Smile Politely

Mission Accomplished!

The Mission Impossible Force makes an incredible comeback in this, the fourth entry of the series. The plotline for this film is very simple. The Russians are in a fight with the Americans because someone fired a nuclear weapon at the Kremlin and blamed Ethan Hunt’s team. Ethan and his team are disavowed and have to work on their own to find out who originally fired the missile at the Kremlin and why that person would seek to insight a war between Russia and the United States.

The first thing that I noticed about Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is that the story and its characters share a sense of urgency throughout the film. The pacing of this film is at breakneck speed.

Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt differently for each successive movie in the franchise. In the first and second film, he was the dependable agent who always got his man. In the third entry, he was a family man who had to save his wife and discredit and destroy the villan. In Ghost Protocol, we see Hunt at his most confident. The entire point of Ethan Hunt in this film is to serve as a guide for the spy thriller the audience is experiencing. Cruise continues his tradition of physically pushing himself to the limit to perform crazy stunts that none of us would even think of attempting. The scaling of the world’s tallest building has to be one of the most nail biting experiences that I have seen on screen this past year. Cruise is the one actor from whom you will always get the action and high suspense you paid for when you go to theater.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol could not succeed as a film if it didn’t have an absolutely stellar supporting cast. Simon Pegg returns for an encore performance, reprising his role as Benji Dunn from MI:III. He brings a much needed dose of light hearted humor to such an action packed romp. The most unique thing about Benji is his relationship with Ethan Hunt. I think Benji admires and, at times, wants to emulate Ethan’s ability to lead a team of agents. Benji’s admiration for Ethan is on display throughout most of the mission.

Paula Patton is introduced as the female agent of Ethan’s team, and she is one of two members of the team with a chip on her shoulder. The me, Patton brought no depth to her role as Agent Jane Carter. You feel bad for the traumatic experience she goes through at the opening of the film, but what talent Patton does have is completely wasted on a character with no personality.

The last and most pivotal supporting cast member is Jeremy Renner, who plays William Brandt.  Originally, Renner’s character was considered a possible replacement for Tom Cruise, but the writers were smart enough to know that the passing of the torch should not take place in this film. The writers elected to give William Brandt a chip on his shoulder that is also laden with guilt about an action from his past. Personally, I cannot see his character returning for another outing with Ethan Hunt, but Brandt is a welcome addition to the IMF.

Brad Bird directed Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol with all the skill he displayed in his features for Pixar animation studios. This film serves as Bird’s first live action feature and he keeps audiences entertained by always keeping us close to the action. Bird knows people are paying to see Tom Cruise save the world and he uses the intensity of the situations Ethan Hunt is placed in to give the audience a front row seat to all the action and suspense. The film’s biggest fault is that the villain is not a main character in this story. The chaos that the villain creates is more of a misstep by the writers than director Brad Bird.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is a great action thriller and, even as Tom Cruise and his team ages or changes, I will be glad to see them continually save the world. Mission Accomplished!

Four Stars.

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