Review: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

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Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

Films from this summer such as Fast Five and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and this weekend's holiday release Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, have proven that sometimes going back to the well can produce great results. Studios aren't always content to throw some actors in front of a camera, put up a familiar title and hope droves of movie fans come out to support the franchise -- in these cases, they're actually hiring great directors to create some truly exciting films. For Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, filmmaker Brad Bird was given the task of shooting not only his first ever live-action feature, but the first Mission: Impossible film in five years, when it seemed like the series definitely wrapped up in 2006.

Opening in the middle of a mission, we see an agent running from armed assailants and escaping in a pretty spectacular manner. In typical spy film fashion, this circumstance will be explained later -- the opening of the film is mostly an elaborate prison break where Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has been for some time after his retirement. He is given a mission to infiltrate the Kremlin in Russia and obtain files that contain launch codes for a nuclear missile strike. Ethan and his team are set up and blamed for an explosion that occurs at the Kremlin and it is up to them to not only clear their own names, but help stop a start to nuclear war between Russia and the US.

When in every previous Mission: Impossible movie, it seemed like Ethan and his team always ended up burned by a mole in their organization, this film provides him with a brand new team, and they deliver on all fronts. Paula Patton as Agent Carter does a wonderful job being the typical beautiful female agent, but she brings a sort of hesitance about her beauty to her character. When she needs to be sexy, it seems as if she's unfamiliar with how that feels, but she ends up pulling it off convincingly. Simon Pegg continues to prove that if you put him in front of a camera, he'll bring the funny, and in this film he can also kick a little ass. Jeremy Renner, who's becoming quite the action star of late, isn't given too much to do here but still manages to turn in a good performance. Of course Tom Cruise stars, and as usual he delivers and reminds us all that he is in fact Tom Cruise and there is no other.

Brad Bird, who previously directed The Iron Giant, Ratatouille and The Incredibles, has proven he can direct some gigantic action sequences. While such sequences can be easy enough to organize in the world of animation, in the practical world, could he perform the same type of epic magic? The answer is a resounding yes, especially if Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is seen in IMAX. There are action sequences in this film that are absolutely mind-blowing and can really only be appreciated on the gigantic scale an IMAX screen can provide.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is easily the best movie in the entire MI franchise. The other films were usually forgettable and it's never a good sign when it seems like it's been almost a decade since the last film in a franchise and it's actually only been a little over five years. It's hard to imagine there might be someone who's not a fan of Brad Bird's previous movies, so those that have loved his films will really enjoy Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Especially those fans of The Incredibles. The biggest action scenes, interlaced with some very funny humor make the film at times seem a little cartoony, but that's a very good thing in this case. What could have been a worthy summer blockbuster is a welcome addition to this season's holiday lineup. It's really not to be missed.