Let me start by saying I am a hopeless Brad Bird fan (Up, The Iron Giant). When I heard he would be directing a live action movie I was in. Then I found out that it was the latest movie in the long running Mission: Impossible franchise and I suddenly had a lot of doubts. This is a franchise that I felt had mostly run its course and that I believed was heading full steam ahead into “cash grab” territory. Throw in that this is a big budget action movie being released in the heart of Christmas family films, and I was downright worried. After seeing this film, I can honestly say my first instincts were correct.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol follows Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team (played by Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and Paula Patton) being forced to go underground, after being implicated in the destruction of the Kremlin in order to clear the IMF and stop a mad man who is attempting to start a nuclear war. I know, the plot explanation is worthy of eye rolling. That said, the movie is so well made and enjoyable that you can’t help but have a lot of fun. The plot is easy to follow, but thanks to great pacing and a solid script, I never felt bored (or too smart for the movie). This movie contained a fair amount of humor which fit seamlessly into and between wonderful action set pieces. I laughed out loud several times during the movie. Unlike many other action movies, the action itself stuck firmly in the land of the improbable, without falling into the annoying area of the impossible. Nothing goes perfectly for this group and the character’s came away from each set piece a little more beat up and a lot more human for it.
Mission: Impossible included many scenes filmed in full IMAX. This was a nice touch and helped to draw me in. With Bird’s direction it managed to avoid the “too fast for the eye to absorb” action found in other IMAX action movies (see Transformers 2). Even more than the stunning visuals, I was drawn in by the wonderful use of sound. Sure this movie was loud in parts. Cars were crashing, guns were firing, and various bones were breaking. But it was never constantly loud. It never felt like I was taking a physical beating while watching the film. The sound actually accented what I was seeing, and had the audience responding to the action (I literally jumped a couple of times). At times the use of no to little sound was also a wonderful touch, adding to the suspense.
In closing, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was the best of the series. You don’t have to have seen the other films to enjoy this one. It is a pure, top tier action movie, which included the right amount of humor and didn’t take itself too seriously. I fully enjoyed myself while watching this film, and recommend it to those that don’t want to spend the Christmas holiday season watching kiddy movies. I can’t believe that I made it through this review, without writing about the many wonderful gadgets that the team uses, but I don’t want to ruin a good time for you folks. If you want to see a well-made action movie, and hopefully the re-birth of a franchise, take some time out of your schedule and check this flick out.
I give Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol 4 completely totaled BMWs out of 5.
By Chris Murr