Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol is the most fun you'll have at an action movie this season, maybe even the whole year. Tom Cruise is truly at his best as Ethan Hunt, and in the five years since MI3, everything from the stunts to the gadgets have gotten flashier while the A-list star at the center is still bringing his A game. This time around, Hunt is forced to go rogue when the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) is disbanded, and he's left with a team including goofy, techy Benji (Simon Pegg), sexy but heartbroken Jane (Paula Patton), and the mysterious Brandt (Jeremy Renner). From the moment the iconic theme music kicks in, Ghost Protocol is a blast.
The actual plot of the film is fairly straightforward as far as the MI series goes: Ethan and his ragtag team work to stop an imminent nuclear attack at the hands of a Russian mad man. The big mystery of Ghost Protocol is why exactly Ethan is locked up in a Moscow jail as the movie kicks off, and what exactly happened to end his marriage with Julia (Michelle Monaghan). The film makes a weak effort to involve the viewers in this emotional story line, and while it doesn't quite resonate, the movie has more than enough to make up for the shortcoming. To see why the film is so great, just read more.
The action scenes in Ghost Protocol really showcase Cruise. Ghost Protocol is flashy in the best way possible, and the scenes shot at the world's tallest building in Dubai do not disappoint. It's obvious that Cruise demands to do his own stunts, which adds an even more impressive level of flourish to the most death-defying scenes. Cruise's charisma carries the movie, and while his team is a great complement, it's nothing without the superstar. With all the rumors about Jeremy Renner taking over the series, it's hard to imagine the MI big-screen legacy without Cruise.
The biggest complaints about Ghost Protocol are the length — clocking in at well over two hours — and the inability to connect with the romantic/emotional story lines. That said, the film does not take itself too seriously and even calls out its own screenplay's absurdity at points. There are plot holes here and there, but if you're not looking to nitpick, they aren't too much of a downfall.
It's an impressive live action debut for director Brad Bird and also the first film in the franchise that sees Cruise acting as producer. The two seem to make a great team, and if anything, this is something that should be viewed on the biggest screen possible. There's something ultimately believable about Hunt's efforts to save the world, and while that blurs the lines between actor and character, it shows that this is — as it should be — totally Cruise's genre strong suit. Patton, Renner, and Pegg make for entertaining sidekicks to Cruise, and it would be great to see this cast teamed up for another installment, just as long as the formula stays on track. Ghost Protocol is a satisfying reboot that should reinvigorate the series and hopefully bring in a new era for MI and Tom Cruise fans alike.
Photo courtesy of Paramount