Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Cruise in the Kremlin

         
 

21 December 2011| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

A thrill ride that’s all the better that it doesn’t rest. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a classic model of the race against the clock movie that’s always exciting because Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his crew are always running behind schedule. This time, Ethan has to trot to India, and Russia to prevent the detonation of nuclear war. He never makes a shameless move on his beautiful team member Jane (Paula Patton) because he is mourning the loss of his wife. Benji (Simon Pegg) is the clumsiest of field agents but is apt as the comic relief. Brandt (Jeremy Renner) is the new edition chief analyst who is shaken from a previous former assignment. The standout sequence involves Ethan scaling the outside of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building. This is certainly the best commercial action film since “The Dark Knight” (2008). 

The visuals, the high-tech devices, the split-second maneuvering and the dangerously close calls never rest. The film opens with the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) breaking Ethan out of a Russian prison, a task that involves computer whiz Benji opening all cellblocks to overpower the guards. Before Ethan jumps through a hole blown through the cement, he insists on taking one of the convicts with him. The Russian con is a slack-jawed dunce, but I could hardly wait for an explanation as to why he Ethan was assisting him to exodus.

Before Ethan has much time to get acquainted once again with the real world, he is given an assignment to break into the heavily fortified Kremlin in Moscow within four hours to snatch some high-tech nuclear arms codes before a terrorist named Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist) gets there first. Ethan (and the screenwriters) must have seen “The Illusionist” with Edward Norton, since they use some pretty nifty optical tricks to fool the guards – the ploy gets you laughing and your adrenaline pumping at the same time.

When the assignment goes wrong, the IMF team is disavowed but only Ethan is aware that billions of lives are at stake. They have to intercept arms dealers at the Burj Khalifa, but without enough time for code-cracking, Ethan must climb up the vertiginous building with the aid of electrified adhesive gloves that stick to glass – gasp – one of the two “Gecko” gloves malfunctions. Once Ethan gets to the correct floor, he doesn’t have much time to recuperate since he has to double as a terrorist baddie. The real baddie uncovers the impersonation, and there is a pursuit. On the horizon, but of course, is a sand storm (why not!) that is enveloping the entire city.

The thrills continue onto Mumbai, India with the team engaged in simultaneous pursuits, one of them requiring an unwilling Brandt to engage in a highly dangerous act of maneuvering over high-speed fans, and another one of them requiring Jane to put on a seduction on a rich playboy. “Ghost Protocol” has the international glamour and sexiness that rivals a great James Bond movie, I only wish that Ethan wasn’t so devoted to his passing wife that he could surrender himself to Jane. It’s been awhile since I’ve re-watched a “Mission: Impossible” movie (the original 1996 version by Brian DePalma was the best… up until now), but the parking garage scene with power-shifting decks is the first time where I really recall Ethan getting banged up real good. A better ending would have had the delectable Paula Patton lick his wounds while he recuperates.

So Ethan doesn’t want to copy the playboy antics of James Bond. It’s a small loss. But “Ghost Protocol” has a spectacular grandeur and a superior kinetic energy to the way the action scenes are crafted. The hearts of moviegoers will be thumping everywhere, and in a movie that doesn’t rest, all throughout. Brad Bird (“The Incredibles”) directs his first live action film, and his kinetic skills have us suspending our disbelief.

132 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

ACTION-SUSPENSE / RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK THRILLER / FRIDAY NIGHT THRILL RIDE

Film Cousins: “Mission: Impossible” (1996); “Die Another Day” (2002); “Casino Royale” (2005); The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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