I seriously don’t understand all the hate for Tom Cruise and Scientology. All religions are a cult. Cruise has made a come back in a big way with the latest installment in his Mission Impossible series. This is one of the best blockbusters that I’ve seen in years and one of the reasons some movies just have to be experienced in the theater, on the biggest screen you can find.
After three movies Cruise is an older, wiser, and less reckless Ethan Hunt. Usually by this point in a film franchise, the hero is bitter, downtrodden, and doesn’t want to be bothered. Ethan is none of these things, in fact he’s the opposite. He seems a little more humble, even hopeful this time out. Marriage has a way of mellowing a man – but apparently not too much since we find Ethan held in a Russian gulag.
The opening sequence of Ethan escaping from the Russian prison does a perfect job of setting the tone for this movie. It’s dark and ominous, but still manages to not take itself too seriously. As evidenced by the nice comic moments between Ethan and the team assigned to break him out. The team has a plan, but Ethan changes things up on the fly.
Director Brad Bird best known for beloved Pixar movies Ratatouille and The Incredibles makes his live action debut with a bang! This opening escape sequence is almost perfectly filmed and sets up several other amazing moments. The reason MI: Ghost Recon works is Bird doesn’t use a lot of fancy tricks like a lot of slow motion, or bullet time, his fight sequences don’t use a lot of quick cuts and close ups, it’s easy to follow the action. You can almost tell that Cruise (who is also the Producer) had a strong hand in this production.
Unlike the previous movies, this time out his team feels more well rounded. Former Alias writers Josh Appelbaum, and André Nemec, gives everyone something to do and their moment to shine. In previous installments everything was all about Ethan and we found out very little about his teammates. In this movie, it’s one talky bunch – starting with Brandt (Jeremy Renner) who has some mysterious connection to Ethan, Jane (Paula Patton) who has a personal interest in this mission and Benji (Simon Pegg) the tech who is just along for the ride. I love this cast.
Patton and Renner shine on screen. Renner is definitely the next major action star. I can easily see him taking over this franchise if Cruise ever decides to hang up his climbing gear.
The writers have created a very dense script that is more straightforward than the previous films and doesn’t contain all the twists that people have complained about in the past.
The plot here is pretty straightforward stop the bad guy (Michael Nyqvist) from starting WWIII. All of the missions are fairly straightforward and Bird gives the audience time to breathe between each mission and takes his time setting each one up. Bird directs one of the most amazing and memorable stunt sequences I’ve ever seen. Cruise scaling the top of the largest buildings in the world is stunning and dizzying (especially in iMax). Cruise is the man!
There are very few actors who would do this incredibly stupid and dangerous stunt themselves and very few directors who would not resort to a lot of close-ups, CGI and quick edits to hide the fact that this stunt isn’t “real.” Bird does not do any of this we get nice wide angle shots that show that yes, Cruise is really on this building with very little CGI involved and it is exhilarating to watch. In iMax, I felt like I was there on that building with Ethan and when he looks down, I felt my stomach drop.
Every fan of big gonzo action movies should watch this in a theater just for this amusement ride like scene alone. In many ways, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is an almost flawless film.