Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol Directed by: Brad Bird Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg Running Time: 2 hrs 13 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: December 16, 2011 (IMAX) December 21, 2011 (wide release)
PLOT: A bomb goes off at the Kremiln, and the IMF is suspected. That means Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team must go rogue to try and save the world.
WHO'S IT FOR? I know there are Tom Cruise haters out there. If you don't mind him, and like action, this is definitely a movie worth your time.
EXPECTATIONS: I like me some Cruise. Mission: Impossible III is one of my favorite action movies ever. I wasn't nervous, but more curious going from J.J. Abrams to Brad Bird in the director's chair.
ACTORS: Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt: Cruise is 49, and absolutely still getting it done in the action department. He throws himself into the role of Ethan Hunt over and over again. Literally, sometimes like a rag doll. Wincing at Ethan has turned out to be part of the fun. Sure, Ethan has some baggage and is clearly keeping some secrets, but all of that pales in comparison to Ethan on a mission. Focus, determination, and fighting are things Cruise can breath to life better than any other action star. Score: 9
Simon Pegg as Benji: It's like some executive had the awful idea that these Mission: Impossible movies needed a wacky sidekick. Then, somehow Simon Pegg nailed it to the point where you were wondering what took so long for these films to get a sense of humor. Seriously. Pegg is very strong and very necessary for this film. Remember Tom Arnold in True Lies? It seemed odd at the time, but Arnold made it work. This is much, much better than that. Benji's inappropriate, nervous and new. Score: 9
Rest of Cast: I like Jeremy Renner. It took me a long time to like, root for or want Brandt in this film. It just seemed like they didn't know what to do with him. Eventually they figure it out (he's Ethan pt. 2), and I wouldn't mind seeing more of him in the future with Mission movies. Paula Patton as Jane didn't work for me, unless she was kicking butt. We're supposed to care about Jane's back story and potential love in a fallen agent. I couldn't figure out if her furrowed brow or monotone voice was the issue, I just wasn't invested. I didn't recognize Michael Nyqvist as Hendricks. Maybe that was part of the problem. This "evil villain" didn't do anything for me. After Philip Seymour Hoffman nailed it in part three, it's like they didn't even try for this one. Score: 5
TALKING: I don't know exactly what the mission is, but I choose to accept it. They give you just enough that you keep up with who is bad and who is good. It's really all you need here. The characters care (mainly Ethan) so you care. Again, Pegg's humor is a great boost. It's the only thing worth remembering. The dialogue isn't where they put their time and energy. Score: 6
SIGHTS: Wow. I probably said that to myself a couple dozen times. There are four big sequences where I believe you are technically required to sit at the edge of your seat. Seriously, they have people in the theater who will force you. The prison break, the building, the dust storm and the car garage are absolutely fantastic action sequences. On top of that, the gadgets in Mission: Impossible are better than the ones in James Bond. There, I said it. It's out there. From the eye printer to the wall that's not really there, I love seeing what they come up with. Score: 10
SOUNDS: The main theme is played with over and over again. Depending on what country the IMF gang is in, the music we all know (and hopefully love) is changed up just a little bit. Russian flare, Indian flare ... it completely works. Plus, the sound effects, especially when Ethan is running into something, make you cringe with delight. Score: 8
BEST SCENE: The building. In fact, I think there's a chance that this scene can simply be known as "the building scene," it's that cool. Cruise continues to push the envelope of what he's willing to do to try and impress the audience. My jaw dropped a few times during those moments.
ENDING: It's not that strong. The problem with this ending is you realize the story and villain just didn't hold your attention. They try to push the emotional level a little too high at the end, but all things considered, the team looks pretty solid going forward.
QUESTIONS: How much longer with Tom Cruise be able to do this? I hope it's a lot longer.
REWATCHABILITY: While I might have my finger on the trigger for a couple of fast-forward worthy moments, I will happily be sitting through 75 percent of this film over and over again.
I didn't love half the team. I felt the film was a little too long. The villain wasn't compelling. That's it, and trust me that's a really short list. Cruise knows how to play up the moment, and he's given plenty of chances to show off some amazing action sequences. Brad Bird does a very good job capturing the visual power this film has to offer and everything feels real. I don't know what's fake, and that's the way I like it.
Even though "nobody does it better" is a line that makes us immediately think of James Bond, it really does apply to Tom Cruise and Mission: Impossible. I've talked about the Hollywood Running Hall of Fame. I'm going to come up with my official list for a TOP 7 for next week. I'll tell you right now, Cruise is on top. Honestly, if he's running, I'm engaged. He still has that movie star presence, especially when he's doing action. With Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol the plot and most of the characters don't matter. Yet the power of Cruise still glues you to your seat, or puts you on the edge of it. Whatever. Just watch the film.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10