Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (Review)

Bard Bird directs Ghost Protocol which is the best Mission Impossible film

Bard Bird directs Ghost Protocol which is the best Mission Impossible film

The Franchise’s Best Film Yet.

JJ Abrams and Tom Cruise created a great third installment for the Mission Impossible franchise. Brad Bird took over the directing chair and blew JJ’s film out of the water.  Bird captured everything that has made the Mission Impossible franchise fantastic with exotic and extravagant shooting locations, action sequences,  but told a cohesive story that introduced several new characters.  Mission Impossible: Protocol introduced Jeremy Renner and instantly became a fan favorite of the series. Simon Pegg also had an expanded role which helped him become beloved too. Ghost Protocol could be considered one of the best action spy thrillers of all time.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is in prison after killing six Serbians and is disavowed by IMF. Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and Benji Dunn, who has been promoted from technician to field agent, (Simon Pegg) break Ethan out of prison.  Ethan, Jane, and Benji are given orders to infiltrate the Kremlin, Russia’s Fortress for to protect their government executives, to obtain information about Cobalt. Cobalt is a secret identity for a unknown terrorist. Benji and Ethan are in the Kremlin but discover the files are not there. Cobalt hacks into the IMF frequency and plants a bomb that destroys the Kremlin. Ethan barely escapes but is hospitalized. He is interrogated by a SVR (Foreign Intelligent Agency) agent while in a hospital but Ethan escapes then contacts the IMF. Ethan is picked up by the Director of the IMF (Tom Wilkinson) and his chief analyst, Wiliam Brandt (Jeremy Renner), and told that he and his team are labeled traitors. The President had initiated “Ghost Protocol” which disavows the entire IMF. Ethan tells the Director that he has seen Cobalt and shows Brandt who identifies the individual as Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqist), a Swedish Nuclear Strategist who wants to destroy the world. The Director, Ethan, and Brandt are ambushed by the Russians.  Ethan, Brandt, and his team must stop Hendricks from using the Russian Nuclear device that he stole to start World War III.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol has breathtaking action sequences. Tom Cruise climbs the tallest building in the world. The action sequence happens in Dubai. One of his gloves malfunctions and it makes the audience feel like Ethan in his serious trouble. Ethan chases Hendricks in a car chase scene in Dubai during sandstorm. In the Dubai hotel, Jane fights the assassin that killed her partner in a hotel room during the Dubai action sequence. She amusedly kicks the assassin out the window and shrugs her shoulders that she doesn’t care.  The story was the best part of the movie.

Bird and the screenwriters, Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, crafted a story that is driven by the action and characters.  The plot grabs the audiences attention within the first few seconds. The prison breakout scene really helps to explore the relationship with Benji and Ethan. The creative team had the characters drive the plot and used the action sequences as consequences to the character’s actions. Brandt gets flushed out and it is discovered he played a part in Ethan’s past.  Jane and Ethan share similar experiences and their characters come to trust each other. Cruise and Pegg have amazing chemistry together and create moments of hilarity. Paula Patton really does stand out as a female action hero. The Mission Impossible film franchise has developed strong female characters which is one of the major strengths of the franchise. The only problem with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the villain. He is one dimensional.

Overall, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the best Mission Impossible movie. Rogue Nation has superseded it with the critics.  Ghost Protocol is my favorite Mission Impossible movie.  Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol gets a 4.5 out 5.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation comes out Friday. I’ve included the trailer below.

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Mission Impossible: Review (Minor Spoilers)

Beginning of an action franchise starring Tom Cruise

Beginning of an action franchise starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt

First Mission Impossible Good Start but not the Best One

 Mission Impossible was a 60’s classic spy television show before it became known as movie franchise.  It won several Emmys and had well known main cast which included: Steven Hill, Martian Landau, Leonard Nimoy, Sam Elliot, and Peter Graves as Jim Phelps.  Paramount decided to make a movie adaption of the popular television show in 1990s. The main cast from the hit TV show were not spring chickens but expressed interest coming back. Paramount executives decided to go into a different direction. They wanted the story to focus a younger agent, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), who has been framed for being a mole. Jim Phelps, the character, would be returning as Hunt’s mentor played by John Voight.

Jim Phelp’s and his team, which includes Ethan Hunt, are sent to Prague to prevent a theft of the IMF’s (Impossible Mission’s Force) Noc-List (List with names of all of the uncovered agents in Europe).  Phelps and his team are killed besides Ethan Hunt who calls headquarters asking for extraction.  Ethan learns that the operation was a mole hunt while meeting the Head IMF Director, Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny). Ethan survived making him the likely suspect; therefore, has to escape before he was apprehended by IMF and Kittridge. Ethan learns from the meeting with Kittridge that arms dealer named Max brought the Noc-List from a person code named Job off the black market. Phelp’s wife, Claire (Emmanuelle Beart), shows up at the safe house because she wasn’t killed like the other members of the team.  Ethan helps Max escape IMF’s hands to gain her trust.  Ethan promises Max that he can get the real Noc-list also she will set up a meeting between Job and he. Ethan recruits former IMF agents Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and Krieger (Jean Reno).  Ethan and his team break into Langley and steal the list. Jim Phelps is alive and places the blame on Kittridge for being the mole. Ethan must be believe his mentor or decide not to take his chances with the exchange between Max and he.

The first Mission Impossible movie is enjoyable. The film is written by David Koepp (Jurassic Park) and Robert Towne (Chinatown). The pre-production of the film was hectic. There were multiple drafts and well known rewrites on the script. There was no shooting script when filming started.  The story stayed in place with Towne’s help while Koepp and the director, Brain De Palma, worked on the plot and dialogue. Finally, Tom Cruise wanted a very big action sequence for the summer blockbuster. He came up with the climax battle that involves a moving train. Despite the constant budget debates, the script rewrites, and developing a suspenseful story, the filmmakers were able to pull it off. Mission Impossible is a suspenseful action thriller.  The biggest credit is that the film keeps you guessing and entertained for less than two hours. Tom Cruise also deserves credit for portraying Ethan Hunt.

Ethan-Hunt-Screencaps-mission-impossible-34541173-1920-800

Tom Cruise was already an A-list actor.  He was never considered a face of a movie franchise. He starred in Interview with the Vampire as Lestat but the franchise never could take off. Mission Impossible made Tom Cruise into a blockbuster star. He is primary one of the reasons why there are five Mission Impossible films. Ethan Hunt is the protagonists of all the Mission Impossible films. I love Tom Cruise as an actor. He brings it every time that he is onscreen. Cruise brings a sarcastic, daredevil, and serious tone to Ethan Hunt. The actor does all of his own stunts.  The scene where he is hanging from a ceiling trying to hack a computer that is Tom Cruise not his stunt double.  Tom Cruise is one of reasons why the first Mission Impossible is an successful enjoyable action movie.  Ving Rhames also added a lot of humor and quickly became a fan favorite.

Mission Impossible does have several negatives.  The dialogue is not tension or suspenseful. The story does have glaring holes. What made the ironic character, Jim Phelps, turn bad. Jim Phelps was the face of the Mission Impossible TV show.  The character does a complete 180 from turning good to bad. Jon Voight wasn’t on screen enough to provide the mentor-mentee relationship with Ethan Hunt.  The writers, executive producers, and director should be faulted for this. However once that I finished Mission Impossible, the treatment of the Phelp’s character didn’t brother me. I became a fan of the main character and the franchise.

Mission Impossible is a good first film in a movie franchise and it gets a 3 out of 5 from me.  Tom Cruise is a great actor; whether you believe him to be crazy or not.  Mission Impossible is on Netflix.