Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Movie Review: Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol

Director: Brad Bird
Genre: action
Rating: *** (3 out of 5)

‘Tis the season of sequels. Ghost Protocol is the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible franchise based on the hit 70s television series. The studio’s decision to not call the film “MI4” portends the coming of innumerable future sequels. Keeping count, on the other hand, will only remind movie-goers of the way big studios squeeze the last penny out of every viable franchise. Rest assured, MI5 in 3D is already in the works and I heard James Cameron may be interested.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol by Brad Bird

Ghost Protocol was directed by Brad Bird, the brain behind a run of Disney blockbusters like The Incredibles, Up and Ratatouille. Perhaps that’s why MI4 is peppered with Disney-style humor, such as when the IMF tape at the telephone booth fails to self-destruct and when Ethan Hunt’s two sticky gloves take turn to malfunction.

Although showing his age, Tom Cruise isn't half bad in the movie. He is comfortable in the role and, as much as I hate to say it, he does make a compelling Ethan Hunt. At the same time, the audience has become more forgiving toward Cruise’s one and only facial expression: his intense one-eye squint in the face of extreme danger. It grows on you.

Tom Cruise pushing 50

Jeremy Renner must have been sick of playing the same redneck American soldier – as he did in 28 Weeks Later and Hurt Locker – when he auditioned for the role of William Brandt, the State Department analyst who turns out to be an ex-IMF agent. Renner is on a meteoric rise in Hollywood, playing Hawkeye in the new Avengers movie and soon to replace Matt Damon in the upcoming Bourne film. Simon Pegg’s comic relief as the tech-geek-in-the-field gets old quickly and becomes altogether annoying.

Jeremy Renner in Hurt Locker

Almost all the action sequences in Ghost Protocol are gratuitous. Blowing up the Kremlin is unnecessary. Hunt’s one-handed climb up the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is unnecessary. The 10-minute car chase in the middle of a sand storm is unnecessary. Brandt’s ridiculous jump into a subterranean ventilating shaft in India wearing steel underwear is definitely unnecessary! Interestingly enough, it is the eye-tracking autostereoscopic screen to fool a Russian security guard at the Kremlin that steals the show. It is pretty much all downhill from there.

No matter how much I criticize Ghost Protocol, it is still way better than MI2, a crappy movie made by one of the most overrated directors known to the world: John Woo.

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