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Cruise stays in control in ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’



Genre: ,
Starring: , ,
Directed By:
MPAA Rating:
Release Date: December 21, 2011
Length: 133 minutes




Total Score
6.8/ 10



Some terrific action scenes.


The cold war drama seems out of place.

Bottom Line

Directed by Brad Bird (‘The Incredibles’, ‘Ratatouille’), ‘Ghost Protocol’ is a suspenseful film that utilizes enough gadgets and high tech gizmos to rival a James Bond flick.

Posted December 28, 2011 by

Full Review

Though he’s had his screen moments as a Vietnam Vet in 1989’s Born on the Fourth of July or as the creepy self-help guru and estranged son Frank T.J. Mackey in 1999’s Magnolia, we don’t always love Tom Cruise.  His off-screen antics are just this side of crazy and we get tired of seeing him as the smartest, most intense, most dashing, most athletic short guy in the universe. Still, his Mission Impossible films are generally straight up fun and the fourth installment, Ghost Protocol, is yet another vehicle for his action hero impulses. And Cruise, who turns 50 this year, pulls it off despite the fact that he’s starting to a little old for these kind of roles.

Directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille), Ghost Protocol is a suspenseful film that utilizes enough gadgets and high tech gizmos to rival a James Bond flick. As the movie begins, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is locked in a Russian jail where he’s serving time for killing Serbs who allegedly offed his wife. Agents Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) stage a jail break and help get Ethan out, enlisting him and analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) for a mission that involves penetrating the Kremlin to obtain files on a secret agent named Cobalt (Michael Nyqvist), who has intercepted launch codes for Russian nuclear weapons he plans to detonate.

While all the cold war drama seems a bit out of place in a movie set in the present day, there’s no need to overthink it since the storyline is really inconsequential in this international ride. Ethan and company find themselves disavowed by government and go rogue (hence the “ghost protocol” subtitle) to rendezvous at the Burj Khalifa, the famous Dubai skyscraper, to try to stop Cobalt from launching a mission and starting a war.  After a death-defying stunt in which Ethan scales the outside of the building to tap into the computer system, the crew is able to identify Cobalt only to lose him during a high speed chase in the midst of a fierce dust storm. Then, it’s on to Mumbai, where the crew hopes to disable the satellite responsible for the nuclear missiles.

All the globetrotting makes for some drastic scenery changes in this film, which cost an estimated $145 million to make. While the movie occasionally dwells too much on plot machinations, the special effects are seamless as the Impossible Mission Force agents get out of one scrape after another. Pegg provides a little comic relief, and the always-reliable Renner is an analyst with a hidden agenda. Cruise seems more in control this time around than in 2006’s Mission Impossible III where he’d occasionally break into half-crazed laughter. His next mission, should he choose to accept it, is to dial it back even a little more and let the team share a little more of the spotlight.


Sam is live-music -loving vegetarian communications professional with an entertainment, travel and tourism background. A restless soul, Sam believes in getting out there and doing things because you only go around once but knows she could benefit from a little more sleep. Give her a reason to see a movie, catch a concert or explore a new destination at sam@whopperjaw.net.


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