Review: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Tom Cruise in Ghost Protocol

Mission accomplished!!!

It’s been five years since the last Mission: Impossible, with J.J. Abrams vacating the director’s seat and Brad Bird stepping in. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol continues the adventures of spy Ethan Hunt in a film that will excite audiences but has some flaws.

Much of that is down to the script from Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec which in Mission: Impossible tradition is typically ludicrous. As Anthony Hopkins said in M:I2 “this is mission impossible, difficult should be a walk in park”, and that’s something Ghost Protocol takes to heart.

After a mission goes disastrously wrong and the IMF are implicated in blowing up the Kremlin, the IMF director (Tom Wilkinson) initiates Ghost Protocol; an action that disbands the agency but before he does so he gives Hunt a mission – find out who instigated the bombing before war is started between America and Russia.

Joining his team is Simon Pegg’s Benji, Paula Patton’s Jane – head of another Mission team that was compromised – and Jeremy Renner’s Brandt, an IMF analyst who is more than puts on.

Part of Ghost Protocol’s slight flaws is that in hewing so close to series’ own formula there’s little danger to the proceedings. Ethan Hunt going rogue has happened twice before and like a mole in a season of 24 there’s no surprise when it happens. So while the action is fast-paced and full of invention, the film lacks a real reason for existing other than bringing Tom Cruise and the gang back again for another go.

Brad Bird’s direction here is good but the Mission films have prided themselves on their differing aesthetic (De Palma, Woo, Abrams) and Bird’s style isn’t as overt as his ‘gee-whizz’ animated offerings. This Mission lacks a directorial stamp that marks it out as significantly different from Abram’s, which this film feels too much like. Another quibble is the way some fight scenes are shot prove to be very problematic.

If there’s a major issue with modern action films it’s the camera is far too close to the action to the point where all you can see is a flailing arm or a head whipping around. Thei frantic approach worked for the Bourne movies but not for everyone else. For the most part the the action is generally very good, especially the Burj Khalifa sequence in the film’s middle act.

The villain is very milquetoast and Michael Nyqvist’s limp performance lacks characterisation. Unlike Philip Seymour Hoffman in M:I3 he’s not a force to be reckoned with and his motivations are weak and forgettable.

There’s a lot to enjoy in Ghost Protocol (see it in IMAX) whether it’s for the sweeping global narrative, excellent score by Michael Giacchino, comedic moments and clever set-pieces. It’s not an essential action film and never manages to escape the idea of being a Tom Cruise + friends production that all the other Mission films have devolved into.

For people coming to this franchise new then this film may be a rollercoaster action film but for others Ghost Protocol will seem extremely familiar, although still an enjoyable effort in the franchise.

7/10

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Posted on 10/01/2012, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You make some fair points and I do think that the bad guy wasn’t very good, basically also because he didn’t have a lot of screen time. I enjoyed this so much though and a little bit more than you did 🙂

    • Yeah I thought they’d be a significant amount of people who enjoyed it a little more than i did. I did wonder if i was coming across as a little harsh in the review, thanks for the comment!

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