Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

I normally don’t like doing reviews on big-budget Hollywood blockbuster action movies. There are plenty of other websites and movie reviewers that do that. We usually look at smaller movies or the type of films that fly under the radar screen. But I couldn’t help myself in the case of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. I grew up watching Mission Impossible back in the 1960s and 1970s so I’m definitely a fan. I love the espionage genre. There’s nothing more exciting than pulling a fast one and getting away with the goods. And nobody excels better at that then the Impossible Mission force or IMF.

I was thrilled in 1996 when the series was adapted into theatrical films. The previous three movies have been excellent. The good news is Ghost Protocol is the best of the series yet. This is a sensational film that not only offers spectacular action sequences but, more importantly, also has a solid story with good character development along the way. It’s everything you expect in a thriller and then some.

Did I say the action sequences were spectacular? If you’re scared of heights, you might want to keep your eyes closed during the part where Tom Cruise (who does his own stunts) is climbing the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which is over 2,600 feet tall. Ghost Protocol reminds me of James Bond films when they were hitting their stride. It has many similarities to Bond films, such as outlandish and exotic locations, supervilians, unbelievable chase sequences and, of course, a stylish, dark and mysterious leading man.

Tom Cruise is not only solid but exceeds in his portrayal of the lead IMF agent, Ethan Hunt. Over the years, Cruise has had his detractors to say the least. To put it bluntly, the movie critics seem to despise Tom Cruise on a personal level. I just don’t get it. Why the hate? Did he leave them off of their Christmas card list? Tom Cruise is a solid actor. He consistently delivers a good performance. He’s perfect in the role of Ethan Hunt. And he can do several more Mission Impossible movies if he desires. I think it’s going to be the signature role in his career.

Back to the movie. We find Ethan Hunt sitting in a Russian prison. His fellow IMF agents Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) are dispatched to break him out of prison. A code name operant (Cobalt) is trying to acquire secret, Russian active nuclear launch codes. In order to discover the true identity of Cobalt, Ethan Hunt must break into the Kremlin. Of course, things don’t go as planned. A massive explosion rips through the Kremlin, and the IMF team is blamed for the terrorist act. The President of the United States, having no other choice, must disavow the existence of the IMF team by enacting Ghost Protocol. Without support or backup, Hunt and his remaining IMF agents must stop Cobalt, who is bent on acquiring the codes and a nuclear launch control device. His ultimate plan is for a nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia, and the only one standing in his way is Ethan Hunt.

That’s the basic plot; however, there are plenty of twists and turns along the way so I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag. As with any Mission Impossible story, there will be plenty of disguises, double-crosses, and maybe even a triple cross.

Bottom line: It’s just a fun movie. Yes, there’s plenty of eye candy from Moscow to Dubai to Mumbai. As I said Tom Cruise does his own stunts. I don’t know if the guy is courageous or completely out of his mind. But you’ve got to give him credit; he puts everything he has into making a movie. You get his best shot. So if you are looking for a thriller that actually thrills, then I suggest you put this on your Christmas viewing list.

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