Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

"Light the Fuse." That’s what Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) instructed Agent Carter (Paula Patton) to do after a Possible Mission to free Ethan from some foreign prison, which then leads to one of the cooler opening sequences you will want to see, all laid against a funked out version of Lalo Shifrin’s iconic theme song. Sweet. What we have here is the latest chapter of Ethan Hunt’s impossible missions with ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’, made notable by the live action directing debut of Brad Bird who delivered to the masses arguably the world’s most entertaining movie with Pixar’s ‘The Incredibles’. So believe me when I tell you that we have another hugely entertaining movie on our hands, and one just as cartoonish as ‘The Incredibles’ was. Maybe more so even.

Today’s mark is physicist Dr. Kurt Hendricks as played by actor Michael Nyqvist, who is quickly becoming the American Movie go to guy when we need and evil foreign dude. Hendricks wants Peace on Earth and his plan to make this happen is to launch every nuclear weapon on the planet and kill us all. Crazy. Like a fox! Because if everybody’s dead then we will certainly be at peace. I feel where you’re going with this Dr. Hendricks. Ethan, out of prison, has gotten the word that somebody is up to something in Russia, this having to do with stolen nuclear launch codes, so with his new team in tow which consists of the aforementioned Agent Carter and the newly christened Agent Dunn (Simon Pegg) who has gotten his secret agent wings, they run of the Kremlin to find out who this somebody is. They fail at this. Miserably.

They failed at this so completely that The Secretary (Tom Wilkinson) has had to make a special trip to Russia, along with his chief analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), to apologize to the Russians personally and to inform Ethan that the IMF… whatever that stands for… is being disbanded and The President has enacted the ‘Ghost Protocol’ which means the IMF has been disavowed. Regardless, the secretary knows that something really awful is about to go down, and even though there will be no support and no lifeline, if one person can get ‘er done, it’s Ethan Hunt. The Secretary has to make a quick exit, leaving behind his analyst, and these two hook up with Agents Carter and Dunn and get down to the business of plotting out some Boffo Action Sequences.

The mission for Team Hunt is a complex one, Impossible even, as they travel from Moscow to Dubai to Mumbai, and it involves stopping this loon from acquiring these codes to launch his missiles. Failing that, then we would have to stop him from getting a hold of a space satellite to upload these codes which would then launch these missiles. Failing that, then we would have to find some kind of way to deactivate this nuclear warhead. Failing that… well… then it really would’ve been an impossible mission.

If nothing else, Brad Bird and Tom Cruise have created a thrill-a-minute roller coaster adrenaline ride of a movie with ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’. It starts early and rides downhill almost non-stop, only to slow down enough to give us some exposition or show us a cool gadget. Say like the GPS windshield which should go into production immediately, and I’m certain it won’t distract the driver. I’m convinced of this. Then the movie picks up speed again as Hunt and as his associates find their impossible mission becoming even more impossible with each growing moment until it’s looking like they aren’t going to make it, but we know these missions are never really impossible, don’t we? Just difficult.

There are some things though. For starters there’s our villain. He’s described as a nutty professor, not a nutty professor / Former Super Agent Badass, but just a nutty professor. So when our Super Agent, who’s the baddest man on the planet, has to chase this aging college professor down the street, it is curious why he can’t make up any ground on this old dude, or when our Super Agent, who’s the baddest man on the planet, gets into a fist fight with this aging professor… he was kind of kicking Ethan Hunts ass. Early on we saw Ethan Hunt beat up a cell block full of blood thirsty violent criminals, but he can’t take out an old college professor? And to be as smart as he is, this college professor’s final move to preserve his Peace Plan was kind of stupid.

Yes, this movie has a lot of action, but maybe it was just a little too much? It got to the point where it was numbing because there was so much external stimuli going on, and at this point in the game Ethan Hunt has become less a man and more of a super hero, outside of his inability to beat up a nutty professor, so there wasn’t a lot of tension in the scenes where Ethan’s life was at stake because we know he’s going to pull it out.

Even though I’m probably in the minority on this, I enjoyed ‘Mission Impossible III’ more than Ghost Protocol. Ghost Protocol was a better and bigger action movie, but MI3 was a better thriller /spy movie which is the core of a Mission Impossible story, and MI3 as far as the characters and the storyline were concerned, was a more personal movie which made it easier to connect with. Just one man’s opinion.

Nonetheless, ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ is still a popcorn scarfing good time at the show. The bigger the screen, the louder the sound, the more fun you will have.

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