|Directed by:||Brad Bird|
|Written by:||Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec|
|Cast:||Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Josh Holloway, Michael Nyqvist, Vladimir Mashkov, Lea Seydoux, Anil Kapoor|
|Genre:||Action, Adventure, Thriller|
The “Mission: Impossible” franchise has been running strong since 1996 with the sole purpose of providing exciting adventures and thrilling action sequences as we follow the various team members of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF). Now comes the fourth entry in the series, “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” which takes the series to a whole new level of non-stop action, so much so that it’ll take your breath away as it relentlessly hurtles you through the IMF’s latest mission.
The film opens as Agents Benji (Simon Pegg) and Jane (Paula Patton) break Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) out of a Russian prison in order to go on an important mission. A Russian by the name of Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist) is planning to acquire the means to launch a nuclear warhead, but first, he must erase all traces of his identity from the Kremlin archive. The IMF team’s mission is to break in and discover his identity before he is able to erase it, but during the mission, things go terribly wrong when a bomb goes off, destroying a large part of the Kremlin, with the blame falling on the IMF.
The IMF secretary (Tom Wilkinson) informs Ethan that, due to the Kremlin disaster, ghost protocol has been initiated, meaning the entire IMF has become disavowed. Now Ethan, along with Benji, Jane, and an analyst, Brandt (Jeremy Renner), must go around the world, attempting to prevent Hendricks from obtaining the launch codes necessary to start a nuclear war.
The action sequences in the previous “Mission: Impossible” films were very exciting. Who could forget Ethan breaking into CIA headquarters to steal the NOC list, having to perform an amazing acrobatic act to obtain it? Or sliding along a slanted glass roof several stories up a high rise building? “Ghost Protocol” takes it up a notch as it features a sequence in which Ethan climbs a 100+-story hotel by using special adhesive gloves that had me gasping more than once.
It should be noted that the film was screened in IMAX, which made the experience even more incredible to watch. When they show you the view from 100 stories up, the larger screen format gives you the sensation of actually being there. It’s being reported that Tom Cruise insisted on doing his own stunts. I can’t imagine many stunt people having the nerve to do a stunt as dangerous as that, let alone a big star like Cruise, but he pulls it off marvelously.
Other notable sequences include a foot chase/car chase through a sandstorm and the incredible final confrontation at a parking garage. With all of these amazing action sequences, there may be some concern that there isn’t much of a plot, something that I’ve been known to complain about myself with some action films. However, the plot is well-developed and the action sequences are so well done that you can tell every little detail of what’s going on, as opposed to some films that leave such sequences in a confusing blur.
This is probably the fastest two hours I’ve spent in a theater in quite some time. The film is so entertaining and has such a great pacing to it that it just flies by. It hardly stops for an entire five minutes, and even then, it’s just to fill us in on more of the plot. The pacing is also helped along by a good dose of humor, most of which is provided by comedian Simon Pegg, well-known for his hilarious roles in “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.”
Throughout the four films in the franchise, a new director has come to the helm each time. It started with Brian De Palma, whose film had a great mix of complicated story and action, then moved on with John Woo and J.J. Abrams taking the 2nd and 3rd films respectively, where the films started to concentrate more on the action. This fourth outing has been directed by Brad Bird, whose name you may recognize from having directed the animated films “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille.” In fact, this is the first live action film he’s directed, and he’s done an amazing job at handling such complicated and suspenseful action sequences that you would swear he must’ve done such scenes several times already in his career.
“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” is the best film in the series since the original. It’s a fast-paced thrillride that’ll keep you thoroughly engaged as it hops from one amazing sequence to the next. If you get the chance to see it in IMAX, it’s recommended as it provides some breathtaking shots that only add to the thrills, though seeing it on a regular screen should be just fine as well. It’s rare to get an action film that’s done this well, where the action doesn’t turn into a monotonous bore. We can only hope that the next inevitable sequel will be just as good. 3.5/4 stars.