Ghost Protocol is a fun ride for the action-loving, popcorn-munching crowd.
Some bits are slow, and it’s far from perfect—but Mission Impossible IV’s highs outweigh the lows.
Ethan Hunt (an aging Tom Cruise) and his entire IMF team are held responsible when a planned infiltration turns into a supposed terrorist plot, blowing up part of the Kremlin. With limited resources, Hunt and several other disavowed (thus the Ghost Protocol) IMF agents (a chatty Simon Pegg, a misplaced Jeremy Renner, and add-me-to-the-list-of-women-who-can-kick-butt Paula Patton) race from Russia, to Dubai, to Mumbai in pursuit of a man with access to nuclear weapons and an itchy trigger finger.
Director Brad Bird (The Incredibles) doesn’t pull any punches with the action scenes—some of which are simply breathtaking. The scene worth the price of admission has Ethan hanging off the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, with faulty magnet-gloves and a high-stakes con going on at the same time. The tension, action, and comic relief—mostly provided by Pegg—are edge-of-your-seat good.
Ghost Protocol hits on many levels, mostly with the action. However, a few glaring missteps keeps it from making the impossible possible. The first most glaring is this movie takes the focus off of the villain and onto Hunt and the IMF team. Their stories are developed, explained through exposition, and ultimately resolved—but it seems a bit off balance somehow. Instead of pitting the “good” team against the bad guy, all of the onus is put on the “good” guys and their issues. The villain, the rogue Russian played by Michael Nyqvist, is completely forgettable. In Mission Impossible III, J.J. Abrams and Philip Seymour Hoffman created a mysterious, downright scary villain in Owen Davian. In Ghost Protocol, I couldn’t even tell you the villain’s name. (Kurt Hendricks. I looked it up.)
The second “Wait, What?” moment in Protocol was the character of Hendricks himself. He’s older, portrayed to be at least in his 50’s, and for the last quarter of the movie, he’s outrunning Tom Cruise, jumping around a parking garage, and holding his own in a fistfight. Wait, what? I thought he was old? Shouldn’t Cruise’s Hunt be able to catch him in a footrace, or at least dodge his punches?
The third point is Tom Cruise’s hair. In all the Mission Impossible movies, a direct correlation can be made to the quality of the movie and the length of Tom’s mane. First Mission Impossible? Tight script, tense dangling over a pressure-sensored floor, great train/helicopter chase—short hair. Second Mission Impossible? A muddled, slow motion mess—and long hair. The Third Mission Impossible (in my opinion, the best) a great script, fantastic characters, and short hair.
This Mission Impossible? A good effort with great action—but Tom’s weird hair and fluffy frame (trying to suck in his stomach while shirtless on a building’s ledge) felt like “hey, I can still do this” rather than “watch this.”
That said, Ghost Protocol is a fun ride for the action-loving, popcorn-munching crowd. Some bits are slow, and it’s far from perfect—but Mission Impossible IV’s highs outweigh the lows.