Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
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Overall Rating 74%
Overall Rating
Ranked #261
...out of 14,074 movies
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Connections: Mission: Impossible

Ethan Hunt and his team are racing against time to track down a dangerous terrorist named Hendricks, who has gained access to Russian nuclear launch codes and is planning a strike on the United States. An attempt to stop him ends in an explosion causing severe destruction to the Kremlin and the IMF to be implicated in the bombing, forcing the President to disavow them. No longer being aided by the government, Ethan and his team chase Hendricks around the globe, although they might still be too late to stop a disaster. --TMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: December 17, 2011
By the end of the new "Mission: Impossible" film - you might need a Xanax.

This franchise has always attracted the best-of-the-best when it comes to directors. The first film was captained by Brian De Palma, the second by action maestro John Woo and the third by J.J. Abrams. Each brought their own unique twists to the films; and, because of these, each film has had a distinct and singular feel. The same can most certainly be said about the fourth film, directed by Pixar's Brad Bird. This feels like no other "Mission: Impossible" film before it and - for the most part - that works well enough for the picture.

The plot involves everyone's favorite spy, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) as he and his team (Paula Patton, Simon Pegg) attempt to prevent global nuclear war between the United States and Russia. Along for the ride is analyst Brandt (Jeremy Renner) who harbors a dark secret. The film takes us from Moscow to Dubai to Mumbai to Seattle as the team (recently disavowed by the U.S. government) search for codes and look for missiles and do everything in their power to keep the action going non-stop. There is barely a moment of relief in this film.

My biggest problem with "Ghost Protocol" was the lack of an intriguing enough villain. What made the third film so damned enjoyable was Philip Seymour Hoffman. He made such a convincing and menacing bad-guy. Here, we get Russian actor Michael Nyqvist who has become the 'go-to-guy' for crazy Russian eccentrics. He's evidently the new Jurgen Prochnow. Nyqvist just doesn't have enough story to give his character much of anything. It's one of those situations where we know he's bad because he looks villainous at the camera. We learn he's a crazy radical but we don't get any back story to that and it makes him quite one dimensional. And maybe that's okay - maybe the action is really all this film was concerned about. Maybe a bloody good villain is just second fiddle.

And let's talk about that action: holy crap. Tom Cruise might be the craziest man in the world for attempting some of these stunts. The sequence atop the tallest building in the world is one of the most impressive stunt sequences in the history of cinema and I found myself genuinely out of ease while watching it. But there are other terrific action sequences as well, such as when Cruise is chasing an assailant through the streets of Dubai also during a sand storm - Bird just keeps piling calamity upon calamity and it makes for some damned fine entertainment.

What Brad Bird brings to the table here, as director, is a lightheartedness that we have not seen before in these films. There is far more humor here, brought to us by Simon Pegg and even Tom Cruise. These actors are having fun with these roles and we can see that. But there are also sequences and exchanges which have a somewhat cartoon-like quality to them, making them more accessible for most people. Since this is his first live-action film, this is a difficult statement to make but "Ghost Protocol" felt very much like a 'Brad Bird film'. And maybe he was what Tom Cruise needed to lighten that character up and make him more identifiable.

So, I had mixed reviews overall about this film. I still think the third film is the best in the series but I did enjoy the lightened tone of this film. Regardless, it's a highly entertaining picture and I am sure it will do terrific business. Seeing it in IMAX (which I did) is really a bonus because the sound quality is amazing. I love a film where your seat is literally vibrating during an explosion. "Ghost Protocol" is definitely worth your hard-earned dollars as long as you imagine someone like Alan Rickman or Philip Seymour Hoffman as the baddie. 7/10.
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