I am not afraid of no Ghost Protocol
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011): 9 out of 10: Ghost Protocol is a solidly written piece that seems to pile one thing upon another without ever losing its grip. Direction, by first time live action director Brad Bird, is spot on.
The Good: Mission Impossible franchise is a unique bird. The first film was a passable spinoff of a sixties television series. Think of The Saint movie. While there have been some fantastic movies spun off of such material (The Fugitive, The Addams Family, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island) most are serviceable at best. The first Mission Impossible had a disappointing ending and seemed like a one off from the nineties. But here we are many many years later and the movies have gotten better with every iteration.
Part of that is star Tom Cruise who simply has refused to age and has steered the movie franchise more and more into Bond territory. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is bluntly where the franchise surpasses Bond. Beautiful Bond girls like Léa Seydoux check. ( Léa was also a Bond girl in Spectre and of course is from Blue is the Warmest Color.). Exotic locals like Dubai and Moscow. Check. Great stunts and set pieces. More than check.
It is easy to compare Tom Cruise hanging off a skyscraper versus Roger Moore skiing in front of a blue screen. But even the modern Bond films struggle to keep up with Mission Impossible’s stunts. Let alone having the star perform the stunts himself.
The other secret weapon is the banter of a team. Bond is a solo character. And that often means he has no one to play off off. No one to lovingly take the piss out of our stoic hero every once in a while.
The Bad: Jeremy Renner is fine in his role as the new guy. His back story/ guilt story on why he is no longer in the field, however, is contrived and weak. It suffers from that screenwriter disease where everyone has to know or be related to everyone else. (See also Bond’s outing in 2015’s Spectre where Blofeld is now Bond’s stepbrother?)
Paula Patton is good as an action star and a woman seeking revenge. Unfortunately, she is a bit of a miss as the honey trap for a billionaire media tycoon.
The Ugly: That is not how nuclear missiles work. A: The sub has to come close to surfacing after receiving the initial message to get conformation and that will take a while. B Nuclear Missiles they tend to explode above the target, often thousands of feet in the air, so it would have exploded long before it was disabled.
In Conclusion: They brought Jeremy Renner into the franchise to eventually take over when Tom Cruise became too old for the role. Wouldn’t hold my breath on that Jeremy. The Mission Impossible series really does get better with every outing and Ghost Protocol was the one where it really planted its flag against the Bournes and Bonds out there. Better than it had to be outing with plenty of great stunts, beautiful woman and locations, Tom Cruise running, and a little bit of friendship and dare I say it, heart. Highly recommended even if you were less than enthusiastic about the previous entries.