Film review: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

This is the fourth film in the Mission Impossible reboot, starring and produced by Tom Cruise and loosely based on the classic 1960s espionage series (and its 1980s version).  I haven’t seen all of the other films beyond a few set pieces glimpsed on the television, but am familar with both TV series and came to Ghost Protocol expecting an action thriller with lots of noise, CGI and not much in the way of talk, plot or script.

So I wasn’t disappointed.  The opening sequence set in a Russian prison where Simon Pegg as the dumbest of all secret agents in the IMF causes prisoners to riot and eventually, for Tom Cruise to escape triumphantly while Dean Martin’s ‘Ain’t That A Kick In The Head’ belts out over the sound system.  Meeting with the token female agent in a convenient tunnel, they all get away and then a bit of business in a phone booth and a hidden computer screen gives Cruise his mission (in the old days, it was cassette tapes and CDs, but this is a simple digital message, which still self-destructs).

The mission, of course, is accepted, cueing some comical business in the Kremlin before it all gets serious, there is an explosion, some gun play, the death of an important character, and a trip to Dubai to stop nuclear meltdown.  Cruise scales the tallest building in the city, an impressively high glass structure (you know how this was done, but it still looks impressive).  There’s a rubber mask gag nodding back to the original series.  There’s a bit of hi-tech blather and someone along for the ride might not be who they say they are.  Oh, and Cruise fights a sandstorm.  As you do.

Despite all the obstacles, the ending sets up a possible fifth entry in the series following a rather silly stunt with a car and a 100 foot drop.  It’s a daft, cartoonish film, but even given a slow middle and a rather unsatisfying plot, it delivers if this kind of action flick is your thing.