Movie Review Mission: Impossible – Ghost ProtocolDirector: Brad Bird Producers: Tom Cruise, J.J. Abram, Bryan Burk Writers: Andrew Nemec, Josh Appelbaum Actors: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton Cinematography: Robert Elswit Music: Michael Giacchino, Lalo Schifrin Editing: Paul Hirsch
Say what you want about Mr. Tom Cruise — he’s a scientologist, he’s the shortest leading actor in Hollywood, he jumps on couches to profess his love, he’s Oprah’s best friend — the man is back in a big way. In what many people thought was a franchise pass its prime, starring an actor who’s film career had gone down the drain several years ago, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol proves that Tom Cruise is still one of Hollywood’s top action stars. As producer and leading actor, Cruise knows exactly what it takes to entertain an audience: beautiful ladies, amazing scenery, gadgets that’d baffle even the best engineers, and high octane action scenes that never rest.
Getting off of my Tom Cruise train, the film itself deserves the critic’s approval, maybe not a rating as high as 93% according to the Rotten Tomato meter, but a pretty high score nonetheless. Several aspects of the film work, and several other aspects fall short; the direction, cinematography and action sequences carry the film on a high, but the film lags beyond belief when it comes to the storyline and forced exposition. With that being said, Tom Cruise and the supporting cast turn Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol into one of the best action movies of 2011.
Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt. When Ethan and his IMF team are framed for the bombing of the Kremlin and looses the support of the American government, it’s up to them to find the true culprit — Hendricks (Michael Nyqvis), a Swedish fellow who believes the world would be better off if in a nuclear war. In a high octane chase, which includes taking Ethan and his team to several locations (Russia, Dubai & India) and battling enemies, time and one mean Dubai sandstorm, the IMF team must stop Hendricks before he transforms the entire world into a graveyard of ash and soot.
Brad Bird’s Direction:
Brad Bird’s action sequences are probably some of the best film has seen in a while. The guy is a genius at making the simplest scenarios turn into a never-ending string of jammed packed excitement. Not to mention, this is Bird’s first live action feature film. And who would have guessed? However, Bird’s been part of the Pixar scene for quite a while. One can see how his work in The Incredibles, Ratatouille and UP have come to give Ghost Protocol a much lighter tone compared to that of its predecessors. Thanks to Bird and the actors impeccable timing, the direction picks up where the story lags.
Locals, Gadgets, and Cars:
Location, location, location, that’s where it’s all at baby. Forget the same old tired locations of NYC, the Pyramids, Paris. As audience members we want to be taken to places that we’ve never been before, and Ghost Protocol offers just that, Dubai, India, Russia’s Kremlin. While there’s no beautiful sunsets or amazing establishing shots, the film’s exotic locations heighten the storyline and offer much more than just a pretty background. And what would an action movie be without the latest technology and gadgets. Just when you think the IMF team has pulled out all the stops, they bring out even more impressive gadgets. Car enthusiasts, prepare to wet your pants, the BMW i8, the car Ethan rides around in near the end, has now left the screen and entered the markets.
From the opening right on through last scene, the action never stops coming. The film opens with a file transfer gone wrong, and then quickly transitions to a jailbreak scene involving Ethan and his new Russian friend, Bogdan (Miraj Grbic). The best scene, in terms of storytelling and action is the Dubai scene where Ethan must scale the outside walls of the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. Just when you think the mission’s complete, something goes wrong, which in turn leaves audience members at the edge of their seats.
The Supporting Cast:
This go round Ethan’s team includes Benji (Simon Pegg), Jane (Paula Patton) and Brandt (Jeremy Renner), an analyst with a secret past and nasty combat skills. To be honest Simon Pegg nearly stole the show. He’s hilarious, his timing’s just right, and he had some of the best lines in the film, besides Jeremy Renner’s one line in response to his part of the mission: ”That’s it. Next time I get to seduce the rich guy.” Paula Patton, looks dashing, and she contributes more to Ghost Protocol than just good looks. While the acting wasn’t anything superb, the supporting cast stood their ground, and didn’t lurk in Cruise’s shadow.
There’s nothing like a bunch of cruddy exposition to nearly kill a great movie. The back story was somewhat important to the film (some could have been left out or strategically placed) and the heavy amount of action left the film a bit off balanced. I found myself becoming more aware of the time during these scenes. The exposition only muddied the film, instead of clearing the plot line. One can see where the seams come together, and where they just about fall apart. Sadly enough, the storyline is too formulaic for my liking.
Really!? Really!? Another tired story dealing with Russia and the United States? It’s ok to have one of these films a year, but after a year of full of Russian spies the formula gets old and tired. As cool as the Russians are, I had my fare share in Salt and X-men: First Class.
Overall: 4 stars out of 5
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a fun ride. If you’re looking for a film that offers the goods, then you’re in for a treat. Prepare to be entertained for a full 2 hours as Tom Cruise shows why he’s one of the best action stars of his generation.