Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is the fourth instalment in the Mission: Impossible series, a series known more for improbable stunts and action than for a plausible storyline. Ghost Protocol fits right in.
Not that the story matters that much, but Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team of IMF agents are disavowed by the US administration (hence the title Ghost Protocol) after they are blamed for an explosion at the Kremlin. Without any backup, support, safe houses, access to satellites or to extraction protocols, they have to stop a nuclear war from being launched. The chase takes them from Budapest via Moscow to Dubai and Mumbai.
An action film has to be judged on the action scenes. The pace of the film is fast, with no lulls or lows. Some of the action sequences look too unrealistic, for example the explosion at the Kremlin, the high-speed car chase in the sandstorm in Dubai and the fact that agents escape barrages of bullets. I don’t mean to criticise that they are unrealistic, because that’s to be expected in a movie, but that they look unrealistic, computer-generated. Anyone who has – like me – seen real explosions, sandstorms and car crashes will be able to tell the difference.
Other aspects of Mission Impossible 4 that I have to list as negative:
- The annoying IMF face masks are back again. Can’t this technology be shelved finally? They don’t serve to cover up faces, but huge holes in the plot.
- This time, one of the agents is not lowered into a shaft by a cable, but by a magnetic suit. Still the same old idea. Let’s have something new, please!
- Why does there have to be a silly and pointless story about Ethan Hunt’s wife, involving one of his team members?
- The romance between Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and Trevor Hannaway (Josh Holloway) is equally silly and pointless – but luckily brief – that it reminded me of a similar romance between two agents in Team America: World Police.
- The disguise of Ethan Hunt and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) as Russian generals was as bad as the disguise of the police officers in Starsky & Hutch as rockers. They even copied the moustache.
- A hand-to-hand combat between two woman in tight dresses is too much of a cliché.
Another action sequence looks realistic because it was filmed on site instead of being computer-generated (see the video at the bottom): Ethan Hunt climbs part of the wall of the Burj Kalifa in Dubai, the world’s highest building, to access the server room on the 130th floor. Watching Ethan Hunt attempting this feat without any harness, only equipped with two magnetic gloves, of which one fails, this scene already got me sweating from watching it.
Some more of the positive aspects of Mission Impossible 4:
- The hand-to-hand combat scene in the automatic high-rise car park is something new and quite good. (Except maybe for the final and voluntary vertical dive with a BMW.)
- There is some humour.
- Jane Carter (Paula Patton) is hot!
Overall, it’s a solid action film. Good enough to kill some time while we are all waiting for Skyfall, the next James Bond film, due to come out in October 2012. I still wish though that the film’s director Brad Bird would have worked on a sequel to his fantastic animation movie The Incredibles instead.
Here is a short “making of” the best action scene in the film: