Review of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, starring Tom Cruise.
Tom Cruise leaps back to action in eye-popping film.
Formula is enemy number one when it comes to reviving an action franchise that goes back 15 years and some 5 years since its last installment. So it makes sense for director Brad Bird and star Tom Cruise to promote Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (M:I4) as something of a reboot of the big-screen adaptations of Bruce Geller's '60s spy show about Impossible Mission Force (IMF) agents and their globetrotting espionage assignments.
The well-known theme song, state-of-the-art masks, incredible gadgets and political dangers are back in the fun and furious M:I4 but Bird and writers Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec boost the franchise staples with new IMF agents, the interesting premise of the IMF being branded as terrorists and a speeding storyline that yanks the action from Moscow to Dubai and finally settling for a rousing climax inside a towering robotic parking garage in Mumbai.
After breaking out a Moscow prison, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and programmer-turned-agent Benji (Simon Pegg) and new agent Jane (Paula Patton) accept a mission to retrieve government documents containing nuclear missile launch coded from the Kremlin. Everything goes as planned until they fall to sabotage from an enemy named Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist) and a devastating bomb blast portrayed as a terrorist attack.
Shut down and disavowed by the U.S. President, Hunt, Jane, Benji and an IMF analyst named Brandt (Jeremy Renner) head to Dubai to get back the launch codes and prevent nuclear war.
Cruise is four films deep as IMF leader Ethan Hunt and his boyish good looks from the first M:I movie are long gone. In its place are a welcome sense of gravitas and a belief that he's only as good as his surrounding team. Cruise comes off as a team player this time instead of the self-gazing action hero from the first M:I movie.
Granted, Cruise is still leader, which means the film's marquee stunts including scaling Dubai's towering Burj Khalifa skyscraper, a car chase through a blinding sandstorm and a dizzy fight inside an automated parking tower fall on him.
Paula Patton is every bit as tough as the boys around her and delivers one of the film's most brutal fight scenes.
Simon Pegg hurls welcome laughs as Benji, the former programmer still adjusting to the dangers of working in the field.
Jeremy Renner arrives as Hunt's younger coworker, an analyst with a tragic connection to Hunt's past. Renner can be a bit solemn at times in M:I4 but he's gritty at all the right moments and plenty tough.
French actress Léa Seydoux makes great use of her brief scenes as a pretty blonde assassin and Tom Wilkinson plays a key role in one of the film's best surprises.
M:I4 is great fun and packs plenty of twists as Cruise rises to the talent around him. If M:I4 is the best of the franchise, it's because the entire team is so good.
There's even a solid back-story explaining why Hunt has been out of commission for so long and how he ended up in the Moscow prison.
The dramatic stumble in the movie is that Hunt has no strong adversary in the same vein as Sherlock Holmes chasing Professor Moriarty in the adjoining cinema. In M:I4, it's more about the mission than battling a master villain.
Cruise may dodge bomb blasts and dangle outside skyscrapers but the true star of the movie is Bird making his live-action debut after directing animated movies The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille.
Bird handles the film's elaborate stunts like an action pro and the film dazzles the eye from start to finish.
The era of CGI effects often leads to blockbuster fatigue but M:I4 manages to wow with eye-popping stunts that simply make one smile at the magic of it all.
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol Details:
Genre/s: Action Adventure Thriller
Release Date/s: December 16, 2011 (IMAX, Limited Theaters), December 21, 2011 (Nationwide) (Showtimes & Tickets)
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Production Company: Bad Robot, Skydance Productions, Paramount Pictures, TC Productions, FilmWorks, Stillking Films
Official Site: Official Site for Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Alternate Titles: Mission: Impossible IV
CAST and CREW FOR Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Josh Holloway, Léa Seydoux, Michael Nyqvist, Vladimir Mashkov, Anil Kapoor
Directed By: Brad Bird
Written By: Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec, from the story by J.J. Abrams and Tom Cruise
Produced By: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burke, Tom Cruise
MORE ON THIS RELEASE:
Running Time: 133 Minutes
M.P.A.A. Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence
Filming Locations: United Arab Emirates, India, Russia, Canada, Czech Republic, Russia