Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

Freshly sprung from a high-security Russian prison, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is no sooner accepting impossible missions than he is once again running for his life. When a Kremlin-set mission goes explosively awry, Ethan and his makeshift team find themselves disavowed and alone in stopping a plot to begin nuclear war. With Benji (Simon Pegg) eager to prove himself in the field, Jane (Paula Patton) looking to settle an old score and Brandt (Jeremy Renner) harbouring agendas of his own, Cruise must learn unite his new team-mates if they are to stand any chance of preventing Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist) from effectively rebooting the human race. But only after he’s climbed the largest building in the world.

“Mission: Impossible 4”, I hear you ask, confused, “why the fuck would I want to watch Mission: Impossible 4?” Two reasons, actually, and they’re both rather convincing. Firstly, while it might once have been acceptable simply to dismiss the latest Ethan Hunt (come on, his surname doesn’t even begin with a B!) adventure out of hand, the franchise has since made quite a name for itself, with J. J. Abrams taking the series by the premise and shaking some good old-fashioned Philip Seymour Hoffman into it. Abrams’ third instalment was both anti-Bond and anti-Bourne, an action movie that was as fantastical as it was frenetic, and which introduced the cinemagoing world to the still-glorious sideways explosion.

Secondly, taking over the reins for M:I4 is none other than Brad Bird: Pixar extraordinaire. Having directed the likes of The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, if the release of Bird’s first ever live-action movie isn’t enough to tempt bums onto seats then it is unlikely that anything ever will. With three arguable masterpieces to his name, it is not exactly inconceivable that he might produce a film every bit the match of Abrams’ own.

Alas, it was not to be. While I fervently argue that you see this movie – it is event cinema at its most eventful, after all – it is nevertheless one of the most disappointing cinematic experiences of 2011. Dropping everything that set Mission: Impossible 3 apart from the previous instalments – a handle on the zanier aspects, a winning group dynamic and the aforementioned sideways explosion – Bird takes an unfortunate step backwards by effectively resetting the story (Simon Pegg returns but everyone else is essentially written out of the film ) and returning it to its distractingly OTT roots.

That said, while Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is almost entirely unremarkable, it is at least entertaining. Bird, unsurprisingly, has a great proclivity for comedy, and makes full use of it throughout in a bid to laugh off the more unbelievable aspects of the plot. Pegg is an absolute joy as the film’s comic relief (Jeremy Renner less so in his misjudged attempts to play against type), the character responsible for a number of laugh out loud gags that ensure that while rarely amazed, you are constantly amused. Sadly, the rest of the cast fail to make much of an impression, with Paula Patton’s incidentally attractive special agent and Michael Nyqvist’s rent-a-villain treading water while Cruise disappears for a quick lengthy frolic in the sand. It is only in the few scenes utilising the desperately under-used Josh Holloway (in what essentially amounts to a cameo) that you are able to glimpse the movie that could have been.

Fun, loud, but ultimately forgettable, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is little more than the latest entry in the Mission: Impossible series. With my largest issue with Brad Bird’s fourth instalment addressed in the final few minutes, however, M:I4 is simply a harmless, a missed opportunity to pick up where Abrams’ left off, and a disappointingly imperfect live-action début from an otherwise acclaimed directorial talent.


About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

2 Responses to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

  1. Matt Stewart says:

    I would actually rate it 4/5. It was flawed, sure, but so freakin’ entertaining I couldn’t help but enjoy myself!

    Good review 🙂

  2. Pingback: December 2011 – I Agree It’s Not My Best Disguise. « popcornaddict

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