Review :: Big Screen – Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol

December 16th 2011


The Mission: Impossible movies are interesting.  No really, they are.  While they are Tom Cruise’s baby, each one has a different and talented director bringing their own ideas and style.  If you have to have franchise film-making, this series is a good example of how to do it, even if it occasionally throws up some unwatchable garbage like John Woo’s Part 2.  Anyway, I have been fascinated by part 4, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, since they announced Brad Bird was directing. Bird was one of the key people behind the best years of The Simpsons, before jumping into feature animation to make The Iron Giant and The Incredibles; two magic movies. He also directed Ratatouille.  You can see in The Incredibles just how much he loves Bond films, and just how carefully he can construct an action sequence. Clearly he is perfectly qualified to make a Mission: Impossible movie as his first live action film.

Ghost Protocol has the flimsiest excuse for an evil plot I can remember for a while.  The bad guy is a university lecturer who wants to cause a nuclear war in order to prove an academic point.  Just typing that gives me a headache, but whatever, the stakes are high OK?  It’s a spectacularly silly film, with supporting characters and gadgets that would give the loopiest Bond films a run for their money.  Wait till you see the Impossible Mission Force’s secret Russian train carriage.  Nevertheless the cast dive in with a straight face, and do a good job of distracting you from just how crazy it all is.

A lot of people make fun of Tom Cruise because he is in a weird space cult, has very firm opinions about psychiatry, and he jumped on a couch that one time. I like him.  Name another actor who has worked with Kubrick, Scorsese, Spielberg, DePalma and Coppola, among many others*. He is the ultimate movie star.  Plus he is the absolute best at running away from things.  One of the great sights in movies is watching Tom Cruise at full pelt running away from some madness.  In this movie he has to outrun and huge dust storm and an exploding Kremlin.  Movie Magic.

I am probably not taking this seriously enough, because really this is a pretty damn good time at the movies. Bird has constructed a sleek hi-octane action movie that barely gives you time to draw breath.  The Dubai sequence might be one of my favorite this year.  And that really is Tom Cruise bouncing around at the top of the tallest building in the world in IMAX.  You wouldn’t see George Clooney trying that shit.  In summary, if you like this sort of thing, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol is better than most.

*Like; Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Sidney Pollack, Ron Howard, PT Anderson, JJ Abrams, Ed Zwick, Bryan Singer, John Woo, Franco Zeffirelli, Barry Levinson, Robert Redford, Cameron Crowe, Oliver Stone, Neil Jordan and Michael Mann.  It has been suggested that Cruise prefers to company of male directors.

Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol is in cinemas now


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