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MOVIE REVIEW: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Being a huge fan of the previous Mission: Impossible movies, I was psyched to watch the fourth installment. All three of the previous installments may have had their faults here and there, but they were damn good action movies and the series became one of the standards in the genre. The trailer for MI4 promised tons of what any action-junkie would want out of a movie. And with new cast members thrown into the mix, this is sure to be a fun ride for all.

The movie opens gun blazing with IMF Agent Trevor Hanaway escaping with a package he extracted from a courier. The courier is said to work for someone code-named “Cobalt”. But, before he can make a clean escape, he is killed by an assassin, Sabine, who takes the package and disappears. Jane and Benji, Trevor’s ops leader and fellow field operative, find him just before he dies and Jane sees the image of the assassin on Trevor’s phone. Revenge Target: ACQUIRED.

Now, we’re in Moscow, more specifically inside of a prison in Moscow. All is quiet until random cell doors start to open, and thus chaos ensues. We see one person of interest is also in the mix, Ethan Hunt. Benji and Jane have set out to rescue Ethan in hopes that he will help retrieve the package that was stolen. Ethan escapes, but brings along Bogdan, his source of information in the prison and who he had promised to help in anyway. Once home free, they reconvene and head to the Kremlin in Moscow to retrieve the files that may reveal the identity of Cobalt. And as in every spy movie, its never that easy. Cobalt beats them to the punch and gets away with the files, blowing up the Kremlin in the process. IMF is put to blame for this catastrophe and disbanded under Ghost Protocol. This leaves Hunt and his team to work alone, with no government back-up, to figure out and stop Cobalt’s plans.

It’s been a good while since we’ve had such an action-packed film that didn’t have superheroes in it. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol shows that good-ol’ fashioned thrills and action can make for a fun time in the theaters. From the grand setpieces to the intense fights, MI proves its worth.

I’ll admit that Tom Cruise is not at the top of my list when it comes to favorite actors. Though, in the movies I’ve seen him in, his performances have always been top-notch. But, the Mission: Impossible series are the movies that I enjoy seeing him act the most in. No matter what preconceived notion you have of his personality either now or a few years back when everyone said he was “crazy”, when he steps into the role of Ethan Hunt, he is Ethan Hunt. And, that’s a quality not many actors have and what makes Cruise stand out for me in these films. Granted, the character is a bit straight-forward. But, he executes it with ease and it helps you to become engrossed in the story.

Every cast member, no matter how minute the role, did their job and did it exceptionally well. From the core team players to the rich Indian businessman played by Anil Kapoor (famous Bollywood actor known in the States as the game show host in Slumdog Millionaire or as Kamistan President Omar Hassan in the last season of 24) to the small cameo by Hunt’s colleague Luther Stickell, no part felt half-assed or hammed up, giving the movie a very natural feel. Benji Dunn (played by Simon Pegg) was insanely fun to watch in this movie. Pegged as the comic relief (see what I did there? ehh?), his scenes where he accompanied Hunt and the other team members in their field ops gave you the sense that even though he is well-trained and has been waiting for this chance for a while, he is still nervous as all heck and can only cope with it by talking nonsense and making jokes in the worst situations. Yet, it never felt out of place and always made me at least chuckle, if not bust out laughing. Paula Patton plays the tough-as-nail field agent Jane Carter very well, portraying the team leader torn between seeking revenge and getting the job done. Jeremy Renner’s character, William Brandt, was a total surprise to me. I won’t really say why though it’s probably not why you think. Let’s just say that the trailers led me in a different direction as far as his character is concerned. He definitely helped round out the dynamic of the team, always up to the task at hand and always questioning whether things will go right or not.

I would say something about the main antagonist, Kurt Hendricks, but I seriously feel he may have been the weakest part of the film. I mean, he did present a considerable threat to both the team and the world. And the actor did a decent job. But, the character himself wasn’t very memorable. MI1 and MI3 had some pretty memorable bad guys. I’d say MI2 had some as well, but that’s more due to the overacting than any character given to the role. Hendricks just seemed like your run-of-the-mill bad guy who wants to reshape the world in his image. Nothing to spectacular but he still gave a reason for the movie to occur, which is important and vital to its progression.

The set pieces and action scenes throughout the movie were just amazing. Each scene was filled with close calls and incredible feats that left you wanting more. The scene advertised in the trailers of Ethan climbing the side of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world located in Dubai, lived up to the supposed hype and is worth the price of admission alone just to see it on the big screen. The action scenes between characters were just awesome, there isn’t much else I can say. You’ll have to see it for youself. And the pacing of the film was so smooth that you never felt it slow down or like you were waiting for the next chase scene to start. It all flowed very naturally and took you along for the ride.

It may seem like I’m putting this movie on way too high of a pedestal that it seems like I’m exaggerating.  And, that may be a tad true. But, it’s been a while since a movie had me so hyped leading up to the release and left me feeling satisfied and glad that I went to see it. The only other movie I can say did that this year was either Captain America or X-Men: First Class. Like I said before, those are superhero flicks and thus come with the territory. It was just super refreshing to see normal people in semi-normal situations and see it pulled off with such class and excitement at the same time. I know that most movies don’t make it past the 4th installment, and even when they do, it’s merely a shadow of what the series once was. But, I am willing and hoping that another Mission: Impossible movie comes our way in the future. May take another 5+ years, but if its anything like Ghost Protocol, I’ll wait.

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