Film review: ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’
Wed, Dec 14, 2011 (4:30 p.m.)
- Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
- Directed by Brad Bird
- Rated PG-13
- Beyond the Weekly
- Official Movie Site
- IMDb: Mission: Impossible –- Ghost Protocol
- Rotten Tomatoes: Mission: Impossible –- Ghost Protocol
As Hollywood franchises go, the Mission: Impossible series has proven surprisingly robust. In part, that’s because it attracts major talent behind the camera: Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams and now Brad Bird, a Pixar veteran making his live-action debut. Sure enough, the most exhilarating sequences in Ghost Protocol, which finds Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt escaping from a Russian prison in order to track down a generic villain preparing to wreak nuclear mayhem, move with some of the same screwball kineticism as does Bird’s The Incredibles, with the additional frisson of looking for all the world as if they’re really happening. No matter how conscious you may be that special-effects wizards worked overtime to create the illusion, it really does appear as if Cruise is scaling the 130th floor of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
Stunning set pieces like that one—others include the opening jailbreak, the use of a hi-tech scrim to fool a Kremlin security guard and a chase through a blinding sandstorm—take precedence over the usual banter among Ethan and his team, which here includes Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) as an analyst thrust into the field, Paula Patton (Precious) as the ass-kicking eye candy and Simon Pegg, reprising his role from the last film as a nerdy tech guy. Attempts to find an emotional core in back story involving Ethan’s wife (a cameo by Michelle Monaghan) fall flat, but those aren’t what anybody’s looking for anyway. As a mostly single-minded thrill machine, Ghost Protocol delivers. On occasion, thanks to Bird, it even soars.