FlixChatter Review: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

It’s been a while since the last time I was excited to see a Tom Cruise movie. I was intrigued when the first trailer came out, but it’s this featurette that got me hooked! Yes, The Dark Knight Rises prologue was a major factor of course (more on that on tomorrow’s Weekend Roundup), so those two combined is enough to get my hubby and I to shell out $16 bucks a piece to see this in IMAX!

Unlike the convoluted story of the first Mission Impossible movie, this time around the plot is pretty easy to follow, albeit predictable:

The IMF (which apparently stands for Impossible Missions Force, NOT International Monetary Fund) is shut down when it’s framed by a terrorist group in the bombing of the Kremlin, propelling Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization’s name.

I have to admit, I thought the story reminds me of a Sean Connery/Roger Moore era Bond movies, what with the stereotypical Russian villains, nuclear war threats, etc., but what makes the film works is the execution. Pixar director Brad Bird (The Incredibles) in his first foray into live action film confidently packed this movie with bombastic action sequences that thrills from start to finish!

Cruise is in top form as the super-spy/bionic man (how else do you explain him surviving multiple high-rise falls & car crashes with barely a scratch??), and his death-defying stunts are really the reason we go see a Mission Impossible movie! The Burj Khalifa scene is truly the highlight of this movie, it’s pure adrenaline-rush seeing ’em on those huge IMAX screens! If you have vertigo, you might already passed out at this point as the camera pans down vertically to make you feel as if you were right on top of the building along with Cruise. Even my palms got a bit sweaty seeing this whole scene, but just like a fun roller coaster ride, seeing him perched 2000+ feet above the ground is absolutely thrilling to watch. When that scene is over, I wish I could rewind it and see it over again! I tell you, this scene alone alone is worth the IMAX admission price for me.

Fortunately, the level of excitement doesn’t go downhill after that. The sandstorm chase scene and the suspense inside the Burj Khalifa hotel itself are pretty engaging. Each high-octane action sequence advances the storyline instead of simply being there as crowd-pleasers. Ethan and his team work well together, thanks to a talented crew of actors. Jeremy Renner is obviously a capable actor, and he’s quite likable here (I wasn’t too keen on him in The Town). I’m starting to warm up slightly to the idea of him taking over the franchise. This scene of him hanging with his hands spread wide is a classic Mission Impossible shot, so perhaps this is the producers’ way of signaling the audience that he’s the next Ethan Hunt??

This movie also seems a lot more whimsical than before. Even though Simon Pegg was also in the previous installment, the script calls for even more comic relief all around. Even the beginning prison scene and the one inside the Kremlin is quite hilarious. I think it’s wise that the screenwriters didn’t take a movie like this too seriously, I mean the title alone should warn you NOT to expect a profound espionage thriller.

Paula Patton brings on the sex appeal in droves as the bad ass agent Carter. This mission is more of a personal vendetta for her as the intro indicates, so her role is more than just the sexy agent, though of course there is a time when her sensuality is crucial to the mission. In the scene of her wearing the green dress with slit up-to-there, she has a similar grand entrance out of the sports car like Maggie Q did in MI3. Well, if it ain’t broke, why fix it, right? Slumdog Millionaire‘s Anil Kapoor brings on the sleaze as the Indian rich guy Carter has to seduce, and Patton does it with aplomb.

Ghost Protocol plays like a popcorn Summer blockbuster, I’m surprised this movie didn’t open in July as I’d think it’d still fare pretty well against the competition. As I said before, the story is pretty generic with the villain by the name Cobalt (Michael Nyqvist) hellbent on starting WWIII for seemingly no particular reason. I’ve never seen the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo film, but I’d think Nyqvist was more effective in that one. That’s just one of the things that keep this from being a GREAT movie.

That said, Brad Bird’s confident direction and the inventive actions scenes makes this movie work. Just like in 007 movies, the iconic theme song for the MI franchise is also used to great effect here and complement the robust scenes perfectly. By the end you’d be willing to forgive quibbles such as Hunt being indestructible as if he were injected with adamantium, and even that darn ‘mission accomplished’ line.

4 out of 5 reels

So what do you think of this movie? Are you a fan of the MI franchise? I’d love to hear what you think.

29 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

  1. Ted S.

    This might be my favorite one but I have to see it again to make sure, as of now the first Mission film is still my favorite. Bird definitely listened to the fans and made the film into a real team effort instead of just Tom Cruise doing everything by himself. This one really reminds me of the first film, Ethan didn’t fire a gun and it only contained one explosion in the whole film. The previous film has like 15 explosions the first 20 minutes and in MI-2, Ethan was like a madman with machine guns and pistols. I agree about the villain, he’s too one dimensional but again all of the previous films never did have a solid villain.

    I think it was good move by Paramount to release it in December as opposed to summer time, the last Mission film opened in May and it tanked. If this one turns out to be huge hit, which looks like it might be, then we’ll see future M:I films in the Holidays time.

