US Release Date: 12-21-2011
Directed by: Brad Bird
- Tom Cruise, as
- Ethan Hunt
- Jeremy Renner, as
- Simon Pegg, as
- Paula Patton, as
- Michael Nyqvist, as
- Vladimir Mashkov, as
- Samuli Edelmann, as
- Ivan Shvedoff, as
- Leonid Lisenker
- Anil Kapoor, as
- Brij Nath
- Lea Seydoux, as
- Sabine Moreau
- Tom Wilkinson, as
- IMF Secretary
- Ving Rhames, as
- Luther Stickell
- Michelle Monaghan, as
- Josh Holloway as
Jeremy Renner and Tom Cruise in MI-4.
The latest installment in the action packed series lives up to its title. The climax, anyway, is certainly impossible and completely far fetched. It takes a bit of suspension of disbelief to accept. Fortunately it comes at the end of a very exciting, fast-paced and entertaining movie.
The plot this time seems very Bondish. The IMF is disavowed after being implicated in a bombing at the Kremlin. Ethan Hunt, with the help of just 3 other agents, a limited amount of equipment and no back up, must stop a madman from firing a nuclear missile at San Francisco after he steals the launch codes.
Adding to the Bond comparisons is the fact that the action covers several continents and exotic locales and Cruise, at one point, attends a party in a tuxedo (I half expected him to order a vodka martini, shaken not stirred). From Moscow, to Budapest, to Dubai and Mumbai, this is a world wide mission.
Director Brad Bird makes his live action debut here. As an animation director he helmed The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille. He knows how to keep things moving along and he stages the action scenes well enough. The finale, which I don’t want to spoil, jumps way over the shark though, before a final quiet moment where Ving Rhames shows up for a cameo (he’s the only actor besides Cruise to appear in all 4 movies).
Simon Pegg returns as Benji bringing some much needed levity to the proceedings. He also gets a great heroic moment. Paula Patton plays Jane, the requisite sexy female agent and Jeremy Renner joins the cast as Brandt (Ethan’s future replacement whenever Cruise cashes in his chips in the franchise). Brandt and Jane round out the rogue team that must help Ethan attempt yet another impossible mission. Oh and Tom Wilkinson has a cameo as the IMF Secretary in a scene given away in the trailer.
At 49 Tom Cruise looks pretty much the same as always. He is in great shape and amazingly did most of his own stunts. The most impressive – and the best action sequence in the movie – includes him running (literally) down the side of the tallest building in the world. This scene is very tense and nearly induced a feeling of vertigo seeing it on the giant IMAX screen (see photo). It also has some of the funniest moments as well. In fact the entire section in Dubai is the highlight of the story and once the sandstorm clears the rest of the movie feels anticlimactic.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a decent enough entry in the series. I enjoyed it as much as MI-3 and definitely more than MI-2. If Cruise decides to make number 5 I will definitely get in line for that one too.
Simon Pegg and Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.
This installment in the Mission: Impossible series is the best yet. The action is well done and the pacing is such that it never really lets up. One popcorn munching moment follows another as Tom Cruise leads his team around the world to prevent nuclear war. It feels more like a big summer blockbuster than it does a Christmas release.
Sure, there are Bond influences on the plot, but then the original television series these movies are based on was created in response to the spy mania created by the original James Bond films. And really, can any big budget spy movie ever escape from being compared to Bond? Fortunately there are enough differences so that the similarities aren't distracting.
Unlike Bond, who is always a lone wolf, these movies emphasize a team approach. Cruise is undoubtedly the star, but the supporting cast gets plenty of screentime and he couldn't complete his mission without them. His Ethan Hunt is the team leader and he holds it all together, but it's to Cruise's credit that he doesn't dominate every scene and allows the other actors their moments in the spotlight. Simon Pegg in particular is a scene stealer.
I agree with you Patrick that the scene in Dubai is probably the highlight of the movie. Ethan climbing the outside of the building has been featured heavily in the movie's marketing and that still doesn't spoil it. It's one of those moments that you need to see on the big screen. It helps that the location is so exotic. You have this very modern city with towering skyscrapers surrounded by desert, giving the city an almost post-apocalyptic look.
Director Brad Bird's greatest ability is to create real tension. You know that Ethan isn't going to die and so it would be easy not to get worried about him when he's running down the side of that building, and yet it's filmed so well that you will feel the tension anyway. And he doesn't do it in just that scene, but throughout the movie. Again and again, you know that Ethan and his team will triumph, but you are eager to see just how they will do it.
I wasn't bothered by the ending as you were Patrick. I didn't think it was any further out there than anything that came before it. The whole plot is implausible, but it's so entertainingly implausible that it doesn't matter in the slightest.
By emphasizing the team approach to the plot, the filmmaker's have setup the opportunity to continue the series without Tom Cruise. While I would still go to see it if they went that route, I do think he would be missed. Renner is a great actor and Simon Pegg provides the perfect comedy relief, but no one else in the series can provide the kind of star power that Cruise can.
Whichever direction this series goes in, this installment has proven there's plenty of life left in the concept.
Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
After Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol came to an end I thought to myself, "Ethan Hunt was married?" I looked up our reviews for Mission: Impossible III (2006), where I found this line from my review, "...you will forget most of the film as soon as you leave the theater." I guess I called that right, because for the life of me I have no recollection of that film's plot.
Mission: Impossible II (2000) was overly stylish and overly directed by John Woo. It took far to long to get going. Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol starts right off with an action scene and keeps throwing one exciting sequence after another at the audience. The scene in Dubai is the most talked about in the series since Cruise dropped by wire in the original film. It is the stand out stunt, but I enjoyed the fight in the automatic parking garage as well. Hunt gets seriously hurt and it does not end exactly as you may anticipate.
I agree with my brothers that the cast, led by Cruise, is great. Pegg is good as the nerd who enjoys staying behind the scenes while Hunt does all the fighting. I hope he sticks around for any sequels. Patton is hot as hell in the scene where she has to seduce the rich playboy. The best addition is Renner as an anylist with a secret. He has one of the funniest lines when after barely surviving a trip down a ventilation shaft he says, "That's it. Next time, I get to seduce the rich guy."
My opinion of Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol is like Scott's. I too think it is the best in the series. I was not bothered by the ending either. Sure it was a last second save but that is how tension is built. Of course it is all implausible. It is an action film after all. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol will raise your pulse and leave you breathless.
Photos © Copyright Paramount Pictures (2011)