I’m going to say this right up from: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the best of the four Mission Impossible films, and is a stunning work of action film-making. Directed by Pixar veteran Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles), Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol ups the ante of the previous Mission Impossible films and features some of the most stunning action scenes ever filmed. Tom Cruise (Interview with the Vampire, Top Gun) climbing the building in Dubai is a scene that needs to be seen to be believed.
After an intense pre-opening credits prison break, the IMF team is quickly off to the Kremlin to get their hands on secret Russian files that identify “Cobalt”,(Michael Nyqvist) a nuclear terrorist. Cobalt then blows up the Kremlin and the IMF team is believed to be the culprits. They are then disavowed and are turned loose to stop Cobalt before he launches a nuclear weapon and starts a nuclear war.
Brad Bird steps up his game and proves that he is not just an animated film director. In fact, I feel that this is the best film he has made. He has made the step from animation to live action, a step that sometimes trips up some directors. (Some would argue that Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, John Carter) was one of those directors. I disagree and love John Carter.)
Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek) returns from Mission Impossible III as Benji Dunn, a newly promoted field agent. Jeremy Renner (Dahmer, The Avengers) joins the cast this time out as William Brandt, an analyst who has a past with Ethan Hunt but is not certain whether or how to let him know. Paula Patton (Hitch, Mirrors) is the last piece of this IMF team and the eye candy for the males.
An interesting note on Jeremy Renner, this is one of three franchise films he has appeared in within the last year. The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy and this are the three films that he is now appearing in just the last year. Between Renner and Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers, Cabin in the Woods), they have appeared in more films in one year than I can remember of any other actor.
While the plot of this film is nothing to write home about, the style and action scenes set this one well above others. There are some truly amazing action set pieces in this film; I cannot reiterate this enough. It is a thrilling film from start to finish.
One of the best things about the film, aside from the spectacular action scenes, is the amount of comedy added to the proceedings. Usually this comedy is involving Ethan Hunt getting the crap kicked out of him. This is another great thing. Ethan is not a super hero. He spends a great deal of time getting injured and not bouncing right back from it. While this doesn’t necessarily hold true for the whole film (his bruises do tend to disappear and his lumps seem to quit bothering him), the fact that they attempted to put this into the film is amazing. He is not a super hero. He is human and fallible. This is a major step forward for the series.
His team is also integral to the success of the mission. In previous films, Hunt’s IMF team were just there. They really weren’t necessary for Ethan to complete his mission. Here, they are needed and all have unique skills that are used to stop the terrorist.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is a great piece of action film making. It is not a throwback to the ’80’s like The Expendables 2. It is not a frenetic action film where the hero is on the run like The Bourne Series. It is it’s own type of action film. Exciting, tense, funny, and action packed, this is simply a great action/spy film. If you were turned off by Mission Impossible 2 (and honestly, who wasn’t?) and didn’t bother to see Mission Impossible III (you should make the effort to see it), Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is a great re-entry point to the series. I cannot recommend it any more highly.
***1/2 out of ****