Movie Review: Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

Mike Finkelstein is being offered a mission, should he choose to accept it. Go to the theater. See an action movie starring Tom Cruise that absolutely blows the rest of the action movies this year out of the water. Buy popcorn. Don’t get killed. He did all this, and even bought gummy worms. Mission accomplished. Here is his review of “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”.

Mike Finkelstein is being offered a mission, should he choose to accept it.  Go to the theater.  See an action movie starring Tom Cruise that absolutely blows the rest of the action movies this year out of the water.  Buy popcorn.  Don’t get killed.  He did all this, and even bought gummy worms.  Mission accomplished.  Here is his review of “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”.

PLOT: After being implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, the IMF is officially shut down (aka Ghost Protocol).  Fighting to clear their name, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team go rogue, only to find out that they’re not only trying to save themselves, but the rest of the world from nuclear war.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW:  A fourth MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.  It seemed like the movie that nobody wanted.  J.J Abrams left the series on a huge high note with part III…what were the odds that a fourth entry could actually beat it, especially now that many considered Tom Cruise’s career over?

The odds are pretty damn good, because MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL is nothing but balls-to-the-wall action and thrills.  It isn’t just a worthy addition to the series, but arguably the best so far.

This time around, we find Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) an inmate in a Moscow prison.  In prime M:I fashion, we save the explanation for later, and go straight for the break out.  It turns out things are pretty bad on the outside, and Hunt, along with CIA Agent Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and the capable goof and now field agent, Benji (Simon Pegg) need to break into the Kremlin to steal some nuclear arms codes.

Nothing is ever that easy, though, and when the Kremlin is bombed, the IMF is blamed, and shut down (Ghost Protocol).  Suddenly, Hunt and his team, along with new by-the-books field agent Brandt (Jeremy Renner), have to go rogue to both save the world from nuclear disaster and clear their names.

Brad Bird, a director known strictly for animation, has done a remarkable job of choreographing and layering some of the best action sequences of the year.   From a prison break to the Kremlin exploding…from Cruise scaling the 800 meter tall Burj Khalifa to a car chase in a sand storm, there is no off switch.  What makes it more impressive is two-fold.  First, Bird and writer Josh Applebaum are not only able to bring that action, but also infuse each scene with that trademark lighthearted humor that makes the M:I series so much more than a run-of-the-mill action film.  (Think some Dean Martin to bookend a prison escape, a self-destructing telephone that needs a Fonzie-punch to self destruct, and a malfunctioning sticky glove at the top of the Burj Khalifa that seems pulled straight out of a Road Runner cartoon.)

Secondly, in any film with crazy stunts, there’s always a suspension of disbelief.  Besides only one factor at the end (Cruise walking away from a car nose dive), I was on board for all of it.  Hell, even a horribly clichéd line that could come out of a Segal/Van Damme movie sounded awesome coming out of Tom Cruise’s mouth!  When you’re that immersed in the world of a film that anything and everything is fair game, it’s pretty impressive.

Speaking of Tom Cruise, you have to give the man his due.  Cruise does all of his own stunts (as usual), and brings us back the charming and unstoppable Ethan Hunt that we’ve all grown to love over the past decade and a half.  He may have been jumping on couches a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still own a movie, and he does.  It also helps when you have the absolutely gorgeous Paula Patton to stare at, as well as the scene stealing Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner backing you up.  (Speaking of Renner, it was rumored that he would take over the M:I franchise because studios weren’t sure about Cruise’s star power anymore…guess that went out the window…)

As for the bad of M:I 4, only one basic complaint comes to mind.  While the action sequences were absolutely mind-blowing (especially if you see it in IMAX), there was never any time for any character development.  J.J. Abrams walked a fine line with M:I III, giving us not only crazy action, but also a beautiful story with Ethan and his wife, as well as a baddie you just wanted to hiss at in the form of Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  Here, we get a few moments of exposition for the good guys, and never get a chance to hiss at the baddie because, frankly, we never really see him.  Granted, this is a small factor and something I only realized after a long discussion, but it’s a critique nonetheless.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE GHOST PROTOCOL is some of the most fun I’ve had in a theater this year.  It is yet again another high point of the franchise, and I tip my hat to both Brad Bird, who has officially earned my respect as a wonderful architect of action and storytelling, as well as Tom Cruise, who has proven that while he may be crazy, there’s a reason why he has been on the A-list for so long.  Only thing I could say is that I hope both can make it back for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 17.


Mike’s LIKES:

1) TOM CRUISE IS STILL THE MAN: Whenever an actor has a career slump (past five years?), there’s always a moment where you know they’ve completely bounced back.  This is that moment.  Say what you want about Tom Cruise, but the man still gives his everything to his roles.  The stunts that he pulled off here are astonishing, and he is still one of our greatest action stars.  Hell, he made a joke line like “Mission Accomplished!” sound cool!

2) SIMON PEGG: Simon Pegg has slowly turned into one of my favorite comedic actors.  He never hams it up as Benji, and finds that perfect line of serious versus funny, easily stealing some scenes away from Cruise.  Oh yeah…and he actually has the balls to be a hero (you’ll see).

3) JEREMY RENNER: Renner is finally getting the recognition he deserves.  He has done great jobs in every movie he’s been in after THE HURT LOCKER, and while Cruise ain’t going anywhere, I would be on board if he took over this franchise at some point in the future.

4) STUNTS: Car chases, crazy falls, sand storms, and hanging off the Burj Khalifa.  Be ready to have your heart in your throat.  And please, see the damn thing in IMAX.

5) BRAD BIRD: The man came from doing THE IRON GIANT and THE INCREDIBLES, and somehow transitioned into one of the greatest action franchises of the past fifteen years.  AND he revitalized it, at that!  Amazingly job, my friend, and I can’t wait to see more live action films from you in any genre.

6) CAMEOS: I won’t give it away, but fans of the series will love the little surprise cameos waiting for you.  It definitely made me giddy in my seat.


1) NO SLOWING DOWN: While there is nothing wrong with non-stop action, there was no real time for any character development, whether it be on the good or bad sides.  Yes, Hunt and Brandt had their moments of exposition, but it just wasn’t the same after the in-depth love story of M:I III.

2) WEAK VILLAIN: I understand the villain isn’t really the biggest deal, and mostly another MacGuffin to get the crazy stunts going, but after Phillip Seymour Hoffman in M:I III, it was somewhat disappointing to deal with someone so underdeveloped.


1) The nuclear missile flying over San Francisco is apparently heading towards Pixar’s headquarters.

2) Anthony Mackie, Christopher Egan and Kevin Zegers were considered to play Brandt.

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