Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Directed by Brad Bird
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton
By this time, you’ve probably seen a Mission: Impossible film, or maybe you’ve seen them all. There really isn’t anything new to the way the film plays out or the espionage style with gizmos and gadgets that could be sold to Batman. But what intrigued me the most about the fourth installment of the franchise was the director, Brad Bird. This is his live-action debut after directing some of my favorite animated features: Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and The Iron Giant.
Bird did an exceptional job with Ghost Protocol by putting all of his weight on the acceleration pedal and never letting up. I must note that I viewed the film in IMAX and even though there was only a reported 27 minutes filmed specifically for IMAX, it made the whole experience better. There’s nothing like the rumbling of an aftershock vibrating your seat.
Anyway, Tom Cruise is back as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. After being broken out of a Moscow prison by Agent Carter and Dunn, he has to enter the Kremlin to extract files to reveal the identity of Cobalt, a man threatening to nuke America. When the plan fails, the Kremlin is destroyed and the idea of terrorism is high with Agent Hunt helmed as the leader. The IMF is disavowed but they still continue with their mission to track down Cobalt and disrupt his plan to launch a nuclear attack.
There is one scene that really took my breath away while watching Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and seeing it in IMAX only made me inch closer to the edge of my seat. The scene involves Tom Cruise dangling from the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, with just a pair of electrified adhesive gloves to climb several stories. The camera shot of how high up the building really goes gave me a serious case of vertigo, as I’m already scared of heights. I was simply flabbergasted throughout the whole suspenseful scene. Please Mr. Bird, how did you shoot this and did Cruise really do this stunt himself?
Aside from that jaw-dropping scene, the film had plenty of other high-pace, energetic moments from the chase scene through a sandstorm and the multiple-level fight scene inside a large car garage that changes platforms constantly. At the center of the entire movie is a very strong performance by Tom Cruise, displaying his intensity and professionalism from beginning to end. Simon Pegg provided much comedic relief while Jeremy Renner actually had a few humorous lines as well. And Paula Patton combined sexiness with a kick-ass attitude to compliment the team.
Overall, the pacing of the film is relentless and that’s a good thing. With a running time of 133 minutes, it never drags. And just like the Bond franchise, there seems to be plenty more missions for Ethan Hunt to take, though I would be content if this were the last because I love it when franchises save the best for last.