Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) – Brad Bird

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the best M:I movie since the original, uses a device from many a spy thriller, the good guys are framed for the crime and must flee both the bad guys and the other good guys. This is a very good picture with two terrific sequences that rival even the wonderful break-in from the original movie, a peak in heists on film. If I have a complaint its that Ghost Protocol doesn’t use it’s device very well. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his crack team of super secret operatives are told to go completely underground when the American government knowingly pins the bombing of the Kremlin on them, they are given a small head start on the real villain but are told they will be pursued as terrorists, except they’re not though, not really. During the final sequence I was thinking about how different the movie would be if they weren’t outlaws at all and a) during the final sequence of an action movie I shouldn’t be thinking about anything other than the final sequence of an action movie and b) I concluded that it wouldn’t change much.

Cruise and his merry band (Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton as fellow agents and Simon Pegg as the techie) chase after the bad guy and there are some Russian agents after Cruise for what they believe to be his involvement in the Kremlin affair but any seasoned action movie fan knows that the foreign agents are useless. I know I shouldn’t get stuck on this plot point but the whole purpose of the story starts from the idea that these guys are being hunted by the whole world but we get very little evidence of that. This can’t spoil this entertaining move, however, neither can a subplot that hinges entirely too much on one’s memory of the last M:I but these are all minor points about the least interesting part of the movie; the plot.

Ghost Protocol is a breakneck thrill ride from beginning to end with excellently realized escapes, break-ins, con games and chases. There is a moment late in the movie where Cruise and the villain Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist) are battling over a briefcase in a kind of a moving parking garage it reminded me pleasantly of a similar sequence in another Cruise movie (Minority Report) where he tries to escape a car-making factory. This scene also made me think of a furious chase for the right door in Monsters Inc. Brad Bird, the director of Ghost Protocol is an animation and Pixar alum and though he had nothing to do with Monsters Inc the energy and the inventiveness in the machinations could be found in his The Incredibles and Ratatouille. There is also a brilliant set piece in the worlds tallest building in Dubai that dazzles both inside and outside the building and it all adds up to a entertaining and gripping two hours plus.

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