Review: Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol

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Plot: After an IMF operation goes bad, the team is accused of attacking the Kremlin, as Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team attempt to clear their names, and uncover the real terrorist behind the attack, who’s also after nuclear missile codes.

Take a Bourne movie and mash it together with Pierce Brosnan’s Bond, and you get Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. There’s no shortage of action in this one, as the franchise’s fourth entry is packed to the brim with explosions, chases, gadgets, and Tom Cruise running. But there’s also plenty of suspense driven spy moments. Whether its pure action, or sleuthy secret agent shenanigans, it’s all gut-wrenching, and blended together really well.

For a two hour plus movie, the pace is pretty quick. It rarely goes over 8-10 minutes without action or tension filled conflict. And for someone like me who hasn’t seen the last entry, there’s plenty of back story they expand on from that film, but it’s all explained naturally, and not clunky, or with long boring scenes of exposition.

 

The action is top-notch, and directed superbly by Brad Bird (Ratatouille, The Incredibles). It’s a good mix of the ‘hanging by a rope in the CIA’ type scenes from the original, and the ridiculous action of Mission: Impossible II. The scenes can go on a little too long though. There’s a foot chase through a sand storm that is just endless, and later, Jeremy Renner’s character goes through this giant air duct using magnets that is painfully repetitive.

The gadgets are also just too insane. Even though I made comparisons to the Pierce Brosnan Bond days, it still has enough Bourne Identity-type action to the point where these gadgets don’t really fit. There’s this whole rendering images thing they do inside the Kremlin that is simply outrageous, and really makes the film seem goofy. They needed to calm down with the crazy gadgets. The action can also get a little too cartoony at times, especially the end.

The acting all around is pretty solid. I know Tom Cruise isn’t loved by everyone these days, but in my opinion, his charisma is still there. He’s got great banter with Simon Pegg, especially at the beginning when it’s all non-verbal. Jeremy Renner is also a solid addition to the franchise.

At times, the film can get a little too jokey though, and even lovey-dovey in certain scenes. There are moments where the characters act like they are on a weekend ski getaway, and not bad ass agents. This is really apparent with the Paula Patton character Jane, who I just found really annoying for some reason.

 

I also hated the sub-plot of Ethan being chased by the Russian Government agent, Sidorov (Vladimir Mashkov). There’s a point where Ethan is standing on this ledge, trying to escape. Sidorov just pops his head out the window and smokes a cigarette with this ‘Yeah, he’s not jumping’ attitude. But when it looks obvious to Sidorov and the audience that Ethan has found a way to do it, Sidorov continues to just stare at him, and not do anything. And even after Ethan jumps, Sidorov just kind of stands there with this delayed reaction, looking like a complete moron. This was one of his first moments, so from that point forward, I could never take this threat seriously whenever he showed up in future scenes. He was like the Russian version of Wile E. Coyote.

The film also barely had a villain. He’s literally in two scenes, and I don’t think he even speaks. This was just generic terrorist guy #34. I did like Sabine Moreau (Lea Seydoux), this cold-blooded assassin, but she’s not the main antagonist, and only in a couple of scenes.

If you’re looking for a straight-up action fest (which can be hard to come by this time of year), Mission: Impossible –- Ghost Protocol is your answer. I wish the action was a little tighter at times, and the goofiness limited, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was a fun ride.

Rating: 7 out of 10 (Good)

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.