Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol Review

Tom Cruise, star of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol made a wise decision to use different directors for the Mission Impossible movie series. For the inaugural Mission Impossible (1996) he used Brian De Palma. His vision was of Hitchcockian film gymnastics. The next one was Mission: Impossible II (2000) directed by John Woo. He was the exact opposite. His film was in your face action. Mission: Impossible III was directed by J.J. Abrams whose documentary style gave the series a realism. Different directors makes the series fresh when a new film comes out. Now the fourth, Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol was directed by animation director Brad Bird. (Ratatouille)

But when it comes to the plot of Ghost Protocol, fresh does not come to mind. The IMF (Impossible Mission Force) team led by Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is sent to the Kremlin to get files on a person named Cobalt aka Hendricks. (Michael Nyqvist) On his team are Jane Carter (Paula Patton), and Benji Dunn who was in the M:I III. (Simon Pegg) As Hunt and Dunn infiltrate the Kremlin, they learn that they are being used by Hendricks as cover for his own operation of stealing a Russian nuclear missile launch device. They abort but Hendricks detonates a bomb that destroys a large part of the Kremlin.

The Russians blame the Americans. Hunt meets with the IMF Secretary (Tom Wilkinson) and an IMF analyst Brandt. (Jeremy Renner) The Secretary tells Hunt that his team is being blamed for the bombing and they have been disavowed. Hmmmm. Sounds like the plot to the first Mission: Impossible. Anyway, the Secretary tells Hunt where he can get supplies and gives him his new mission. Stop Hendricks. After the car in which Hunt, the Secretary and Brandt gets fired upon and runs into a river, Brandt and Hunt escape. At a secret railway car, they discover that Hendricks wants to launch a nuclear missile at the United States to start a world war. After the nuclear Armageddon, a stronger, new human race would emerge. Hey that's the motivation of the villain in the James Bond film, "The Spy Who Loved Me." (1977)

And while elements of Ghost Protocol seemed to be lifted from other movies, Director Bird gives the movie a freshness. His experience in animation has given him a style which maximizes every scene. Bird doesn't need fancy camera gymnastics to convey action. He gets it from the set, whether its a desert or a parking garage. He then fills it with graceful action scenes. The result is that the screen is filled with excitement. And you must see the scenes outside the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest building. Cruise really looks like he's dangling outside, stories above the ground. From what I've read about he production, Cruise was actually hanging outside of the building. It's so real, your palms get sweaty.

André Nemec and Josh Appelbaum's screenplay offers plenty of action but balances that with nice doses of humor. The recurring joke is the difficulty of man to interface with technology. If there is one problem with the screenplay, it's slightly convoluted. You'll have to pay a lot of attention, particularly where the IMF tries to get the missile launch codes by scamming the bad guys.

Tom Cruise is excellent as the professional spy, Ethan Hunt. Jeremy Renner gives a performance of a man who is hiding something. Simon Pegg is pretty funny as the comic relief. Paula Patton is lovely to look at. She smolders combustible sexuality. You can't take your eyes off her in the Mumbai party scene as she tries to seduce a target. The team has chemistry and you want to see them working again, perhaps in Mission: Impossible- The Mission to Make More Money. Just kidding.

Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol is a thrilling spy movie. It's also a mixture of Bond and Bourne. The grade is B+.

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