A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles. He must find a way to save both himself and one last victim.
In the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible series, Ethan Hunt and a new team race against time to track down Hendricks, a dangerous terrorist who has gained access to Russian nuclear launch codes and is planning a strike on the United States. An attempt by the team to stop him at the Kremlin ends in a disaster, with an explosion causing severe damage to the Kremlin and the IMF being implicated in the bombing, forcing the President to invoke Ghost Protocol, under which the IMF is disavowed, and will be offered no help or backup in any form. Undaunted, Ethan and his team chase Hendricks to Dubai, and from there to Mumbai, but several spectacular action sequences later, they might still be too late to stop a disaster. Written by
If you can't enjoy this ride then entertaining you is a mission: impossible.
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol is the forth film in the franchise (though first not to acknowledge its place in the title) and sees Tom Cruise reprising the leading role of the globe-trotting super spy Ethan Hunt. Throughout the series Hunt has evolved from team player to lone wolf and now in Ghost Protocol he must become a true leader of a team that, for the first time, he didn't choose.
The film blasts off into overdrive from the minute the gates open and rarely lets up, it's one hell of a ride and there's enough action and gadgets here to please any fan of the spy film genre. The plot is fairly straightforward; the bad guy obtains the key to the ultimate weapon and plans to destroy the world with it. Hunt and his team, working without the support of the IMF, must stop him at all costs. It has enough twists and turns to keep you engaged but it never gets so complicated that you risk getting lost while you're immersed in the mind- blowing stunt sequences. One thing fans of the series will probably notice this time around is that Hunt is more 'human' when it comes to the action than he has been in most of the previous outings. Not everything goes to plan and if he gets hit or falls down it hurts. Sure he's still a super spy and can do things most mortal men would never try in a million years but the added vulnerability and consequences of those actions gone wrong lifts the film to a new level and is one of the reasons it kept me on board all the way to the end.
If there is anything about this film that let me down a little it was the absence of a true 'super villain' like we had in MI3. Yes there's a villain and yes he's dangerous but there is something missing. I guess I could put it this way there is no, Joker to Hunt's Batman. In MI3 things get very personal between Hunt and Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and that jacked up the menace and intensity of the conflict to a level you'd expect to see in the ultimate villain but in M:I-GP that level of personal rivalry between protagonist and antagonist was a bit lacking. It's not that Michael Nyqvist (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) didn't deliver a good performance in the few scenes where he interacts with Cruise, it's just that there are so few of these moments that he is, in many ways, almost like another one of his own henchmen and I mistook him for other characters on a few occasions.
Personally I felt a greater presence and sense of danger from the female assassin, Sabine Moreau (Lea Seydoux Robin Hood), a beautiful yet malicious woman with a cold heartless gaze, completely devoid of compassion. In my opinion she'd have made a much better leading villain, especially as her actions do personally effect one of the team, but despite this little hiccup there is certainly more than enough obstacles to keep Hunt and his team busy and the audience well and truly entertained so this is really just nit-picking on my part.
After the relative disappointment of the second Mission: Impossible film, first time feature director J.J. Abrams (of TV's ALIAS and Lost fame) injected some much needed heart and soul into the third installment, expertly balancing a romantic subplot with the high-octane action sequences all fans demand of such a film. Although Abrams was not going to direct the fourth film it was reassuring to see that he was still involved as a producer so I had relatively high hopes that Ghost Protocol would live up to MI3 and I wasn't disappointed.
Like MI3 before it Ghost Protocol's director's chair is filled with another first timer of sorts and like the previous chapter that 'gamble' has paid off. Although Brad Bird is not a first time feature helmer this is his first foray into the world of live action so he might not seem to be the most obvious choice but there was never any doubt from either Abrams or Cruise about his talent and potential to deliver a great film. Bird's impressive previous credits include The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille (the last two having won Academy Awards for best Animated Feature Film). Like Abrams, Bird has also had great success on the small screen as an executive consultant on the Simpsons and I've been a fan of his work since chancing upon Family Dog (from Spielberg's 'Amazing Stories' series) in the early 90's.
Simon Pegg (Paul) reprises his role as Benji Dunn from MI3, the computer whiz behind all the action. Dunn has now graduated from a 'behind the desk cameo' to a fully qualified field officer and as a result gets a much beefier role in this mission becoming one of Hunt's rogue team. Pegg's natural comedic timing and likable charm adds a much-needed element of lightheartedness to the franchise that could have easily backfired had this role been miscast.
Rounding out the new team are IMF agents Jane Carter (Paula Patton Deja Vu) and William Brandt (Jeremy Renner The Hurt Locker), and both actors deliver solid performances. Carter is as sexy as she is deadly and Patton slips between these two persona's with ease while Brandt hides a secret past allowing Renner to show a vulnerability we're not used to seeing in the roles he normally plays.
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol delivers exactly the type of entertainment action fans crave and as a result it is perfect popcorn movie. If you don't enjoy this ride then entertaining you is a mission: impossible.
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