Movie Review: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
By Matthew Huntley
December 27, 2011
During the IMF’s secret investigation, a bomb goes off at the Kremlin and the U.S. is blamed for it. As a result, the president issues Ghost Protocol and disavows the IMF. Now Hunt and his team of agents must work alone to thwart a possible nuclear disaster. They include the resourceful Jane (Paula Patton); the tech geek Benji (Simon Pegg); and the suspicious analyst Brandt (Jeremy Renner). As is typical for all M:I movies, the team has to overcome a series of intricate obstacles to get exactly what they need to save the world, which usually entails tapping into security cameras, wearing disguises, jumping down shafts or out of windows, and attending lavish parties in exotic locations. The drill is familiar, but it’s still effective.
As far as plot goes, Ghost Protocol isn’t terribly original or exciting. What makes the movie stand out is its grandiose and often inspired action sequences, which, believe it or not, actually exceed our expectations, especially because they seem to have been executed mostly without the aid of CGI. I’m sure there’s an effects shot during each one of them, but they’re rendered so well that I could barely tell. This includes the movie’s best scene, which finds Ethan climbing outside of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. He really looks like he’s climbing out there and I’m convinced he was (and yes, it really is Tom Cruise performing his own stunts, which is impressive in its own right).
Because this sequence was shot in IMAX, it’s even sharper and more dazzling (I was noticing all the cars driving below and felt I was right there with Cruise, as I’m sure most people will). And while you could argue this is all just a technical exercise, the reason Ethan has to climb outside in the first place is because he has no other choice if he wants to complete the mission, so it actually matters to the plot. Sure, this is as contrived a reason as any, but we allow it since the images are so awesome. Plus, the filmmakers seem more geared toward taking our breath away than merely showing off their budget and resources.
There are other memorable moments, like an extended chase scene through a sandstorm and a fight inside a mechanized parking garage, which echoes the car factory sequence from Minority Report, in which Cruise did battle with Colin Farrell. Here, Cruise, Bird and the rest of the filmmaking team really do go above and beyond and their own mission seems to be showing us things we’ve never seen before, which is hard to do this day and age, especially in the action genre.
I’m sure if I saw Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol again, I could pick it apart more, but why would I want to do that? The entire time I was in the theater, I was thrilled and having fun. With this movie, you get your money’s worth because it refuses to settle for the same old routines. As thin as the plot and story may be, Ghost Protocol raises the bar on action and stunts and we marvel in it.