Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol Review
Political relations between Russia and the United States are deteriorating after a terrorist attack on the Kremlin. A mad scientist is trying to provoke a nuclear war, and all the IMF is disavowed. Hunt and his team are on their own during the fourth Mission: Impossible movie...
Director: Brad Bird
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist.
Run Time: 133 min.
US Release: 21 December 2011
UK Release: 26 December 2011
German Release: 15 December 2011
Completing my Mission: Impossible series that will lead up to Rogue Nation, this review will focus on the fourth firth film subtitled Ghost Protocol. It is Brad Bird’s (The Incredibles) first live action movie, and a really good one at that. Bird did prove that he is capable of telling a thrilling and highly entertaining spy story, with very little flaws.
Warning, this review will contain spoilers!!! If you haven’t seen this film yet, watch it before reading on!!!
Ghost Protocol obtained generally positive reviews. It was praised for its fast pace, beautiful sets used in the film and its fluent action sequences. On Rotten Tomatoes, it received the highest rating percentage of the series. Personally, I did favour the third and first Mission: Impossible, but I do agree that the fourth movie is brilliant.
Ethan Hunt has been broken out of prison by his team, due to an issue that only he can successfully thwart. His assignment is to infiltrate the Kremlin and find information on a terrorist codenamed Cobalt, but their mission fails once Cobalt (a nuclear physicist) sets them up and bombs the Kremlin. Hunt and all of the IMF is left disavowed and are branded as terrorists. Ethan now needs to go rogue to clear the organization's name and stop the mad scientist from starting a nuclear war.
The plot was fantastic. It had that typical spy story about a terrorist that threatens the world with a nuclear weapon. The writers even managed to revive the tension between the US and Russia, bringing back that cold war feeling of the series. Although I felt like it borrowed from the Jack Ryan movie The Sum of All Fears, Bird handled the story far better than Alden Robinson.
I did have an issue with the plot structure however. Every now and then after an adrenaline filled action section, a crass break was introduced that slowed the story too much down. It happened after the bombing of the Kremlin and again after Dubai mission, but that is the only complaint I have structure wise. My second problem concerned a character, during the assignment at the Burj Khalifa. The fact that an international assassin, who takes care to stay under the radar of IMF, won’t check how the person she is about to meet looks like, was simply unbelievable.
Other than that I really enjoyed the film and was able to emerge myself into the story. One of my favourite aspects of the plot was how it focused on the team as a whole. Their tech was secondary as it was always breaking, so the characters were relying more on each other to complete their assignment. This gave Bird and the crew a perfect opportunity to flesh out each character individually.
I also like how Ethan’s marriage was hinted at along the movie, without us knowing what really happened until the last scene. It was good to see how they included that sub plot, explaining that his job just did not permit him to lead a normal and safe life.
The film is also filled with little easter eggs from previous movies, such as: The Fog’s contact in Dubai, who is the same person as Max’s companion from the first Mission: Impossible, and the ski mask he hands agent Hunt to cover his eyes.
Like I said before, each character was perfectly fleshed out and contributed something to the film. I won’t say much about Ethan Hunt, simply because Tom Cruise is as always fantastic! Hendricks in contrast, is the weakest villain of the franchise so far. Nyqvist did a good job, but he wasn’t given enough screen time to give the character some depth. We don’t truly understand his motive and what drives him, all we get told is that he is insane.
Benji gives the movie a true sense of comedy thanks to Simon Pegg. I was happy to see him out on the field in a bigger role, since he was just a minor character in M:i:III. Pegg and Cruise have an incredible chemistry when they are together on screen! Brandt, a new character in this franchise, was given a great backstory that links him back to Ethan Hunt and Jules. Renner really managed to give the character some depth and was amazing.
Jane (Paula Patton) was another persona with a good backstory. She is what sets the hunt for Cobalt in motion, after her partner Hannaway (Josh Holloway) was killed by a female assassin associated with the villain. On a minor note, I had wished to see Josh Holloway a little bit longer; I really liked him in Lost.
The cinematography of this spy flick is fantastic. The director managed to give the film a fluid look and made each scene seem important. My eyes were literally glued to the screen from beginning to end. I also loved how he emphasised the team aspect by adding wide angled frames that were reminiscent of the first M:I.
The stunt and combat scenes have been incredibly good, Tom Cruise’s Stunt from Burj Khalifa was not only insane but looked gorgeous. The effects were mostly good, the chase scene in Dubai during a sandstorm did look incredible, but the bombing of the Kremlin wasn’t really convincing. It actually looked like Cruise was running in front of a green screen.
Michael Giacchino, who created the soundtrack for the third Mission: Impossible, composed the musical score for this movie. It consisted of different variations from the original theme and sounded amazing. The only part of the soundtrack I did not like was the uber communist composition during the Kremlin operation. I found it to be a little over the top.
Verdict: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is beautiful looking blockbuster with a great story and real characters. Personally I found it to be a little weaker than Mission: Impossible-3 due to the villain, but I still enjoyed it very much. I give it M:I - Ghost Protocol an 8.5 out of 10.
If you are interested, here are my reviews for the other Mission: Impossible movies: M:I, M:I-2and M:i:III