Movies

Movie Review: Mission – Impossible: Ghost Protocol

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Mission incredible.

Tom Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt in the fourth installment of the “Mission Impossible” series.  J.J. Abrams (“Super 8,” “Alias”) continues on as producer and Brad Bird onboard as director.

I loved Bird’s award-winning animations “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille,” but thought the choice to put him in the director’s seat for a blockbuster live action was a curious one.  Turns out he manages to pair the word “mission” with “accomplished” with MI:4, transitioning successfully from pixels to people.

In MI:4 the IMF team globe-trots to Budapest, Moscow, Dubai and Mumbai.  A botched mission and the death of an IMF agent in Budapest leads to Moscow.  Since the bombing of the Kremlin, however, as relayed by the Secretary of Defense (Tom Wilkinson), the President has initiated ‘Ghost Protocol’ procedure, where the IMF team (Benji Dunn, Simon Pegg; Jane Carter, Paula Patton; William Brandt, Jeremy Renner) is falsely implicated in the attack and disavowed.

Agent Dunn, the tech wizard, has passed his field test and is finally going on field assignments.  His interactions with the team provides a comic relief during tense situations.  Agent Carter fills the role of a strong, beautiful, fierce agent.  Agent Brandt, with a secret past linked to Ethan, was initially the wild card, but eventually becomes an integral part of the team.

Ethan is determined to clear the team’s name.  The team’s mission is now to put a stop to an exchange of nuclear launch codes between the real terrorist, Kurt Hendriks (Michael Nyqvist), and Sabine Moreau (Lea Seydoux) in Dubai, and for Kurt to get to the satellite in Mumbai and incite a nuclear war.  Having faced betrayals in the past, Ethan is forced to trust and rely on his team without the backup and support of IMF.  The team works well together and the wisecrack moments are enjoyable.  As a team leader, Ethan is visibly more human here.  Less precise, riddled with doubts and missteps.

Unprepared and operating in the dark, at times, it doesn’t feel like a “Mission Impossible” movie. There’s lack of a domineering villain, although the stakes are high.  But the MI hallmarks are there.  Impossible missions.  High-tech gadgetry.  Larger than life actions.  MI:4 is glossily made and smoothly shot with wide angle views of exotic locales and set pieces.

A clever trick involving camouflage via a projector brings out chuckles.  The sandstorm adds a layer of challenge to the chase scenes.  But the highlight is definitely the spectacular skyscraper scaling.  Not just any skyscraper; Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.  Even more mind-blowing knowing that Cruise himself performed the death-defying stunt himself.  Renner (“The Town” “The Hurt Locker”) is certainly a very capable actor, but I hope Cruise remains a little longer on the franchise.  15 years after the first film, he still embodies the super-spy he’s famously known for, with his daredevil and athletic prowess.  The action sequences are episodic, but it’s paced just right that you’re looking forward to what’s coming up next.

Big.  Bold.  Breathtaking.  I hope the team chooses to accept another mission.

Copyright (c) 2011. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com. Nathalia owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven (http://themoviemaven.posterous.com).  Twitter: http://twitter.com/the_moviemaven

"Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com."

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