After being framed for the bombing of the Kremlin, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the rest of his team (Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton) embark on a series of secret missions in order to prevent a terrorist from starting a nuclear war. There’s a catch though. Because they are taking the fall for the bombing, they’re on their own until they can prove their innocence.
Director Brad Bird’s (The Incredibles) Ghost Protocol continues the popular series with a compelling plot that consistently propels itself forward without skimping on tension or character arcs. Each action piece throughout the film is masterfully crafted. They work well on their own, as individual adventures, but it’s when they are all put together as part of the larger whole that they truly shine. The story itself is exemplary of how a thriller should be written: very fluid and constantly raising the stakes. The IMF’s exploits take them from Budapest to Russia to Dubai to Mumbai. There is very little downtime, except a brief break in the middle of the second act. This isn’t to say that there is no depth to the film. In fact, there is a very strong human element throughout.
Though very much a plot-driven thriller, Ghost Protocol’s cast does a lot to breathe life into the story. Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt is a charming, resourceful protagonist. His humor and personality add a nice contrast to the edge-of-your seat action scenes. The scene where he’s scaling up the side of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the best example of this. The dynamic between him and his costars is really great. The subplot between Hunt and Jeremy Renner’s character is particularly interesting and ties in nicely with Hunt’s backstory.
Simon Pegg, of course, is Simon Pegg. He’s been fun to watch In every film since Shaun of the Dead and Ghost Protocol is no exception, he provides great comic relief throughout.
Despite being the fourth entry in the Mission: Impossible series, Ghost Protocol never seems tired or overdone. In fact, it feels just as fresh as any standalone thriller. The familiarity of Cruise’s character and the IMF only enhance the fun elements of the story. There’s a lot for fans to get out of the film, but the story is standard enough for a newcomer to the series to enjoy.
Ghost Protocol is a worthy entry in a series that is showing no signs of slowing down. Definitely worth a watch.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol opens in Philly-area IMAX theaters today, expanding to general theaters on WED 12/21.
Author: Lucas Mangum
Lucas Mangum is an author from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His flash fiction has been published in Death Head Grin, MicroHorror, and his short story “Goblins” is available as an ebook. He also hosts the bi-monthly Awesome Reading Fests in Doylestown. Read his blog, The Dark Dimensions, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.