Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol


Cruise goes to new heights…

Four is the magic number in the latest Mission: Impossible, and not just because it’s the fourth instalment in Tom Cruise’s Bond-aping spy franchise.

No, it’s also the number of protagonists in Brad Bird’s zippy caper, the Pixar dude having taken a cue from his own Incredibles in assigning his lead a surrogate family of secret-agent helpmates.

Given the lukewarm public reaction to Cruise’s recent solo vehicles, it makes sense to position people around him to pick up the slack – literally in the case of the film’s main set-piece, a vertiginous dangle outside Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

And if the result means Cruise seems occasionally short-changed by his own production, it’s a price worth paying in a fast-paced, globe-trotting adventure that offers blasts, brawls and buildings of equally spectacular scale.

Bird sets the tone early with a Russian prison break that combines Dean Martin, a Great Escape gag and even a nod to Cruise’s height within one playful, pre-credits sequence.

Yet it also sets up Ethan Hunt’s new role within a slimmed-down IMF: that of testy, tutting leader, forever trying to keep his unruly charges (revenge-hungry Paula Patton, rebellious Jeremy Renner and gadget man Simon Pegg) under control.

In Bird’s eyes, getting this quartet to work together as a team after they’re disavowed in the wake of a billowing Kremlin explosion is at least as important as them foiling mad extremist Michael Nyqvist and his shapely blonde assassin (Léa Seydoux). But then this is a very different Mission to the ones that first revisited the 1960s TV series.

Its light, zesty touch is a marked contrast to the multiple treacheries of Brian De Palma’s franchise-starter (1996) and the slo-mo excesses of John Woo’s part two (2000).

Racing from Moscow to Mumbai via eye-catching stopovers in Budapest and the United Arab Emirates, Protocol only disappoints in failing to give Renner’s enigmatic ‘analyst’ Brandt a back story deserving of his initial air of mystery.

It’s a shame too that Pegg’s puppyish enthusiasm as Benji the techie isn’t always well served by the script, though he still scoops the best one-liners. And then there’s the surprise-strewn but somehow flat-footed coda to the all-action climax.

Still, these are minor niggles in a film that delivers two hours plus of thrilling blockbuster entertainment with a goofy grin on its face. Not only that, but it scores a first by staging a punch-up in an automated car park.


A few damp squibs aside, Bird’s sensibilities make for the most animated Mission to date. Don’t see in IMAX if you’re a vertigo sufferer, though…

Film Details

User Reviews

    • FBJBottomley

      Dec 12th 2011, 12:31

      I am attending a press screening of the film in IMAX, glad its better than the forgettable Third film, I was hoping it would be. Plus cannot wait to see the Dark Knight Rises Prologue on before it.

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    • BobbyTwoTimes

      Dec 12th 2011, 16:31

      'Forgettable Third Film'?? That's a totally bonkers statement if ever i've seen one....

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    • FBIGarbutt

      Dec 12th 2011, 16:31

      What a well put together movie. Definitely better than the third one

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    • SixStepSamurai

      Dec 13th 2011, 2:44

      I personally thought the third one was the best in the series. It captured the same flavour from the TV show pretty well, especially the part when the team sail off on the speedboat, mission acomplished, all smiles with the iconic theme tune playin. The first one was good, but if you want forgettable, look no further than the John Woo effort.

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    • writerdave87

      Dec 13th 2011, 10:49

      Er... forgettable third film? Ethan's wife getting fragged pre-credits, Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the villain, Keri Russell's exit, the bridge setpiece... it was probably the best one of the series so far imo :/

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    • marc96

      Dec 14th 2011, 22:01

      i've loved all 3 of the films so far and cannot wait for this one, i have to agree with @writerdave87 about the third movie and the opening of mission impossible 3 raised my expectations and it didnt let down

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    • fuzzydunlop1

      Dec 16th 2011, 3:20

      Another thumbs up for me for the third film. JJ Abrams took the strongest elements from the first two films and made an excellent third film. Now bring on the fourth!

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    • nkutzler

      Dec 19th 2011, 22:16

      The fourth was very exciting, and some of the combat scenes were very good. However, it puts a little bit too much at stake for it to only keep the attention of a few organizations. The problem then is that Ethan's team sometimes plays it for a joke, like older bond films. It was fun, but it disappointed me because MI3 was so great and had a more realistic and personal feel, even for Ethan Hunt himself. Plus, you can't beat Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character, and this villain was very 1-dimensional.

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    • nkutzler

      Dec 19th 2011, 22:17

      And obligatory rave about Dark Knight Rises- the suspense is seriously killing me. I can't discern anything about that movie, and it's exciting.

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    • baldeelox

      Jan 4th 2012, 2:42

      I saw it in an imax my first YAY lol but agree with anyone who said this was a solid action pic. If nothging else Paula Patton and the the blonde hottie were just that HOT. I am not a part of the megan fox brigade but I digress…great set pieces and direction from Mr Pixar Bird. A lot of part 4's seem to be hitting the money these days. MI3 was better than 2 so the the trend seems to be they may be getting better. MI films will be episodic as this one was. The opening credits paying homage to the tv series says it all. Great action flick better than any superhero films I saw this year in that dept.

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    • blade32

      Jan 5th 2012, 13:22

      I watched Ghost Protocol yesterday. It was AWESOME. loved it. as good if not better than the others.

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