Tom Cruise seems have gone for broke with his latest action film “MI4: Ghost Protocol” after his far from impressive “Knight and Day”. Cruise remains the star and keeps the momentum up for the franchise. I liked De Palma’s first film, then I was less than impressed with John Woo’s sequel despite its action sequences and J.J. Abrams’ MI:3 was pure adrenaline. So you may say that director Brad Bird, his first film as action-director (2nd if you count “The Incredibles” as an action film) solidifies the franchise’s recent style of pure action adrenaline. If Cruise was the star, “MI:4” is Bird’s breakout film to become one of Hollywood’s best action directors.
The film begins with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) being broken out of a maximum security prison somewhere in Russia by MIF field operative Jane Carter (sexy Paula Patton, Mirrors) and computer geek Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg, Paul). Hunt is then assigned to infiltrate the Kremlin to intercept a covert plot by Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist, TheGirl with the Dragon Tattoo), code named “Cobalt”. Things go awry and Hunt’s team is set up for the destruction of a Russian government’s agency, and so with the threat of a nuclear war, the U.S. government calls on a ghost protocol to set things right. Hunt and his team is joined by an analyst named William Brandt (Jeremy Renner, The Town) as they must race against the clock to recover important Russian assets before the madman Hendricks causes global nuclear Armageddon….
“Ghost Protocol” is pure action and adrenaline. Brad Bird knew what he wanted to do with this 3rd sequel of the “Impossible” movie franchise. I mean, he keeps the viewer gasping for air, as he overloads the senses with scenes that would make other action directors green with envy. I almost could not believe that this is the same director who gave us “Ratatouille”, “The Incredibles” and the critically acclaimed “The Iron Giant”. I mean, I know he is excellent in animated films, but I was pleasantly surprised that Bird showed a lot of confidence with his execution of the shots. I mean, he knew how to build suspense and intensity despite the simple plot. Yes, the film may not be big on drama and plot intricacies, but the cinematography and editing of the film were top-notch.
Bird knew how to make the anatomy of an action scene work for him. I mean, he knows how to make the viewer feel one’s fear of heights and even claustrophobia as the action takes place in different settings. There is a hot pursuit in a sandstorm, the scene in the 130th floor of a skyscraper was just so well done and executed (it also helps solidify Hunt‘s character in the 2nd film) that it almost gave me a feeling of vertigo. The fight scenes were credibly performed even when the actors were a little lacking in actual martial arts skill. I saw that Bird really knew how to make his actors look good and cool; how to make an action scene truly become intensely real, despite the fact that we all know that the scenes were shot on different occasions. I mean, when Cruise runs, you feel that you are running with him; Bird knew action and knew how to make those scenes make the film as it goes forward to the final showdown as the entire team becomes involved in the final act.
The screenplay by Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum lacks complexity when compared to the way the action sequences were shot and edited. I mean, it was a simple “good guys-bad guys-who really is who” kind of deal with some nuclear tension added to it which was nothing new. They add some bits of characterization and how the film picked up after the previous film. There is some thought to the characters as Cruise is surrounded by a capable cast. I liked the way the film made the action its central focus, and the light characterization may have helped the film’s pace. The dialogue did have its rough spots, and some scenes were a little cartoonish, but it did not bother me much.
Bird knew what the strengths of his performers were and wisely capitalizes on them. Pegg is the funny guy with loads of gadgetry that Hunt utilizes. The gadgets the team uses may make James Bond blush, if they can get them to work. Not to worry, I liked the way the script portrayed those minor issues and makes them the film’s strength and charm; in essence it makes those situations relatable and humorous. Jeremy Renner (from the award-winning The Hurt Locker) is a great actor and once again he shines in his role as an ‘analyst’ with a few surprises in relation to Hunt‘s past; his was a character I really enjoyed as he added excitement in the action scenes. Patton was just ridiculously sexy in that blue-greenish gown that her scenes may be worth the price of the ticket alone. She is a good female lead and didn’t feel as if she was “there” just for the sake of being ‘there’. Cruise is on “Cruise Control” doing a smile or trying to be stoic; while Hunt isn’t really that interesting or compelling when he isn’t doing any action, well, the cast as a whole is enough to cover up his limitations.
