Film Review: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (M)

Directed by: Brad Bird

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton

Three and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright


Before you start with the eye rolling at another Mission Impossible sequel and those “Isn’t Tom Cruise too old for this type of film now?” comments, remember there is one refreshing thing about this series. Despite being based on a television series (how original) and now what seems to be an endless string of sequels (once Cruise is too old, I’m sure there would be no hesitation in creating a reboot), each director that takes on one of these projects has managed to put a personal stamp on it.

Brian De Palma built tension and only rewarded his audience occasionally with action sequences, John Woo went the ultra stylish route (albeit to the point of absurdity; where did those doves keep coming from?!) but J.J. Abrams hit it out of the park with a white knuckle thrill ride with heart (that opening sequences was some grabber).

Brad Bird, whose background is in Pixar films, tries his hand at directing real people (although Cruise is less expressive this time than Pixar’s computer generated characters) and brings more humour to the proceedings as well as large-scale stunts and action. But some of the elements he and his script writers Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec decided not to follow through with from the last installment (a love interest for Ethan Hunt and a terrifying villain) prove to be omissions that prevent it from reaching the giddy heights of part 3.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is busted out of a Moscow prison by fellow spies Benji (Simon Pegg) and Jane (Paula Patton) to help recover precious nuclear weapon launch codes which were stolen from them in a previous failed mission. Their recovery mission leads them to the Kremlin, which is bombed while they are there and the team are blamed and assumed to be terrorists.

The Impossible Missions Force is immediately shut down by the US government and the three spies are forced to complete their mission, discover who actually caused the explosion, and prevent a nuclear war, all while off the grid and with no support. IMF analyst Brandt (Jeremy Renner) – who mysteriously knows a lot of  combat moves for an analyst – makes four when he is caught up in the mayhem.

While Bird brings more humour by expanding Pegg’s role and having Renner look incredulous the entire time, he has kept up one common thread for these films, and that is having Cruise dangle precariously off of a very tall object. Always a good sport for these things, Cruise hangs off the world’s largest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, in one terrifically executed and eye popping, IMAX filmed sequenced.

The supporting cast and villain are severely lacklustre, Patton does little but simmer with thoughts of revenge for the woman who killed her boyfriend – thought there is a thrill when the chance for them to go head to head pops up and the high heels are kicked off. Dropping Hunt’s wife from the film means less heart and therefore less tension; the stakes are considerably lower here. But it is not impossible to enjoy a film that masterfully handles thrilling action sequences and knows how to have a good time.


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