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Sep 24, 2012

Review: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

          Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Vladimir Mashkov, Samuli Edelmann, Ivan Shvedoff, Anil Kapoor, Lea Seydoux, Josh Holloway, Pavel Kriz, Miraj Grbic, Ilia Volok, Tom Wilkinson, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, Mike Dopud, Ivo Novak, Brian Caspe, April Stewart and Nicola Anderson.

                  Brad Bird.

                The fourth installment in the popular action spy franchise, Mission Impossible, is directed by Brad Bird which is his first live action movie. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol stars Tom Cruise reprising his role as IMF Agent Ethan Hunt with supporting cast of Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Paula Patton along with others. I was able to catch this movie a few months back, surprisingly it is the best of the series and also one of the best action movies i have seen recently. I have been feeling quite a distant lately from mindless sci-fi or blockbuster action movies, which i suppose is how its going to be like from now on. But when you get an immensely entertaining action movie that don't take itself seriously while not being very silly with gags just to make audience please with its dumbness backed up by a filmmaker who completely invests himself in the project, there is no reason i wont be interested in watching that movie. Ghost Protocol not only got the best reviews so far for the MI series but it grossed more than its previous movies while making it the highest grossing movie starring Tom Cruise ($694,713,380 worldwide).

            Movie starts with an IMF agent Trevor Hanaway (Josh Holloway) being killed by an assassin Sabine Moreau in Budapest. His team leader, Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and field agent Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) then locates Ethan Hunt and his source in a Moscow Prison and gets them out of there. The introduction of Hunt in the movie is very good, he is shown playing with a ball while suddenly music starts playing as the agents tries to get him out. Its very bad ass while not trying to overdo the usual action movies tactics to introduce their hero of the movie in a very over the top way. He is almost introduced as a rogue agent, the villain if you will. What follows is an interesting back and forth chase of Hunt with his source, the police and the prisoners while he finds the spot to get out of the prison. Benji is immediately shown as the man who'll provides the much needed laughs in this movie played perfectly by Simon Pegg, a role which is suitable for a comedic performer like him. While Paula Patton is shown as this bad ass, brainy and focused agent but with a past with the dead former agent who is shown killed in the start of the movie. Ethan Hunt's mission is to lead Jane and Benji to infiltrate secret Moscow Kremlin archives and locate the files that will identify "Cobalt" who later is identified as Kurt Hendricks, who is a Swedish born Russian nuclear scientist/strategist planning to start a nuclear war. Ethan Hunt is arrested by a Russian agent while the other two escapes when their plan go wrong as Hendricks alerts the intelligence of Hunt and his team plans. A black operation contingency "Ghost Protocol" is activated after Russian declares that an act of undeclared war which disavows the IMF. William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Ethan Hunt escapes as IMF's Secretary is killed by Russian security.

            With its very stylish and slick style, the cool looking out of this world gadgets and some pretty big and impressive action set pieces, this is a grand amount of fun you can have watching a movie. One of those scenes takes place in Dubai, on the Tallest Building of the world, Burj Khalifa. Exchange between Moreau and Hendricks's right hand man, Wistrom is set to take place there while Hunt's team infiltrate in disguise to misguide them while taking over the codes. Its breathtaking and almost heart stopping to see Tom Cruise climb out of the window and then crawl his way up with his special gloves. A point when he slips while outside the building will stop your heartbeat. The impressive way camera operates in those moments is amazing. The fight sequences feels real thanks to everyone not using stunt doubles. Another scene is a chase during a sandstorm in Dubai which is as impressive as anything great out there in the world. The sheer joy you get watching Hunt running through the markets and cars while a thick layer of dust is everywhere in the atmosphere creates a sense of thrilling environment and its something i haven't seen in a movie being done with this much perfection. The use of IMAX cameras for few scenes elevates the greatness of the movie even further, its better to use this technology over 3D cameras for clear bright images. I wont say that the screenplay or the plot is perfect in the movie, its very generic with some convoluted parts but it nevertheless doesn't bring down the entire movie with itself thanks to Brad Bird's clever direction.

           That's not to say that the screenplay while being a bit weak completely relies on the stunning visuals and eye candy gimmicks but its interesting how character driven this movie is. Each character has an interesting dynamic in this movie, a sense of direction each with their own personal stories and arcs which is perfectly merged in the movie making it very interesting. Some slow driven developments in the movie makes it a bit down to earth, another reason why i think it doesn't rely completely on the action. The humor is amazing, feels real and interesting, genuine one, not too silly. The best action/adventure movie of 2011 that combines a great use of entertaining, fast paced and almost pulse pounding action with impressive state of the art tech stuff to create a movie that is not just your usual blockbuster popcorn flick but an intelligent one.

Grade: A-