Three awesome Mission Impossible movies should have been enough to close the movie trilogy but Tom Cruise feels confident that the franchise has enough juice to up the stakes with Ethan Hunt at the helm of yet another mission to save the world from utter destruction. I could almost hear Cruise laughing his way to the bank as this latest adventure paid off in spades for the MI team which includes director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouile) and JJ Abrams (as co-producer).
After Ethan Hunt marries his fiancee Julia in the third movie, the movie opens with a new team of IMF agents Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), the former IMF technician from the third movie and Jane Carter (Paula Patton) breaking Hunt out of a Russian prison for allegedly killing Serbian hit squad for the unexplained death of his wife. He receives a new mission, this time to stop a nuclear extremist known as Cobalt from launching missiles that could wipe out mankind in his goal to attain world peace. In order to do so, Hunt, together with his new team must infiltrate the Kremlin to intercept vital information that could lead them to Cobalt and prevent him from realizing his goal. When an explosion hits The Kremlin, the incident is pinned on Ethan and his team and the President of the United States is forced to activate Ghost Protocol, a secret operation which disavows the entire IMF in case their agents are caught by the enemy. After receiving instructions from the secretary to discreetly get to the bottom of the matter, the secretary is killed and Ethan finds himself saddled with another member of his team, analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), who harbors secrets of his own.
Ghost Protocol was an enjoyable ride in its own right. It remained faithful to the original television series on which it was based and paid tribute to the franchise from the beginning of the opening credits. The movie was action packed, as what was expected from the previous films and has great humor provided by British comedian Simon Pegg (Shawn of the Dead, Hot Fuzz). There was also a wealth of great action stunts and close calls that has become the trademark of the franchise — this time in Russia and Dubai at the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa. And consistent with the MI 3, there was a lot of chase scenes and running on the part of the film’s lead star Tom Cruise.
What I liked about the movie was that there was a certain vulnerability to each of the characters and although they were portrayed as the creme of the crop in their field of work, the film showed that they were not exempt from failure, and that they too have to wrestle with their personal demons.
The flow of the story was good as there was a certain balance to successes and failures that the team experienced throughout their journey to save the world from annhilation. There was also a great continuity with the previous movies due to cameos of stars who have appeared in the earlier films towards the end of the film.
The main problem I found with the film was that story in itself was not very original. Frankly, I felt like while there were a lot of cool gadgets on display, the stunts were mere rehashes of stunts that have already been done in previous movies. While executed nicely, the film still suffers in comparison to most hard core action offerings released recently (The Expendables, Taken). It even suffers in comparison to its predecessors, which served up many great and memorable moments like Cruise’s Close Call scene in where he was hanging from the ceiling as he tried to copy the NOC file, with sweat starting to drip from his brow (which he catches in time before it landed on the floor). Ghost Protocol was good movie, but it lacked a certain swagger that it should have been waving around to sustain the momentum it gained from the first three movies. It seemed to me that it was holding back rather than pushing forward to bring the franchise to new heights.
All in all, Ghost Protocol was well worth the money audiences shell out to see it on the big screen. There was great acting and a good execution of the scenes but the team could have done better, in my opinion. Perhaps, the audiences (myself included) may have been expecting too much but after the success of the franchise, I guess it was to be expected.