Dec 22, 2011

REVIEW: Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

Looking a little thick around the midriff these days, his locked shoulders in urgent need of a massage, Tom Cruise radiates a dry-ice shimmer of thinly-controlled rage in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Entering rooms, he is tense, bunched, jumpy, like an Olympic athlete awaiting the starter's gun; barking orders at his fellow spies, his tendons seem to shiver and twang like ship's cable. Watching a Cruise performance these days is much like watching him execute a daily work out. He huffs, puffs, blows, clenches, tenses, springs, swings, pivots his way through Ghost Protocol with such grim-faced determination that you half expect a contingent of Chinese judges at the end holding up score cards that read, "9.8." "9.9." "10". He seems at his most happiest — certainly at his most relaxed— when swinging from the rigging of 130-floor middle-eastern skyscrapers. Held by a thin guy rope, he runs up, down and around the building as if jogging around the block, seemingly oblivious to the vertiginous drop below. Cruise takes great pride in his stunt-work and rightly so. From the beginning, what has nudged the Mission Impossible series ahead of the rest of the pack is its star's willingness to dedicate his physical form in the cause of seamless trompe l'oeil derring-do — to use his own body as a special effect. Ghost Protocol is neither the best nor the worst of the bunch, its plot the usual dose of symbolist vers libre involving nuclear codes, a Russian terrorist, a smashing looking French assassin (Lea Seydoux), some BMWs, a sand storm and Simon Pegg tapping urgently at his lap-top, in no particular order. Director Brad Bird models his set-pieces on a triple-decker club sandwich. So: Jeremy Renner must crack a vault using an anti-grav suit, Paula Patton must seduce a Mumbai billionaire (the guy from Slumdog Millionaire, in fact, and Cruise must chase down a suitcase in a giant BMW factory all at the same time. That these actions have nothing to do with one another is not the point; the points is for Bird and his editor to cut back and forth between them in such a fashion that you are seized by the immediate temptation to lower yourself into the nearest lift shaft in pursuit of Russian nuclear codes. I'm a huge Jeremy Renner fan but he's a little underwhelming here — these franchise parts don't conduct his particular brand of lightning. Patton is overly encouraged to emote about some dead hubby we've never heard of — huh? — and Pegg is intermittently amusing as the lily-livered Brit. But it's Cruise I was transfixed by. His early performances ran on glide rails; these days he looks ready to blow. When is someone going to let him? B-


  1. Mostly I see movies after they have been out for awhile,but thought this action movie was best seen on the big screen. I was right on. This is my favorite 'Mission' movie by far. I expected good acting and direction, but I was greatly impressed with the physical acting ability of Tom Cruise.

  2. MI 4: Ghost Protocol gifts you a munificent entertainment by lurking your senses in for a sophisticated gizmo treat, peppered with flamboyant action brimming over Soviet-US suspicion of nuclear threat!!! Not raking in the moolah any smug stuff, MI 4 piques applause but more when Tom Cruise plays over ''Burj Khalifa''. Certainly with no plan, no backup Tom cruise and team eke out accomplishment alluringly !!!! Kudos ,thumbs up, Encore !!!!