Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

The fourth chapter in the phenomenally popular Mission Impossible series has arrived in theaters and jump starts the franchise with a dynamic ensemble cast and a bold mix of action and adventure with a touch of comedy thrown in.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol opens with a daring escape from a Russian prison followed shortly thereafter by an infiltration of the Kremlin and subsequent explosion on the famed Russian landmark.

Tom Cruise returns as agent Ethan Hunt and is joined by Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Paula Patton. Shortly after the explosion at the Kremlin, tensions between the United States and Russia are at an all-time high. As a result, the president initiates Ghost Protocol, which effectively shuts down the Impossible Mission Force and eliminates many of their resources. As a result, Ethan and his team must take on an unsanctioned mission that will take them from Russia to Dubai to Mumbai in a race against time to not only clear the IMF from being blamed for the bombing, but to stop a deranged criminal from using stolen Russian launch codes to unleash a nuclear strike upon America.

Ethan and his team bring all manner of weapons and technology to bear against the enemy and while the action sequences are intense and the best in the series to date, they don’t overshadow the human element of the film as each character has a back story which helped endear them to the audience. Unlike previous films in the series, the plot is not as convoluted and hard to follow and director Brad Bird, making his live-action directing debut, does a fantastic job of pacing the film, never once letting it drag or become boring.

Pegg and Renner are fantastic additions to the series as Renner brings a sense of humanity to his role as analyst Brandt. Pegg gets a share of comedic lines and moments but is not there simply to provide comic relief, convincingly deadly serious when the action becomes hot and heavy. Patton holds her own with the guys and proves she is more than just a pretty face as her fight scene in a high-rise with an assassin is as intense as any action fan could want with a fantastic finale.

Cruise goes all-out in his performance and performs many of the film’s stunts himself, quite a few of them shriek-inducing, judging by the reaction of the ladies in the audience. While Ethan spends a lot of time running in the film, he also spends a lot of time fighting and it was very nice to see him share some of the responsibility for the film’s action scenes with his ensemble cast. I believe that the ensemble works so well that the studio should keep this team together for future installments in the series. The team has a winning formula that reinvigorates the series giving us what I believe is the best film in the series to date.

4 out of 5 stars