    1. Glad to see this with you, Ted. And I’m glad I didn’t get dizzy seeing this in IMAX, in fact it made it even more thrilling! Glad that you like this the best out of the rest, the action stuff really made the movie, don’t they? And yeah, there’s not a lot of explosions and shoot-outs, how refreshing for an MI movie!

      You made a good point there about the opening time, I guess if the Holiday-time formula works, they might as well stick with it.

  2. Matt Stewart

    I am not a huge fan of the series in the first place, but this one was definitely my favorite. I just caught a showing this afternoon and loved it. I have to admit though, when Cruise almost fell off that building I nearly died of a heart attack!

    Agree on the “mission accomplished” line, so cheesy. However, it worked out okay because another character actually made fun of the line haha.

    Nice review Ruth!

    1. Hi Matt, I just read your review, glad you love this too! Ha..ha.. yeah, that scene got my palms sweating I tell ya, it was such a rush as if you’re in a real roller coaster, I LOVE it!

      Yeah I’m glad the other character made fun of Cruise for saying that line, I mean come on!!

  3. Hi, Ruth and company:

    Great write-up and photos!

    It’s nice that ‘Mission Impossible’ seems to be turning away from the Bang! Bang! Shoot ’em up and pyrotechnics of previous films.

    Until Tom Cruise can train a cat to walk across an extended, collapsible beam and steal the Crown Jewels of some third world country while the monitor watching guards are distracted. An actual plot line from the third or fourth season of the CBS series. I’ll sit on the sidelines and wait.

  4. I am not a big MI fan, but I will see it on Friday with my dad, I wanna take him to the cinema- he doesn’t really have time to go, so it will be a bonding moment. Sounds interesting, great review Ruth!

    1. Oh that sounds great Aziza, I hope your dad loves action movies, if so then he’s in for a treat! You won’t be bored, I can tell you that for sure 🙂

  5. I have a confession to make. I haven’t seen any of the MI films. I just cannot get on board with Mr Cruise and his high heel shoes.

    But you seem to like it and I trust your views Ruth.

    I am prepared to give it a go, great review as always matey

    1. Mwahahaha… your comments had me in stitches matey!! Y’know what’s funny, with all the gravity-defying stuff they pulled in this movie, what they couldn’t do is make Cruise look tall!! A few times during the movie I actually thought, man is this guy stocky. When he’s shirtless he looked even shorter. As you know I have a thing for tall guys… Gerry & Gregory are both over 6’2″ but I guess Cruise has that gorgeous face going for him. That last shot of him at the end shows that off and even at his age, he’s still a very good looking man.

      Anyway, give it a go matey, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

  6. I admit the movie is exciting and somehow makes me jumped and feel the tension. The cast is good too. I had to wait 2 hours to watch it because the closest hour is full, but totally worth to watch. This is the first time I actually saw MI (it’s a shame, I know) but I wish I had seeing Tom Cruise doing his live action in his prime.

    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed this Andina, and your first IM movie no less. Well, I think Cruise is as good here as in the previous movies, he just looks a bit older.

    1. Is there a discounted cinema near you Julian? Sometimes I wait until things get there as it’s only $2.50 there. My best wishes on your job hunt, man!

  7. Nice review Ruth. High octane entertainment is all I expect and this looks like it will easily fit the bill. I hope to see this sometime this week once it’s released on normal non-IMAX screens this Wednesday. I just didn’t feel like I had to pay extra when I can probably catch it for $5 on Wednesday afternoon or something 😉

    1. Sounds good Cas, I think it’ll look great in a regular theater too. I never thought I’d pay that much for a movie but glad it was well worth it!

    1. I think it’ll deliver even if you have expectation for this, T, thanks to Brad Bird and Cruise in top form. Looking forward to hearing what you think!

  8. Good review Ruth.

    Personally, the MI franchise is one that I never fully invested in. In fact, I don’t think I ever saw the second one.

    But I will give it up to Mr. Cruise, he knows how to get an interesting cast around him. I was watching the trailer over Thanksgiving with the fam and all the men were oogling Ms. Patton.

  9. Great review, Ruth. It does sound like a lot of fun and I would like to see this but there are quite a few others that take priority. I haven’t watched MI2 or MI3 for a very long time either so better catch up quickly!

  10. I really enjoyed this installment, even more so than the previous one. I’m actually hoping that this movie serves as the last of the series and they don’t try bringing it back with Jeremy Renner. As much as I enjoyed Renner in this, I think he worked well as a supporting cast member. Especially since he’s expected to be the next Jason Bourne, I don’t see why he needs to be the next Ethan Hunt too.

    That “Mission Accomplished!” line actually made me laugh, and then when his friend made fun of him, I forgave them for putting that line in there.

    Nice review!

  11. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. I went in with pretty low expectations as the last two MI films left a lot to be desired. My only real gripe was how they attemped to jam some dramatic sequences into the film. They seemed really out of place. Nice review

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