Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - Review

The "Mission Impossible" series has always been kind of like a roller coaster of styles. After the first surprisingly solid and entertaining entry from Brian de Palma, the franchise took a completely different approach by involving John Woo in MI2. It felt like a completely different franchise. John Woo's trademark slow-mo action sequences were present as always and the action was good, but yet i was scratching my head asking myself, whether this is the way "Mission Impossible" should be like. With MI3, director J.J. Abrams did the right thing: he brought "Mission Impossible" back to its serious roots of de Palmas first part, making it probably the best in the franchise (next to the first movie).
Now, the fourth part "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" has been released. Although i am still pretty annoyed that the didn't just call it "Mission Impossible 4", the trailers look like promising solid action fun. On top of that, Jeremy Renner is along for the ride. All seems pretty promising for this one. So how does this mission hold up?

The plot:
The IMF is shut down when it's implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name...(source: IMDb)

MI4's story is nothing too special. It's often a bit muddled and at times it CAN get confusing. But with the right amount of focus it's no big deal.
One of the biggest reasons for this, is that there is a good amount of scenes that could easily been cut out, due to the fact that those scenes introduce characters that turn out to be almost completely irrelevant to the story.
Nevertheless, i have to give the movie credit for tying in the previous movie (MI3) into it's story, making it feel "complete".

However, with each previous installment of the franchise having a specific villain that Ethan Hunt is after, MI4 proves to be a disappointment. The villain in MI4 called Hendricks, is one of the most bland, uninspired and characterless villains of this year. Often you tend to forget that he actually IS in this movie. Compared to the previous villains from the predecessors, no matter if ludacris or well played, this one is easily the laziest written one.

Overall, MI4's story can be summed up as nothing really special and nothing too bad either. It's a good vehicle to get the action going. But it's far away from the excitement and tension that MI3 brought to the table.

The acting is also very solid. Tom Cruise is doing well as always, Jeremy Renner yet again shows that he is a very likable and capable action actor, and Simon Pegg spices the story up by representing the comedic influence. The only weak point in the team is Paula Patton as Jane. She is pure eye-candy and has expectedly nothing great to contribute to the team except for her looks. Although she actually does have some nice ass-kicking moments.
Also i was pretty disappointed that this is the first MI movie without Ving Rhames as Luther in the team. That was a cool dude!

The biggest problems i have with MI4 is that it is way too joky for my taste. Compared to the previous installments which are all more or less based and focused on real technology and serious terrorism of today's age, MI4 adds a whole lot of light absurdity to the story. MI4 features the most over-the top gadgets and villains of the entire franchise. For example an instant holographic wall, or an indian playboy being a totally annoying comedic douche.
I guess i understand that Brad Bird had to make the movie more comedic, as the movie involved Simon Pegg, but if the movie would have just focused its entire comedy on him and not be scattered everywhere, it would have been able to keep that certain amount of seriousness that i was missing.
Those aspects really dragged the movie down for me and make you wonder how director Brad Bird was thinking that those different over-the top (goofy) parts fit into a self-contained "Mission Impossible" movie about terrorism?
It all made MI4 feel less like "Mission Impossible" and more like "The A-Team". But luckily those parts are not enough to destroy the movie entirely (at least not for me).
The comedy MOST of the time (when it's Simon Pegg) works. It's just that it doesn't feel like it belongs that much into a MI movie.

Now let's get to the really good parts. The action is very well made. It's completely worthy being in a MI flick. They are thought out and choreographed very well and do a great job entertaing and exciting you. Often you can practically feel the pain of each punch throughout the action (the sound design is very good). And although some of the action scenes involve some pretty faky looking CGI and (again) some over-the top gadgets. Just take it for what it is and go with it.

Oh and one last thing, MI4 has the absolute WORST intro sequence of this entire year. In this intro, they show you clips of action scenes from MI4...when i am watching a movie for the first time, the last thing i want to see is an intro showing me the action of the movie that i am about to watch. Way to go movie!! How can a movie spoil itself?! Good god! It's as if the movie's intro was that annoying guy in the back of the room shouting the movie's twist ending throughout the entire cinema!  

All in all, I have to disagree with most critics claiming MI4 is the best of the franchise. Though Brad Bird, whose previous works include almost entirely great animation movies, did an incredibly good job giving us exactly the action scenes that we wanted to see, he adds a too comedic tone to MI4 for my taste. With him being mostly used to doing family flicks, it's no wonder. MI4 can be easily compared to MI2. Both films aimed for a different style and experimented a bit, distinguishing it from the other entries. With that said, i am totally ok with MI4 and directors trying something new.
If you are looking for a slightly different (than the previous MI flicks) but exciting and solidly crafted action movie, stop looking elsewhere and just go ahead and watch "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol".

Final Verdict: 6 out of 10


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