Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

"Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol movie poster"

It is rare in the Mission: Impossible franchise for Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) to be assigned an agency tasked mission and enjoy support both from his home office and regular team members who he has worked with in the past.  In fact, this has only happened once, in Mission: Impossible II.  In the other three films, including the latest, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Ethan and/or the entire IMF are accused of disloyalty, treason, and rogue operations while try attempt to thwart global villains.  Taking down the bad guy is always much harder while being pursued by your own government.  In the first and third films, Ethan was personally labeled a traitor, now, the entire IMF organization are disavowed because both the American and Russian governments are going to blame them for blowing up the Kremlin.  How is that for having the backing of your boss?
The man responsible for blowing up the Kremlin and framing the IMF is also the franchise’s most far-reaching, intellectual, and dangerous villain yet – a sort of nuclear philosopher who believes that only global nuclear annihilation will evolve the human race.  Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist) appears just as capable as Ethan Hunt at pulling off intricately detailed capers, breaking into impossible to break in buildings, and being especially useful in lightning fast car chases, fist fights, and any other form of covert espionage.  He leads Ethan and his team to some extremely exotic locales including Budapest, Moscow, Dubai, and Mumbai.  If there is one asset of chasing a wily villain focused on blowing up the world, he will give you a thorough tour first.
The hodgepodge IMF team this time around features the girl (Paula Patton), the geeky tech guy (Simon Pegg), and the unknown variable with a hidden past (Jeremy Renner).  They also bring along the most cutting-edge technology which, in theory, should help them infiltrate, evade, and assert control over any situation.  What makes this iteration of the franchise so fascinating is that time and time again, technology lets them down.  Masks, a staple of these films, fail to come together, climbing equipment fails when it is needed the most, and even car chases in the world’s most advanced automobiles are slowed down by pedestrian traffic jams.  It is refreshing to see action heroes have to reset and troubleshoot technical glitches just like the regular folk do.    
I highly recommend you spend the extra surcharge and experience Ghost Protocol in its intended IMAX setting.  The large screen is the perfect fit for the outrageous stunts being performed almost every minute and the surround sound truly has an impact on the theater’s audience.  The Kremlin explosion and the acrobatic scenes performed in and on the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, should be appreciated with state of the art film technology.  I realize after seeing it in IMAX that watching it on my home entertainment system would noticeably diminish the impact of the film’s stunts and artistry.
I have yet to decide where Ghost Protocol ranks in relation to the other Mission: Impossible films, but it is far from the least of them.  The script is detailed and well thought out, the action scenes are stunningly captivating, and the tension felt as the villain moves step by step towards his goal is real.  The team sidekicks are not to the level of the first Mission: Impossible film, remember Ving Rhames and Jean Reno, and the set-up with false accusations and treasonous allegations are a plot device which is growing ever staler as they use it once again to make the spy team perspire that much more. 
However, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is worth the time and money to experience what felt like a very pleasurable movie going experience.  It is never dull, does not get too carried away with itself, and carries on a fine franchise tradition; Ethan Hunt will perform the craziest and gut-churning stunts to stop the bad guy. 

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