Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

Greg Says: The most amazing on-location sights; the most incomprehensible plot.

Title: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Rating: 5/10
Date: 17 December 2011
Recommendation: Don’t waste your time – unless you love IMAX
Helpful: 7 out of 18 found this helpful.

Ethan Hawke (Tom Cruise) is back and he’s in big trouble. His mission went badly and evil enemy Cobalt/Hendriks (Michael Nyqvist) has the codes to fire the Russian missiles. Cobalt wants to start World War Three because… well, he’s crazy like that. Hawke and the entire IMF have been disavowed because they were framed for blowing up the Kremlin. Now it’s up to Hawke and his renegade team (Beautiful femme fatale Jane (Paula Patton), techno geek Benji (Simon Pegg), and rugged analyst Brandt (Jeremy Renner)) to set things right. And we’re off . . .

There is so much wrong with this film it is hard to pick a starting point. Let me start by saying that I don’t understand why this is a Christmas film. This is an action adventure that is great popcorn fare and appeals to the Transformers crowd. Usually such films come out in the summer and are gone with the first whiffs of the fall.

The plot is completely incomprehensible. Suffice it to say, Hawke and his team flail from one blunder to the next. However, this is a plot device that allows the movie to travel to exotic locations and exploit the IMAX camera (see below). And everywhere they go, there are chase scenes. Because, well, Tom Cruise looks good running.

And for the special effects and plot devices, I feel as though we’ve seen all of them in other Mission Impossible films. There’s Tom Cruise blown across the screen by explosions. Tom Cruise barely escaping flying automobiles, and (this time) Jeremy Renner hovering above the floor of a computer facility while he manages tricky computer magic. There was even a “Red light, Blue light” moment reminiscent of the first film.

The film weighs in at 2 hours and 15 minutes – a bit long by Hollywood standards. I saw plenty of places where scenes could have been trimmed and a few that could have been completely eliminated as they didn’t further the plot – but were cute bits of special effects.

And while we’re talking about cute – a lot of the dialog was just adorable. That is to say, there were jokes interspersed that were supposed to lighten the tension and humanize the characters (especially with comedian Pegg). But they fell flat as they were largely forced humor and not well-placed in the film.

I get the feeling this was supposed to be some sort of “reboot” for the Mission Impossible franchise. Tom Cruise and JJ Abrams were producers. You may recall that JJ Abrams is the head of “Bad Robot” productions and he directed the reboot of the Star Trek franchise in 2009.

The one saving grace of this film is the on-location filming. I saw MI4 in IMAX and it was spectacular. We start off in Russia with wonderful shots of the Kremlin. Then we are whisked away to Dubai where Tom Cruise does amazing feats of wall crawling in front of IMAX cameras. If you have ever been to IMAX and seen the panoramic views that take your breath away, you can appreciate how impressive Tom Cruise hanging from a thread at the top of the tallest building in the world can be. It successfully engaged my vertigo. Then we are off to India for more adventure and wonderful sights.

I paid $16.50 in my theater to see this film and I balked. To be sure, it was not worth the price. The 30 minutes of IMAX views, while wonderful, are not enough to warrant a recommendation. If you want to get the full IMAX experience go see “IMAX: To Fly!” or some other IMAX offering. But there is absolutely no way you should spend even $5 to rent the instant download. So, for a meandering, incomprehensible plot and rehashed devices, I suggest you “don’t waste your time.”