Remember when Tom Cruise was a superstar who sat down on couches and didn’t worship alien ghosts? Of course not. It was way before your time. Tom Cruise movies used to be box office events whether they were feel-good dramas, romantic comedies or action-packed brawls. Now his films are anything but, and few and far between.
But despite Cruise’s drastic drop in public opinion, the “Mission Impossible” franchise still manages to consistently entertain and its most recent entry, “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” may just be the best one yet.
The “Mission Impossible” series has had continuously stellar directors: Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams and most recently Brad Bird
(director of the Pixar films “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille”), who transitions from animated films to live action films masterfully. The spectacle and imagination of Pixar’s films can be seen in abundance in “Ghost Protocol,” from a car chase in a sandstorm to a hi-tech burglary at the Kremlin, and the film is undeniably better for it.
“Ghost Protocol” follows Tom Cruise’s superspy character Ethan Hunt as he scrambles to save the world after his shadowy espionage agency, the Impossible Missions Force, is disbanded.
Cruise delivers a solid performance, but Ethan Hunt is given far less material to develop then in 2006’s “MI:3.” Luckily, Cruise’s supporting cast give the film a sturdy back bone.
Simon Pegg returns as the run-of-the-mill computer guy and offers much of the film’s comic relief.
There’s a girl among Cruise’s crew, played by Paula Patton, who attacks the difficult task of wearing revealing dresses and launching into catfights with vigor.
The real highlight performances, however, are Josh Holloway’s (Sawyer from “Lost”) minor turn as an IMF agent and Jeremy Renner’s (“The Hurt Locker”) supporting performance as William Brandt.
Holloway has very little screen time as a special agent running an operation in Budapest that turns for the worse at the beginning of the movie and his character largely serves as the film’s prologue, but his short time in the film is exciting and quickly draws viewers in.
Holloway offer’s the audience a superspy who isn’t an A-list-movie-star-pretty-boy and is a breath of fresh air to Cruise’s immaculate Ethan Hunt.
Renner is a welcome addition to the franchise whose character, the aforementioned Brandt, provides most of the films emotional backbone. Brant is an analyst who is cast into Ethan Hunt’s spiffy spy gang as the odd-man out and watching him find his place amongst the outfit whilst trying to hide his surprising past provides many of the movie’s most dramatic moments.
Rumor is that Renner, who is already set to replace succeed Matt Damon in the “Bourne” franchise, is being groomed for the day Cruise finally quits the “Mission Impossible” franchise. If this is the case, the series is in good hands.
The cast is at its weakest with the movie’s entirely unremarkable, unintimidating villain Kurt Hendricks, who is played as little more than a stereotypical Russian bad guy by Michael Nyqvist.
The lack of a solid villain wouldn’t be nearly as jarring if it had not been for Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s phenomenal performance as Owen Davian in the last “Mission Impossible” film.
Where Davian was a calculating sociopath whose blunt threats of violent gave audiences chills, Hendricks amounts to little more than a mini-boss in a bad video game. The villain aside, however, “Ghost Protocol” improves upon “Mission Impossible 3” in nearly every way.
“Ghost Protocol” certainly won’t surprise you, if you’ve seen the punches, kicks, booms and bangs in the trailer you’ll have the gist of what you can expect from the movie.
But, it will not disappoint you either. It boasts some of the coolest action sequences in the genre and enough sly one-liners to keep the experience jovial and fun even as the threat of world war hangs in the balance.
If you want to watch shiny cars and fancy gadgets, things exploding and guns firing, or you just long for Tom Cruise’s heyday, give “Ghost Protocol” a try.
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