Public opinion can be polarizing for movie stars; this rule applies twice over for Tom Cruise, the star of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. After bizarre public appearances on national television shows, and less-than-favorable rumors that span back to his second marriage, Cruise is known more for his spectacles than his recent films, but if Ghost Protocol is any indication, Cruise is trying really hard to win you back.
Reprising his role as Agent Ethan Hunt, Cruise spends the majority of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol desperately trying to clear his name. The world is convinced that Hunt and his IMF (Impossible Missions Force) crew blew up the Kremlin, which as you can probably deduct, is just a big misunderstanding. Stripped of his Government ties, Hunt goes on a mission to catch the actual culprit, clearing his own name in the process.
The result is a film with more amazing stunts than you can shake a stick at. Climbing the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, running from the exploding Kremlin, hand-to-hand combat that doesn’t only look dangerous, but sounds like Cruise delivers lethal blows with every strike. There is even a homage to the first film, this time with Jeremy Renner hovering above ground, desperately trying to avoid touching anything. The action set pieces in this film are as I good as I have ever seen in this genre, and Cruise delivers on every possible front.
But make no mistake, Cruise’s supporting cast does an admirable job also. The aforementioned Renner fits in nicely with what is supposed to be a pre-established group of agents. There are moments of conflict and tension where both Cruise and Renner show their dramatic chops. But Cruise and Renner are just half of the banished IMF agents, the other two being funnyman Pegg and the gorgeous Paula Patton. Both play familiar character types within the genre – Pegg being the comedic relief/tech guy, while Patton is the no-nonsense, supermodel-esque femme fatale. Both Pegg and Patton fit nicely with the two big-name stars, so the group gels very well together.
The most surprising thing about Ghost Protocol is how tight and well-planned the whole piece seems. For that we can thank director Brad Bird, a man whose previous work includes The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille. That’s right: this man has made a career by directing animated features. Luckily, his skills translate very nicely to live-action pieces. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is a hefty order for a first-time live-action director, and Bird really delivers the goods.
At this point, it’s safe to say that the recent Mission Impossible entries are easier to like than their 007 counterparts. It’s a shame that people dislike Cruise enough to skip his films altogether, because Ghost Protocol is better than most action movies. Say what you will about the man’s personal life, but if Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is any indication, he still has the capability to thrill audiences.
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