Action, incredible stunts, and . . .
You know it, you love it, and if you love action films, you’ll go to see it. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is the fourth installment of the films derived from the 1960’s television drama Mission: Impossible, and it’s Tom Cruise’s baby. He’s the producer and star, and he has made the rounds of all the talk shows explaining that building climbing stunt. That stunt, by the way, is heart-stopping. The preview screening was in IMAX format, and I recommend that you see it at an IMAX.
Tom Cruise returns as super-agent Ethan Hunt who escapes from a Hungarian prison with the help of his team, only to find that the US has been framed for an attack on the Kremlin. He’s told that IMF has been dissolved, and that “ghost protocol” has been invoked by the President. It means that he and his team are being given the usual “impossible” assignment (and you know he’ll choose to take it), but they will be disavowed and given no help or support. They’re on their own, having only the weapons and gadgets that are contained in the initial secret location that will, of course, self-destruct. Cruise’s performance, acting-wise, is mediocre at best, but his character slams into enough solid surfaces to turn a lesser man into an actual ghost. And that’s what you’re there to see him do. You don’t expect Hamlet. Paula Patton, the girl on the team, plays her character, Jane, with a mediocrity similar to Cruise’s. She’s an agent with a score to settle with the assassin who killed her lover, Hanaway -- Josh Holloway in an all too brief performance. She looks great and does an adequate job with all the choreographed fight sequences, but if you’re looking for depth, you’ve come to the wrong place. Fortunately, the other two team members, Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Benji (Simon Pegg) are played by men who can act. Renner plays an agent with a haunting secret in his past, so he gets to be conflicted quite a bit, and he does it well. He’s best in the scenes with Pegg, who plays a techie in the field for the first time. Renner also gets one of the best stunts in the film. Let me just say that it involves a magnetic suit. Pegg brings much-needed humor to his part and makes us care about Benji.
If you aren’t too picky about details, and you don’t know much about geography, you may not notice the flaws in the plot. As far as plot goes, it’s the usual evil genius trying to do significant damage to the planet to further his own deranged vision. He’s played by Swedish actor Michael Nyquist whose not really given that much to do as his character, Hendricks. We’re told that his IQ is 190, but we have faith that it will take more than brains to defeat the IMF team. He and Cruise share another armrest-gripping stunt in a high-rise Mumbai parking garage equipped with elevators for the cars.
The special effects are what you’ve come to see, and they are spectacular -- and loud! There are, of course, many explosions, car crashes, and big guns, but the show-stopper is the one on that Dubai building. Cruise obviously has no fear -- especially of heights -- and that’s what sells the film. After all, you haven’t come for an intellectual experience: you’ve come to see the exotic locales, the pretty girls, the uber-fancy cars, and the good guys save the world. Although I can’t give it raves for credibility, continuity, or acting, I can say that you’ll have a good time watching this holiday block-buster film. By the way, the ending makes it look like there’s another one on the way.