Saturday, December 17, 2011
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - Movie Review
The plot of M:I 4 is actually very old fashioned. A Russian terrorist group blows up the Kremlin and pins it on Ethan Hunt's team. 'Ghost Protocol' is initiated by the President, which basically disavows the whole IMF. It's up to Hunt (Tom Cruise, duh) and his team to stop the Russians from launching a nuclear weapon and averting a war. I don't want to get into too many details, because it's really not all that complex in the first place, but I think you should go experience it for yourself instead of reading about it.
You could affectionately call this movie, Run, Tom Cruise, Run, or Mission: Impossible - Tom Cruise Runs A LOT. Maybe it's the way they shot him running, but he's kind of got an awkward way of running. It was always shot at an upwards angle and it made him look like was trying not to fall backwards as he runs. Just an observation. It doesn't ruin the movie or anything.
Many people have complained that the previous Mission: Impossible films have really been all about Ethan Hunt, rather than being about the team, which I think bugged fans of the original TV show as well. Fortunately, this time around it's all about the team. In fact, there's no way they could do this without having a competent team involved all of the way through.
You're first introduced to Benji (Simon Pegg) and Jane (Paula Patton), who break Hunt out of prison. As the story continues, Brandt (Jeremy Renner) joins the team. Each person has their own role and none of them really feel like they are taking a back seat to Hunt. Benji is the tech guy, Paula is the jack-of-all-trades and Brandt ends up being just as capable as Hunt. They all had character and were interesting in their own right.
They made a great casting choice with Paula Patton. First off, she's sexy as hell, but totally pulls off the ass kicking thing. Her character actually felt like a real person rather than just a male, action-movie fantasy. Speaking of male fantasy, you know who I'd like to see her play? Wonder Woman! Actually, just go ahead and cast her in everything from now on.
Simon Pegg, who can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned, gives just the right amount of comic relief when needed. Modesto native Jeremy Renner continues to show why he's one of the better actors working right now.
This movie starts at a sprint right out of the gate with a sequence, featuring Lost's Josh Holloway, and barely lets up at all. It's tense and adrenaline filled. I felt like I needed to have a drink after the movie to calm down. The pacing is fantastic. It's interesting to note that M:I 4 is actually longer than Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, yet you wouldn't know it.
This had everything I could have wanted out of an action film. It has great stunts, awesome action sequences, a chick fight and cool gadgets. The effects are done well and not overused. The only weakness is the story is a little basic and the villain isn't all that interesting, but everything else is so great that I just didn't care about those weaknesses.
Brad Bird has an awesome debut as a real-life action director. Bird has previously written and directed animated films, but really great animated films like The Incredibles, Ratatouille and The Iron Giant. Please make more movies like Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol! As much as I love Josh Whedon, I now really wish they would have given The Avengers to Brad Bird. He's shown twice he can make a great movie involving a team of interesting characters. Give him some kind of superhero team to direct. Maybe dust off that Justice League movie they keep rumoring and give it to him.
It's kind of weird to see a series getting better as it's gone on. I wasn't really a big fan of the first two films and thought it was stupid they were making more of them. I think it's great that they've gone in a different direction and now you've got a pretty good third film and now a kick-ass fourth film. I actually want them to make a fifth one now.
Okay, maybe this wasn't such a short review after all. One final note is that I do recommend seeing this in IMAX. It will be available on regular screens next week, but the IMAX format really shows off some of the scenery.
This is the best M:I movie and easily my favorite of the series. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol has it's flaws, but they are easy to overlook thanks to the great action and the chemistry and teamwork between the characters. I highly recommend checking it out.
I'm going to give this 4 out of 5 Death Stars. It's one of the best action films of the year and something I'm definitely going to buy once it's out on Blu-Ray.