Dee Discusses: Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

Posted: December 27, 2011 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Movies
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I have an interesting past with Mission: Impossible, in that I absolutely loved the first movie but disliked both sequels. Two was just bad in general, and although three was tolerable, it just never grabbed me the same way the first one did. Maybe because the first was extremely dark and surprised me by killing his entire team in the first scene.  Maybe it was a type of James Bond-ish film I could actually enjoy, to the point where I didn’t mind the ridiculous gadgets and unreasonable action sequences. In any case, it seemed like they went with the bigger is better mentality for the other two and it just seemed too big for me. I was skeptical about going into Ghost Protocol because of this, and that could be a lot of the reason why I came out so happy and satisfied. I think low expectations could be a reason why the critics loved it too, but that might be a bit harsh. It is a good solid action flick with some well placed humor, reasonable acting, and fantastic set pieces.

The story is that Ethan Hunt has been in a Russian prison for an undisclosed amount of time when the movie begins. He is broken out of jail by Benjy from MI:3, played by the adorable Simon Pegg, and Agent Carter, played by the lovely if slightly bland Paula Patton. Ethan insists on getting out a low level criminal who fed him intel in prison and was kind to him. Afterward they are given a job to break into the Kremlin to get a launch device for Russian nukes. It turns out the bad guy of the story, Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist, mostly boring), is trying to start a nuclear war. He’d already killed Carter’s boyfriend, another IMF agent, by using an assassin to get missile codes. He blows up the Kremlin and frames the Americans for it. The IMF Secretary informs Ethan that they have been put on Ghost Protocol, meaning IMF is being dismantled and Ethan himself will be martyred since they want a scapegoat for the incident. The Secretary suggests he and his team find a way to solve this problem on their own, and introduces him to his chief analyst Agent Brandt (Jeremy Renner, who is wooooonderful). They are attacked but get to the team safely. Now Benjy, Carter, Brandt, and Ethan have to find a way to get the missile codes and the device to stop the nuclear war from destroying the world.

I heard a few people say the plot was confusing, but it seemed pretty straight forward to me. Bad guys want to set off nukes, good guys are going to stop nukes by making sure he can’t use them and/or stop the nukes at the last minute all heroically. There are a few side plots that aren’t too bad. Hunt is dealing with the loss of his wife, Julia from MI:3, and Brandt has a secret connection to Ethan which he holds a lot of guilt for. Carter lost her boyfriend so has it out for assassin chick who killed him, but she’s losing some of her mojo and Ethan gives her some advice. These side plots work because they don’t take away from the whole focus, but they give all the characters a little extra development and it works. They’re not just agents, they’re people, and the movie manages to convey that well. Renner really stood out in this movie as Brandt. Not only did he prove he could stand up as an action hero himself, but he brought a sense of humor and gravity to his scenes. I’m glad we’re seeing more of him now, and while his role in The Avengers will probably be small, I hope it cements his place in Hollywood and he’ll get more offers from here. Cruise is used to played Ethan by now and it’s clear he is comfortable in that role. I like that Ethan held more of a mentor position in this movie, looking over the others and there’s definitely some softening at the edges for him. Also, for someone his age, damn he looks good. Where Bruce Willis plays up the fact he’s older in Die Hard and accepts it with jokes, Cruise looks the same as he did ten years ago. Movie magic? Maybe. Probably.

Brad Bird directed this as his first live-action film, and I think everyone can agree it was a wild success. Maybe it’s because he is used to animated movies that he’s able to have such a wide creative view. That is to say, the visuals in this movie are fantastic. It’s seamless. There’s a scene from the trailer where Ethan is climbing up a 100 story building with just his hands, and that’s followed almost immediately by a huge chase scene through a horrific sand storm. Amazing. The special effects for the Kremlin’s destruction was great and there are a few notable other scenes I’ll leave to your imagination. The last fight scene wasn’t really up to the same level, but it was entertaining enough. I think the creativity is really what gets me. We’ve seen so many things at this point. It’s very hard to bring anything ‘new’ to the table, but Bird was excellent at finding ways to use the settings of the movie to his advantage. It had a good cast and script, and it just worked for the blockbuster action flick we were all looking for during the holiday season. There are a few flaws. The villain doesn’t have much of a real character or motivation other than muahahaha nuclear war, and a few of the characters seem like just part of the background, but those are small nitpicks in an overall decent flick. Don’t expect a masterpiece, but if you want to go in, eat your popcorn, and be entertained, this movie is well worth the cost of admission. It’s worth seeing on the big screen, and if you have an IMAX nearby, I think that’d be even better. I know they’re already planning a next film, and I’ll be seeing it. I really hope Jeremy Renner agrees to come back. I’d like to see the cast continue, honestly. They worked well together and I don’t think they need to trade out new agents every movie.

Overall Grade: A-

And just for good measure.

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Comments
  1. In regards to Renner. I feel like The Hurt Locker cemented him. The Town got him some more critical recognition. His character in The Avengers will probably be getting his own movie and he’ll be the main character in The Bourne Legacy (that’ll be at least 3 movies). Also Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. All coming out in 2012.

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    • Dee says:

      You’re right, I mean I hate Hawkeye and now I really want him to get his own movie because I love Renner so much. What a talented man. His charm is so genuine, I think that’s what I love about him. It’s not charm in the sense of being smarmy. He seems like an ordinary guy who just happens to be awesome. I don’t know. Love him.

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      • It shows. I saw him promoting the movie on Jimmy Fallon awhile back and he seemed really within himself. He had a hole in his pants that Jimmy pointed out after the movie clip. He got it right before he came out because he does squats whenever he’s nervous.

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