PG Cooper: Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol Review

Posted: August 12, 2012 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Film Club Reviews

Ghost Protocol is a film I’ve been avoiding since it was released. Not because I thought it looked bad, actually I thought it looked pretty awesome, but because I’ve never seen any of the other Mission Impossible films. Even though I’ve heard nothing but good reviews and have had tons of opportunities to watch it, I’ve ultimately had to pass every time. But this round in the film club I had trouble acquiring the other films recommended to me, so I reluctantly decided to give Ghost Protocol a shot.

The film opens with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) locked in a Russian prison, but is quickly broken out by spy allies Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg). Afterwards, the three are untangled in a plot involving a madman (Michael Nyqvist) who wants to incite a nuclear war between the United States and Russia. Along the way, the group is joined by William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and are disavowed by their agency.

The good thing is Ghost Protocol seems to work as a standalone film. The story is pretty basic and easy to get. In fact, I would say it’s too basic. The master villain’s plot causing a nuclear war is extremely unoriginal and dated. It doesn’t help that the villain is incredibly uninteresting. I wasn’t a fan of Nyqvist’s work in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009) and he’s just as unmemorable here. Overall, it is very clear that the story’s only real purpose is to string together a number of action scenes. I will say the idea of the team being disavowed seems good on paper, but it doesn’t amount to much. One never gets the impression that they have no one to turn to especially when the group is provided with gadgetry so advanced it looks like something out of Minority Report.

A general superficial aura can be felt throughout the film. In addition to the bland story, the characters never feel like they’re in danger and action scenes lack the tension you’d expect from a spy thriller. Of course I’m willing to forgive the latter point given how well-executed the action scenes are on a technical level. The set-pieces throughout the film may not be very tense, but they are incredibly exciting and the spectacle is always something to behold. The action scenes are also varied enough that they never feel tired.

The film also benefits from a mostly great cast. The four members of Ethan’s team are all likable and have great chemistry with each other. Tom Wilkinson and Ving Rhames are also in the film briefly and I always like seeing them. Ultimately, Ghost Protocol may be a shallow film, but it’s also constantly entertaining. I had a lot of fun watching it, so much so that I’m willing to mostly ignore some serious problems. I’m also very interested in going and seeing what the rest of the series has to offer.

Rating: B

  1. r361n4 says:

    Good review, I agree that Nyqvist isn’t anything to write home about in pretty much anything he’s been in (Wasn’t he in that piece of shit taylor lautner movie Abducted?) but I absolutely loved the rest of the cast here. Of course I will always see anything with Simon Pegg in it…

  2. brikhaus says:

    Good review. MI:1 is probably the hardest one to get into, and may require multiple viewings to appreciate it. Although the CIA break-in scene is amazing. MI:2 is terrible until the final 30 minutes when John Woo decides to start directing some action sequences. MI:3 is probably the best of the entire series. It has the best balance of story, gadgetry, and action scenes.

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