Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol

  Wow. That word can pretty much sum up this movie. In an age where 'mindless fun' and 'popcorn movies' are synonymous with 'pretty damn horrible' and 'Michael Bay' (not saying there's a huge difference) its incredibly refreshing to see a mindlessly fun popcorn movie thats smart, sleek, fast, and very exciting.

  Having said that, it's nigh impossible to not compare this one to the others. Thankfully, this one avoided all the pitfalls of the second movie, hits all the high marks of the first, and matches the adrenaline-pumping pace of the third. Is it the best one yet? I'd say not exactly.  But its so damn good its on par with the best of them.  The plot itself is pretty easy to follow, not sure if thats good or not but it looks like complex plotting is a thing of the past.  I wish I could just say each movie gets simpler than the last, but M:I:2 was an all time low.

The story is simple. On a mission in Russia to uncover a potential terrorist's true identity, Ethan Hunt and his new crew of IMF agents are framed for the bombing of the Kremlin.  The entire Impossible Missions Force is disavowed and the secretary of defense himself briefs Hunt on his next mission: Find the terrorist bad guy. Stop him from inciting global nuclear war.  But be careful, if you're caught... the blame for all of this will be swiftly placed on your shoulders.  Fun times eh?

  Series star Tom Cruise returns to the only franchise he's really taken seriously for anymore.  I bet he could do this in his sleep. Although, his performance feels a bit more dispassionate than what we saw in M:I:III, Cruise still blazes through one massive action set piece after another and he looks right at home.  Its a welcome return to the world of espionage and action.  Also starring Simon Pegg from the third movie, and newcomers Jeremy Renner and Patton, they all slip right into this established formula laid out by what you've come to expect from a Mission: Impossible flick. Its really cool. They all gel exceptionally well. Especially Renner and Pegg. Some of they dialog they have just makes some of the movie's funniest moments.

  Which brings me to another point, the humor.  Its nice to see a M:I movie with a sense of humor. I think the first one was pretty subtle when it came to that, the second one was a bit wonky, and the third, the grittiest out of all four, had maybe two-three brief funny moments in the whole thing?  Simon Pegg's expanded role from the third provides some decent humor. Occasionally it feels slightly out of touch with the tone of the scene, but never out of touch with the character.  I had quite a few laughs in this one. Every funny moment was well written and nicely handled. Top honors guys.

  Next is the action. It can go without saying that action was never the series weak point.  But they've really truly hit their stride with Ghost Protocol.  Its not just shootouts and such, there are big action set pieces that will really keep you on the edge of your seat. They're expertly crafted, and as they go on, they kind of evolve.  Nothing ever pans out 100% the way it's planned for Hunt and co.  Instead it escalates, and escalates. You find yourself saying "Oh geez, it can't get any better than this."
And then it does.  From rappelling down the side of the tallest building in the world, to a gritty and powerful car chase during a massive sandstorm, to a clever and intense climax thats happening in two-three different places at once. Its a globe-trotting adventure that makes good use of its varied, eye catching locale.  Its stylish and loads of fun.

  You really can't go wrong here.  Although it has little to elevate it from a simple, entertaining popcorn flick to a masterful action outing, its two hours of wall-to-wall expertly crafted action and excitement. Everything you could expect and more from the fourth movie in a franchise, and its precisely the kind of movie a Mission: Impossible should be.
I'm up for more. Maybe even two more?  C'mon guys... your mission should you choose to accept it...

Keep up the good work and keep us coming back for more.

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