"MIssion: Impossible—Ghost Protocol"
Release Date: Dec. 15, 2011
Running Time: 132 minutes
So much for Paramount getting out of the Tom Cruise business. The studio blamed Mission: Impossible III’s lackluster box office results on Cruise’s meltdown during his very embarrassing public wooing of Katie Holmes, and severed ties with the actor after two decades of hits. But that was then. No longer the biggest star in the world, Cruise’s decision to accept Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol as his fourth Ethan Hunt adventure comes as an understandable attempt to regain his global popularity. To be honest, Cruise can’t be totally held accountable for Mission: Impossible III’s financial shortcomings. It was the weakest entry in the franchise because J.J. Abrams approached it like he was directing another episode of his TV series Alias. It felt too small and soapy thanks to the decision to marry off Hunt. Ghost Protocol seeks to rectify matters by ridding Hunt of his wife and replacing Abrams with The Incredibles’ Brad Bird. Each Mission: Impossible takes on the style of its director, and Ghost Protocol is no exception. Making his live-action debut, Bird brings the same sense of fun and suspense to Ghost Protocol that made The Incredibles an instant animated classic. He also stages Ghost Protocol’s actions sequences in thrilling fashion, and such moments as Hunt scaling a hotel exterior or chasing a bad guy in a automated parking lot are especially breathtaking to watch unfold if seen in the IMAX format. To say that Ghost Protocolis the best of the Mission: Impossibles is an understatement. As for Hunt, the IMF agent’s mission is to stop Hendrix, a crazed nuclear strategist, from blowing up the world. After Hunt is wrongly accused of bombing the Kremlin, the U.S. government disavows the IMF, forcing Hunt and his team (played by the returning Simon Pegg and franchise newcomers Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton) to go underground in their bid to carry out their mission. If Ghost Protocol has one flaw, it lies in its decision to make Michael Nyqvist’s madman an anonymous and unthreatening villain. His presence is never felt. While Cruise retains Hunt’s cockiness, he brings both fear and urgency to his signature role for the first time, and Ghost Protocol is all the better for it. Oh, and eliminate any thoughts that the addition of Jeremy Renner as a new IMF agent means that Cruise is ready to turn over his only franchise to the multiple Oscar nominee and budding action hero. That was the speculation when Renner was cast in Ghost Protocol. Ghost Protocol not only is Cruise’s show from start and finish, but it emphatically leaves the door open for Cruise to return for another sequel. It’s Cruise’s way of telling Renner he needs to be satisfied with taking over the Bourne franchise from Matt Damon and to know who’s the boss if he wants to be part of any future Mission: Impossibles.
Aired: Dec. 14, 2011
Web site: http://www.missionimpossible.com/Ghost_Protocol/