Monday, June 18, 2012

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol


When I originally published this review, someone didn't like the assumptions they thought I was making about Indian culture in the comments about the traditional Mumbai section (and comparing them to Temple of Doom). I apologize if it seems like I'm making fun of anything or assuming this is what goes on in modern-day India, I wasn't, only that it was interesting, definitely over the top, but something nostalgic in that it could be linked to another of my favorite films. Maybe I didn't really need to say that, but I suppose it helps to be clear. I'd hate to think that someone out there might see a film with a Nazi in it and think all Germans were like that Nazi.


What originally began as a plan simply to ogle the splendor that is Josh Holloway (Sawyer from JJ Abrams' LOST) turned out to be a suprisingly wonderful experience; this was a fun, fun movie. And while no kid's film, whatever skill and ability director Brad Bird picked up at Pixar was not wasted here--- aesthetically and viscerally, Mission Impossible delivers again and again.
The film's premise is simple enough----Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is after bad guys who plan on doing bad things with nuclear launch codes. The IMF (Impossible Missions Force), for political reasons bails, leaving him with only three other rogue agents to aid him in his mission, invoking "Ghost Protocol." There are some personal bits of story along with the action: one of Hunt's agent colleagues seeks vengeance for her departed love; Hunt seems upset by the breakup of his marriage but unwilling to discuss it; and Brandt, the newest member of the team (played by Jeremy Renner), is there only reluctantly, and eventually reveals inside knowledge into both his experience as an agent and Hunt's own history.  

The story isn't what makes this movie great (though it's quite well-written); it honestly isn't anything we haven't already seen from the previous films or even 24's Jack Bauer. This film is what it is because of its style, special effects, and driving pace. There are some impersonations (a couple which involve masks), numerous explosions, impressive uses of technology, and amazing stunts. The locations and the way that they're constantly changing keep the film always racing toward that next conflict, or that next piece of the puzzle---Budapest, Moscow, Dubai, and Mumbai become exciting settings in which Hunt's extreme prison break/search for materials/con game/and ultimate fighting championship (with a vehicular twist) all take place. Very rarely is there time to take a breath, but it works.



In addition to all the amped-up action, there were moments of humor (mostly snide utterances by sidekick Simon Pegg) and nostalgia. I personally enjoyed Cruise's Terminator-inspired speed running, which happened more than once, and the traditional Indian dancers at the palace toward the film's conclusion, very reminiscent of Temple of Doom, donned in white instead of red. Would an offering of snake surprise or chilled monkeybrains have been pushing it? Maybe, but the film does plenty fine without it. 

Here's to you, Bad Robot. 

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