I suppose “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” may fail as an espionage thriller given the flimsy plot mechanics but it absolutely rocked as an action film. The plot’s simple nature may be typical and offers no surprises, but the way the action drove the film never felt pretentious and it allowed the viewer to like the characters through those same action scenes as we see them bicker, argue, be afraid or angry. The film is just so much fun to watch despite the advertising plugs by automobile giant BMW. What Cruise does on-screen is the same thing we’ve seen before, it just feels fresher because of Bird’s careful hand as director. If Cruise is on “cruise control”, director Brad Bird just became a star in the action genre.
Recommended! [4-Out of 5 Stars]
Off Topic Note: The Exclusive "The Dark Knight Rises" Extended Preview Exclusive to IMAX viewers was very impressive.
I went to see the new Mission Impossible movie this morning. Let me start by saying that I am not a big Tom Cruise fan. I don’t usually make a point to see his movies first run, and only sometimes on Net Flix. But I am an old fan of the TV series Mission Impossible, so I have made it a point to see all of the Mission Impossible movies. I liked them all to different degrees. The first movie was probably the best until I saw the newest … more
Personally, a good movie is one that takes me beyond the screen, either to a far far away place or to one that I had been before. It creates a connection between space, time and being. Movies like Mission Impossible and 007 series often take viewers beyond, with a grand scheme of the world at large and with an abundance of actions, gadgets and heart-throbbing music. That's the success formula in the past, present and possibly future as well. Again, … more
The fourth chapter in the phenomenally popular Mission Impossible series has arrived in theaters and jump starts the franchise with a dynamic ensemble cast and a bold mix of action and adventure with a touch of comedy thrown in. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol opens with a daring escape from a Russian prison followed shortly thereafter by an infiltration of the Kremlin and subsequent explosion on the famed Russian landmark. Tom Cruise returns as agent Ethan Hunt and is joined by … more
Days before seeing Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, I plowed through all of the previous Mission Impossible films so I could make it in time to see Ghost Protocol in an IMAX release with the Dark Knight Rises footage thrown in. To make a long story short, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is, by a long margin, the best in the series, and an entry that demands to be seen in the IMAX format. The movie picks up a few years after Mission Impossible 3, with our usual hero Ethan Hunt breaking out … more
While I was watching 'Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol' directed by Brad Bird...in IMAX, a thought kept drifting through my mind...Why am I finding this film so boring?...And why does everything look so familiar? It wasn't until the drive home, that it hit me...Of course, everything looked so familiar...because I've seen it all before...the stunts, the chases, the fights, the plot...And that is why … more
Star Rating: I’ve seen all the previous Mission: Impossible films, and while I do recall liking them to varying degrees, I’m hard pressed to say that I remember anything about their plots, characters, stunts, special effects, or even their casts. What I do remember, obviously, is that they all starred Tom Cruise. With Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Pixar veteran Brad Bird not only makes his live-action directorial debut, he’s also … more
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL Written by Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec Directed by Brad Bird Starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg After seeing the third installment in the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE series, and after witnessing the self destruction of franchise star, Tom Cruise, over the last few years, I would have bet that the most impossible mission of all would be getting a fourth film made. And that is to say nothing of whether it would even be watchable. … more
When a terrorist bombing destroys the Kremlin, the United States government initiates a black ops "ghost protocol" and disavows the entire Impossible Mission Force. Ethan Hunt and his team are to be blamed for the attack, but are allowed to escape as part of a plan to enable them to operate again outside of their agency.
However, Hunt is warned that if any member of his team is captured or compromised, they will be charged as terrorists planning to incite global nuclear war. He is forced to work with fellow ex-IMF agent Brandt, who knows more about Hunt and his past than even Hunt himself.