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Old 12-14-2011, 06:55 AM
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

In the 5 years since ‘Mission: Impossible 3’ was released, Tom Cruise has seen his public profile take a beating with his bizarre rants on scientology, his marriage to Katie Holmes, and the less-than-stellar response to his major film outings. It seemed as if the once untouchable box office king was being brought back down to earth at a rapid pace. So what’s the best way to reclaim your throne? Return to the franchise that put you there - enter Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

Kicking off with the gloriously staged jailbreak of lead IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise), whose reasoning for being in a Russian prison is explained, and rarely letting up for its quite lengthy running time (130 mins), ‘Ghost Protocol’ is like a new wave James Bond flick on steroids with abounding implausibilities as every gadget and stunt introduced is outdone by the next. But the M:I series has never been one to take seriously has it?

Story-wise the film has a rather simplistic one at the core as a terrorist bombs the Kremlin as a distraction to steal the launch codes for a nuclear missile and framing Hunt in the process which sees the President initiate ghost protocol - essentially disavowing the IMF agents and any action they take will be without government support. Naturally Hunt intends to clear his name, and that of his crew, and a series of neat plot twists and outlandish stunts ensue. One such stunt being that of Hunt scaling the walls of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which is spectacularly staged and a great, if not slightly egotistical, showcase of Cruise’s skills as an action hero.

Speaking of Cruise, the man still knows how to make an action film great and at 49 is still in enviably good shape and seems more at ease than ever in the role of Hunt. Giving him a slightly more ‘human’ feeling, the mistakes that fall on the agent during some of the films main action set pieces allow more of a connection to the sequences, and sure we mere mortals would never attempt anything seen here, but it does help when things don’t always go smoothly for our hero.

Simon Pegg as the film's gadget man gets a neat upgrade from the third film to major support player, and as expected gets most of the films laughs which thankfully don’t come across as too forced. Jeremy Renner, once the rumoured new lead for the series had Cruise opted to not return, starts off a little stiff as analyst William Brandt, but a revelation halfway through the film allows a much welcomed relaxation to his character, and lone female Paula Patton, as Jane, proves the strongest series femme yet as she equally handles the fight scenes and those where her sexuality is on full display with ease.

With a film of this size and calibre it’s hard to believe that there was a relative gamble played on hiring director Brad Bird who makes his live-action feature debut here. Having perfected his craft with Oscar-winning gems ‘Ratatouille’ and ‘The Incredibles’, Bird, whilst not the most obvious choice, was never a doubtful one for Cruise and producer J.J. Abrams (who helmed the third film). Clearly a gamble that paid off, and as ‘The Incredibles’ is already considered one of the finest action films ever made, it seems like a natural fit to take on this ‘impossible’ venture.

The one criticism to be had with ‘Ghost Protocol’ though is the lack of a threatening villain. Michael Nyqvist has the right look and he in no way delivers a bad performance, he is certainly much better here than he was in the god-awful ‘Abduction’, but the few scenes he and Cruise share together leave little tension and he’s nowhere near as menacing as you want him to be. Phillip Seymour Hoffman provided the ‘Joker’ to Cruise’s ‘Batman’ in M:I:3, it was one of that film’s strongest assets, but here Nyqvist fails to stand out so much so that there is more of a dangerous presence felt in the character of Sabine Moreau (Lea Seydoux), a cold assassin with a penchant for diamonds who has a personal connection to Jane, and her soulless stare and brutal actions made me wish she was the antagonist to Cruise.

Of course there will be those who scoff at the sheer thought of seeing another Tom Cruise film or that the gadgets are too technologically improbable, and if you are one of those people then this film isn’t for you. But if you embraced its predecessors, accept this mission sooner rather than later.

Last edited by FilmBuff84; 12-14-2011 at 11:44 PM..
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