One of 2011’s best thrillers
Cruise personifies cool as agent Ethan Hunt of the Impossible Mission Force (IMF). Larger than life, he faces impossible odds as an outcast tasked with preventing nuclear holocaust.
The exciting opener shows Ethan being broken out of a Moscow prison. Immediately, he prepares for a mission to infiltrate the Kremlin.
Mission inside the Kremlin
Ethan and techno-nerd Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg, offbeat bringer of comic relief) set out after dangerous renegade Kurt Hendricks [Michael Nyqvist of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)].
Using fascinating cloak technology, they approach the target. They fail, accidentally helping Hendricks to escape.
A massive explosion erupts. Blamed for the terrorist attack, Ethan regroups with Benji and Agent Jane Carter (Paula Patton, coolly effective).
Advised by the Secretary
The IMF Secretary (Tom Wilkinson) secretly tells Ethan that the IMF has been disavowed. He and his team are cut off from the U.S. and its resources.
He has one chance to redeem the agency and himself. Operating under Ghost Protocol, Ethan must prevent Hendricks from acquiring nuclear launch codes.
A brilliant but reluctant analyst William Brandt [Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), astounding as always] joins the effort. Careful William creates an exciting counterpoint to Ethan’s bold aggressiveness.
Director nails action thriller
Bird (Ratatouille; The Incredibles) may have surpassed the action, thrills and suspense that Brian De Palma conjured in the 1996 original. Cruise also produced this sequel and helped select Bird to revitalize the franchise.
Bird skillfully composes every scene. Lulls and quiet moments are ripe with delicious suspense. Dazzling filmmaking enhances terse schemes and battles.
Identifying with the hero/heroine
The best thing about watching a thriller is that you get to identify with the hero and vicariously save humanity. Everyone is a hero in his or her own myth, according to writer and mythology scholar Joseph Campbell.
With solid acting and great filmmaking, that’s exactly what you get to do in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Cruise is a brave, intense and very smooth hero. He thinks on his feet and plunges into action.
Aside from the Kremlin bombing (gorgeous pyrotechnics in IMAX), the film has just a few explosions and crashes. Each is impeccably executed.
Cruise performs his own stunts
Cruise, 49 and in great shape, performs his own stunts here. It’s nerve wracking as he swings precariously from Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Robert Elswit’s cinematography will awe you.
Patton told Trailer Addict that she did 1.5 hours of weapons training and 2.5 hours of physical training each day.
Jane displays her prowess in hand to hand combat with a French assassin (Lea Seydoux) who’s about to sell the launch codes. She entices playboy Brij Nath (Anil Kapoor of Slumdog Millionaire) only to assault him and extract vital intel.
Cast, crew achieve mastery
Tension soars when Ethan and his operatives meet with two pairs of crooks at the same time on different floors of the towering building. With impeccable timing and verve, it’s pure mastery.
An outstanding crew makes it all possible. Special kudos go to second unit director Dan Bradley, stunt coordinator Gregg Smrz and fight choreographer Robert Alonzo. Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec wrote the suspenseful, darkly funny script.
Breathtaking IMAX creates visual thrills without making you wear dark glasses.
Brave, cool and effective
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is one of the best thrillers of 2011. You’ll leave this movie feeling that you can conquer the world. (5 out of 5 stars)
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 2011 / PG-13 / 2 hours, 13 min
Cast Overview: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Vladimir Mashkov, Josh Holloway, Anil Kapoor, Lea Seydoux, Tom Wilkinson
Director: Brad Bird
Genre: Thriller, Action, Spy