Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

The latest entry in the Mission Impossible series blew the doors off of theaters recently. With nearly universal praise from critics of all sorts, and holding a Rotten Tomatoes rating in the 90’s, this is a movie that demands attention. For those unfamiliar with the series, Mission Impossible was an espionage television series that was popular in its day. It never quite had the huge following that kept other older shows in the mainstream, but the name is fairly well-known. This entry is the fourth movie in the series, and is the best by far.

Tom Cruise returns as IMF (Impossible Mission Force) Agent Ethan Hunt. One of the best things about this series is charting Hunt’s growth from a cocky youth who was in over his head, to the hard-bitten veteran of the recent entry. Ghost Protocol begins with a bang, quite literally as like the other films a lit fuse plays a role in the opening credits. Even more than the other films, particularly the over-the-top second film by John Woo, this movie adds suspense to the numerous action sequences. Despite the main character being incredibly competent, the action sequences are filmed with a tangible feeling of danger.

One scene that deserves special mention is the highly publicized sequence where Tom Cruise scaled part of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. Like the great Jackie Chan he did not use any stunt doubles in the filming. Considering the fact that the tower clocks in at an impressive and record holding 2,723 ft that earns him some major points. Especially since just watching that part gave me palm sweats, and that was without seeing it in IMAX. The rest of the film is similarly impressive, with the supporting cast turning in great performances.

Simon Pegg returns from the third movie as the tech guy and provides a bit of comic relief as well; while Paula Patton plays an agent who is looking for revenge while managing to avoid falling into the role of default romantic interest. After his brief but fun cameo in Thor, Jeremy Renner is subdued dynamite as an analyst who gets swept along on the mission. His character is a refreshing counterpoint to the confidence of Cruise. Although J.J. Abrams did not return to helm this entry, director Brad Bird stepped up to take control. Despite being his first time directing a live-action film, he is responsible for such amazing movies as: The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and The Iron Giant which he wrote as well. Considering his prior work, and Oscars, it is little surprise that he did such an amazing job.

Still, just as much as Bird, Tom Cruise makes this movie his own. Despite the shaky relationship between the mega star and some viewers, the latest entry in the action espionage series illustrates perfectly why Mr. Cruise is famous. Mission Impossible is a franchise that conforms and breaks away from the standard ideas about what it means to be a franchise, much the same way he conforms and diverges from what it means to be a huge movie star. Anyway, love him or hate him, the simple truth is that Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is an excellent film, and the best entry in the series. Do yourself a favor, feed your action craving, and see this great film.

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