JT Film Review

130 – Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol REVIEW

4.5/5 stars

Director – Brad Bird

Cast – Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner, Tom Wilkinson, Michael Nyqvist, Vladimir Mashkov, Anil Kapoor, Josh Holloway, Ving Rhames

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– follows Mission Impssible 3

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Ethan Hunt is back, in the fourth movie in the Mission Impossible series. The IMF organization has been framed in a bombing of the Kremlin, and Hunt and team (Pegg, Patton, and Renner) must track down the real culprit to clear their names. It sounds a bit generic, but this is my personal favourite of the franchise.

In fact, this movie is essentially everything you could ask of an action movie. It is fun, exhilarating, and even smart. Who would have thought it, eh? My favourite thing is that most of the set pieces are not just exercises in action, but smarts. You can see the characters thinking “What can I do here?” My favourite moment is a tension-ratcheting one where Pegg and Cruise use a screen and a video camera to make a hallway appear deserted. It was a quiet but gut-tightening sequence. And funny, to boot.

The Mission Impossible series is a bit of an oddity when it comes to franchises. First off is the irregularity of  their releases. The first one was released in 1996, and it has taken 15 years for us to get to the fourth. But mainly there is the difference in style of the films. The first film was definitely a thriller, directed by Brian De Palma. It was sleek, featuring mainly European locations, and its most interesting scene was not one of i’s shootouts, but a neat and quiet moment where Tom Cruise realizes he has been double crossed. MI 2 ramps up to the bombastic, and its stunts come to a near ridiculous level. It was, of course, directed by John Woo. Despite its craziness, it still had a touch of intrigue, and I did enjoy it, though I think it is the worst of the series. Then came the third, (and best to date) movie, directed by JJ Abrams. This one managed to both shrink and expand the Mission Impossible world. We saw much more of the IMF organization and the set pieces were wonderfully executed, but had many more quiet moments between the adventure.  Up to this point, each movie had a distinct style.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol does not try to stake out its own ground, however, instead following the template of the third movie. This was a great decision. It does perhaps lighten up the tone a bit, and is not as dark in places, but it does not feel as near as distinct as the others. In fact, you might almost regard MI 3 and Ghost Protocol as a new series. Tom is a bit older, and the movies are frankly, better.

Another great thing about the series is it’s inconsistent use of actors for the head IMF men. We’ve seen Jon Voight, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Fishburne, and now Tom Wilkinson as Hunt’s superiors. This means they can use them in interesting ways, without having to worry about continuity, past or future. They can turn traitor, die, etc.

If I had a problem with this movie it would be with the general uselessness of Renner’s character. He doesn’t do anything particularly noteworthy until the end, and even that doesn’t blow us away. But this is a point I thought of after the movie, so it mustn’t have been that bad. There is a neat continuity tie at the end for those who have seen MI 3 as well, and that was nice to see. Though surely we coul have seen more of Ving Rhames?

OVERALL

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is a fast-moving and witty adventure, with exciting set pieces and adrenaline to spare. In an age of repeating sequels and remakes, this is one series that I would love to see continue as long as Mr. Cruise wants to keep doing them. Whatever your opinion of Tom Cruise, you have to admit that he is excellent at what he does.

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TRAILER

 

“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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December 24, 2011 - Posted by | 4.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Action, Year - 2010-2019 | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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