‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ Review

Director: Brad Bird

Cast: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Michael Nygvist

Plot: After being sprung from a Russian prison, IMF agent Ethan Hunt is thrown straight into a new mission that ends with him being framed for the bombing of the Kremlin. Disavowed by his government, Hunt and his team are on the trail of a nuclear extremist out to kick-start WWIII.

Review: It’s been a few years since the lackluster third outing created a small blip on cinema screens before disappearing into blandness. Now the series returns with an animation director making his first foray into live action and a mostly new cast of characters. Plot holes between the last film and this one get filled in over the course of the movie, but to little consequence as this is a movie that doesn’t put much stock into it’s ongoing narrative, or even it’s self contained story.

Not that this is much of a criticism – it’s a movie that knows what is expected of it and it doesn’t waste much time getting down to business. It begins with a set-piece action sequence combing fisticuffs, gun play, gadgetry, quips and suspense and simply alternates other set-pieces with exposition. The pacing feels jarring at times, particularly in the first hour where exposition drags things down to a crawl, but once they hit Dubai and the action scenes get both for exciting and original. The main selling point – that the team is cut of from their support network and may be branded terrorists has little impact on the story at all…the movie would’ve played out exactly the same if this was a sanctioned mission, so that concepts remains little more than a hook for the trailer.

Tom Cruise is on cruise-control (boom tish) for the duration of the movie, running through his trademark action guy routine, but more screen time is devoted to his crew this time around. Everyone is one top form, with Pegg providing the comic relief, Patton playing the sassy chick and Renner surprisingly playing the light to Ethan Hunt’s dark side. Nygvist does well as a somewhat cartoonish villain, and he seems to be enjoying himself. Don’t expect any major character development, but they do include enough to keep things interesting.

Viewers are advised to switch off their brains during the movie, as any thought put into the action sequences or the story and everything falls apart (why didn’t anyone notice Tom Cruise climbing up their hotel room window?). When you let it, the action draws you in through the imaginative set pieces and the fact that the characters actually look hurt when they take a beating. The heavy use of iphones, ipads and macbooks as super-powered gadgets will bother some (like me) but others won’t find the blatant product placement a concern.

Ultimately this is a series of entertaining, fun action sequences spaced out with exposition. Don’t go in expecting much story and you’ll have fun. At the least you can chuckle at Tom Cruise’s electrified mannequin style of running.