Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol Review

Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol is everything an action film should be.  It knows exactly what type of film it is.  It never overstays its welcome, and, most importantly, its just plain fun.  For a comparison to show how much enjoyment comes out of watching the newest entry into the Mission: Impossible franchise, I enjoyed this film more than the 6 minutes of a certain 2012 summer blockbuster that were shown preceding the film.

Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol follows Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the IMF as they try to stop a Russian nuclear Strategist from causing a nuclear war.  In the director's chair this time is Brad Bird of The Incredibles and The Iron Giant frame.  It is his first time in the director's chair for a live-action film and you would think the transition from animation to live-action would take a while to work out the kinks.  Bird, however, immediately proves that he is a master of visuals, regardless of the medium.

Despite this film being the only proof, Bird appears to be one of the great action directors out there.  The film, itself, is non-stop action and all of it is staged and paced to perfection.  Look at the scene that reintroduces us to Ethan Hunt.  The scene is staged in a Russian prison and Brad Bird makes sure that everything that you would think would be in a jail is used during the course of the ensuing breakout.  Just when you think the scene will end, however, Bird pulls out another tool, suspense.  One of the things that has always worked against the Mission: Impossible franchise is that you know Ethan Hunt will never be killed off.  So no matter how ridiculous the challenges may seem (and it isn't called Mission: Impossible for nothing), Ethan will survive.  Bird, however, seems to have mastered the technique of not letting Ethan succeed until the last second.  So for the first time in the franchise, the viewer is holding their breath over the fate of the main characters.

The best showcase of all of this, though, is the much hyped Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) sequence.  The sequence is a spectacle of grand proportions (especially so in IMAX where the camerawork actually makes it feel like you are falling along with Ethan Hunt).

The writing for the film is pretty poor, so it's great that Bird keeps the action going.  However, even during the few points at which the film slows down for some character development (if you can call it that) the actors are able to improve upon the screenplay.  This is Tom Cruise's best performance in the franchise as most of it is physical and he makes it look easy.  The performance is also just unhinged enough to make it fun without going overboard.  His supporting cast is probably his best to date.  Paula Patton is the best woman in the franchise as she works great as the viewer's view point into Ethan Hunt's world, and Jeremy Renner is Cruise's best partner yet as he looks like he was born to star in an action film.  The film also benefits from added screentime for Simon Pegg who kills it with the one-liners and silly mannerisms.  The rest of the cast is filled with a large amount of performances that just amount to cameos (well executed cameos though).

The Mission: Impossible series seems to just be getting better and better (with the exception of the second installment), and the franchise seems to have a lot of life left in it with a breakout director of action and a game cast.  I will also add that the film is a must in IMAX for the Burj Khalifa scene alone, which will end up as one of the greatest action scenes in cinematic history.


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