Title: Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol
WTF Is "Ghost Protocol?" What Casper and Samara learned at finishing school, I guess.
Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Three Soviet Vanessa Angels out of five.
Tagline: "No plan. No backup. No choice."
Better Tagline: "Help me, Brad Bird. You're my only hope."
Brief Plot Synopsis: Disavowed by the government, the Impossible Mission Force must nevertheless thwart a terrorist intending to trigger nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia.
Quick: Rank the M:I Movies From Best To Worst: III, Ghost Protocol, I, II.
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: After the IMF is implicated in blowing up the Kremlin (!), the President invokes "ghost protocol," effectively abandoning agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the rest of his team -- Jane (Paula Patton), Benji (Simon Pegg) and "analyst" Brandt (Jeremy Renner) -- to the fates. Trouble is, there's still a former Soviet nuclear strategist code-named "Cobalt" (Michael Nyqvist) intent on using stolen launch codes to start a nuclear war to trigger the next wave of human evolution.
How that got through the KGB psych evaluation escapes me.
Brandt, thrown in with the team by chance, may also be more than he seems. And may know something about why Hunt was in a Soviet prison at the beginning of the movie.
"Critical" Analysis: Leave it to the director of The Incredibles to make the M:I movies fun.
I was going to say "fun again," but they've never really been that. The first two especially were brooding, mostly incomprehensible messes with momentary flashes of humor. I have no idea how much Bird had to do with altering the mood (beefing up Pegg's presence has a lot to do with it as well), or whether the balloon burst after Tropic Thunder, but at least someone finally convinced Cruise to let Ethan Hunt lighten up a bit.
But I'll go ahead and give him the credit for making the latest entry in the annals of the IMF much less of a chore to sit through. Hunt actually banters with Benji and the New Guy, allowing humor to develop even while dangling off the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and sending Carter to seduce an Indian telecom mogul in order to prevent his satellite from being compromised by Hendricks.
In case you hadn't guessed, the general ridiculousness of the plots hasn't changed. In addition to goofing things up, Bird and company have also abandoned any pretense that the IMF perform realistic intelligence work. This is some Star Trek-level techno-nonsense, but the locations (Moscow! Dubai! Mumbai!), stunts (free climbing! Speeding car fight!), and ambient batshittedness of the entire endeavor (rogue sandstorm! Automated parking garage fight!), including a quote-unquote thrilling climax that was cribbed almost entirely from Spies Like Us, provide ample distraction.
However, I must admit to two complaints. One major, one less so. (I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which)
First, for a team that's been "disavowed" by the government and cut off from all support, the IMF still has access to just about everything they need. I mean, they have a freaking rail car full of gear, clothes and at least one automobile. "Ghost protocol" would seem a lot more sinister if you had to infiltrate a formal event wearing sweats and your hair in a bun.
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And far be it from me to criticize a guy who wants to keep up his bread and butter (action movies), but at 49, Cruise is starting to look a little haggard. Ironically, the dude can still haul ass. He probably spends more screen time running in this movie than in any other besides M:I III, but the years are starting to show. At the very least, I don't think we need to see him without a shirt anymore.
See It/Rent It/Skip It Go ahead and see it, but it's up to you if you want to shell out the extra $10 for the privilege of watching the extended Dark Knight Rises preview (on selected IMAX screens) in front it.
Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol is in theaters today. Keep your shirt on, will ya?