise in danger of topping even a 100 Best Fights of the Last Decade list. The focus is usually more on the dandy spy gadgets, car chases, and shootouts. While this has served the films well up to now, I feel the time has come for a gritty, visceral, down-and-dirty brawl to be a focal point of the story. If you’ve seen The Raid: Redemption, I don’t even need to argue for Evans in this capacity, the film’s brutal, gasp-and-groan-inducing hand-to-hand battles speak for themselves. The Mission: Impossible series needs an unforgettable, jaw-dropping martial arts sequence to offset the obligatory gravity-defying stunt formula before it becomes trite. Besides, tell me you wouldn’t like to see Ethan Hunt in a Raid-style martial arts dustup.
In the original TV series, at least the later seasons, the members of the IMF were in constant contention with an organized crime outfit known as The Syndicate. In fact, at the end of Ghost Protocol, as Hunt walks off into the night, a voice detailing his next mission specifically mentions The Syndicate. If the producers are indeed intending on making this sinister group the principal antagonist of Mission: Impossible 5, then they could use someone who, on top of all the other necessary requirements, can bring us ruthless and imposing gangster characters. You need only watch one of The Raid: Redemption’s opening scenes, involving the crime lord Tama, a six-shooter, and a hammer, and it’s clear Evans is more than up to this task.
Risk vs. Reward
Some of you may have no doubts as to Evans’ abilities, but may remain dubious as to Paramount’s likelihood to take a chance on a relative unknown. I would argue that if anyone were keen to take a chance on him, it would be Paramount and specifically for the next Mission: Impossible. Few studio franchises are as prone to taking risks as this one. They gave Ghost Protocol to Brad Bird, who had never directed a live-action movie, and M:I III to J.J. Abrams who’d never directed any film. Hell, it’s not as if Brian De Palma had a long history of studio-grade spy films under his belt when he took on the progenitor entry. With the plethora of qualifications in his arsenal, I could easily see Paramount pulling the trigger on Gareth.