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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.64%
Worth A Look61.36%
Average: 22.73%
Pretty Bad: 2.27%
Total Crap: 0%

4 reviews, 20 user ratings

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Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Brad Bird makes it cool."
4 stars

The "Mission Impossible" film series has crossed the fifteen-year mark, and Tom Cruise is pushing fifty, but neither show much strain in the new entry, "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol."

Iím tempted to say that this movie is what the franchise should have been all along: light-hearted, preposterous, and, most importantly, easy to follow. Here, Cruiseís Ethan Hunt is after a man who wants to start a nuclear war between America and Russia. Oh, that old thing again. But the goal is refreshingly clear: stop this guy before he blows up everything. There are no double crosses, no tormented plotting. Thereís the bad guy ó go get him. I appreciate that.

The movie didnít thrill me, exactly, but itís absorbing. Half the film devotes itself to the ludicrously convoluted schemes Ethan and his IMF team ó including ass-kicking Paula Patton, returning Simon Pegg, and shadowy Jeremy Renner ó hatch in order to gain access to highly secure places. My favorite, used early on in Moscow, is a screen that covers a hallway and projects what a security guard is supposed to be seeing, while Ethan and Peggís tech guy Benji hide behind it and move it forward a few feet every minute or so. Not only that, some sort of tracking is used to move the image on the screen so that it looks natural to the security guard wherever heís standing or sitting. It would have been easier, I suspect, simply to take the guard out with technology no more sophisticated than a blow dart. But it wouldnít have been as cool.

Coolness, indeed, is the filmís main weapon. This is the live-action directing debut of Brad Bird, an animator best known for his work on The Simpsons and his acclaimed animated features The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille. Bird approaches Ghost Protocol as a live-action cartoon, yet one with an appealing sense of physics. Ethan Hunt gets bashed around quite a bit, landing in the hospital not once but twice. When heís prone and exhausted near the end, we believe it. Cruise is in fine shape, but heís aging out of his pretty-boy looks ó the nose is starting to look gnarled and bulbous, approaching Owen Wilson levels. And so when he gets chewed up, while his teammates mostly kick back on the sidelines (although Patton gets a nicely feral fight scene and Renner gets a high-stress mid-air scene that almost parodies Ethanís dangling in the first film), he becomes more human and likable, somehow. Cruise isnít quite so cocky here. Ethan throws himself into impossible situations because thereís no other way; he doesnít just assume heís going to master the situation.

The movieís most sung and storied sequence by far places Ethan on the side of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world. Cruise, we are assured, is really up there, though suspended by wires that were later digitally removed. The scene could easily have been faked, but Birdís camera, moving around Cruiseís body and staring down the face of the monolith, catches images that simply wouldnít occur to anyone to fake. Itís the centerpiece of the film but doesnít take up too much time; itís economical and governed by the storyís needs, like everything else in the movie.

As for the rest of it, itís a smoothly rhythmed piece of work, moving at a pace sufficient to bypass inconvenient questions. Ethan is on the side of the building so he can access the placeís server so that the team can fake a meeting and swap a fake nuclear code for a real one using special contact lenses and a fake hand, when in a more boring film they mightíve just killed the thugs and taken the code. Itís the theater of subterfuge.

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originally posted: 01/02/12 08:31:44
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User Comments

8/28/13 Jeff Wilder Definitely the best in the series so far. 4 stars
1/27/13 the truth paula patton. 'nuff said. and more famous cruise sprinting (even up skyscrapers)! awesome 5 stars
5/06/12 The Taitor Started good, the middle was decent but the ending was over the top, not better than #2or3 3 stars
4/14/12 action movie fanb very good action and story james bond like film 5 stars
4/01/12 sdxf Solid and entertaining 4 stars
3/09/12 G Scott Strangely boring for so much action, but looks gorgeous in IMAX 3 stars
1/24/12 Devin Sabas great action a must see in imax if you can 5 stars
1/13/12 Donald Hallett good action flick acting could have been better 3 stars
1/13/12 Isaac What a phenomenal action film. Brad Bird is a true auteur. 5 stars
1/07/12 mr.mike Best action film in 5 years. 5 stars
1/01/12 Koitus I liked it. Could have used more gun-play, though. Beautiful women & cars! 3 stars
12/30/11 R.W. Welch Floorboard actioner, but overlong and a shade gimmicky. B- 4 stars
12/30/11 SREEKIRAN MURALIDHARAN breathtaking stunts and excellent presentation 4 stars
12/27/11 KingNeutron Great action movie - Cruise redeemed himself with this one 4 stars
12/25/11 Flipsider Contains some incredible action sequences! Fantastic!!! 5 stars
12/22/11 davofern A white knuckle ride for most of the movie 4 stars
12/21/11 Stacie Clark not so great :( 2 stars
12/19/11 MC Thrilling. Definitely the best action film of the year! 4 stars
12/17/11 Ming Best action film of the Year. Great skyscraper stunt scene 4 stars
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  21-Dec-2011 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-Apr-2012

  26-Dec-2011 (12A)

  15-Dec-2011 (M)
  DVD: 17-Apr-2012

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