Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol Review

I feel dirty.  Somehow, I got suckered into paying $9 to let Apple advertise to me for two and a quarter hours.  Being a Mission Impossible movie, it is supposed to be unrealistic.  But having international super spies use Apple equipment is just taking the realm of fantasy too far.  Apple doesn't let you modify anything!  And as good as the app store is, I'm pretty sure there isn't an app for having your phone self destruct in five seconds.  It would just seem counter productive to download it.  Although, most Apple fans see it as a privilege to keep feeding money into the cult so ... you never know.  Now, on to the movie.

This is another one where I have mixed feelings.  On the one side, it is a very good action movie.  The effects are top notch, the pace is good and the sets are fantastic.  Exotic cars, exotic locations, cool gadgets and a leading lady that, although she resembles Dwayne Johnson in drag, is still quite attractive.  It's got a very strong cast in Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner.  All three of those guys are very good actors. Crazy as he may be, you have to admit, Cruise can act.  And Renner has been strong ever since the Hurt Locker.  The irony of using Pegg though is that you take a guy who is at his best in comic relief when doing action and thrust him into a role that requires him to tone that down.  Unfortunately, they did not tone that down.  In fact, they let everyone else feed off of it.  This movie gets derailed somewhat by way too much comic relief.  Sometimes that is good in an action film (eg. The Last Boy Scout).  But the Mission Impossible movies are supposed to be more like James Bond and, every time you turn around, someone's making a wisecrack in Ghost Protocol.  It just doesn't fit.

And, speaking of James Bond, I felt the story, while OK and liveable, it was a bit too 1995 for my taste.  While conventional ICBM nuclear war is still a threat, it no longer provides the tense theme for an action movie that it did when the Soviet Union first fell and we all wondered what would happen to all of those arms.  So it was kind of dated.  Add to that the "of all the gin joints" William Brandt backstory, and the movie does get dragged down a little too much.  There was a lot of potential given the time between this one and the third one.  And frankly, the acting and writing are better in Ghost Protocol given the general story that it had to work with. But it lacked the pure evil and motivation for the heroes that Philip Seymour-Hoffman brought to MI:III.  I know that it is tough to re-capture lightning in a bottle but I think they could have tried harder.

If I rated movies rather than giving my recommendation, the few problems I mentioned would probably warrant a B- rating.  That's still a pass so it does get a See it recommendation.  But I think you'll have to be more of an action movie fan to really enjoy it.  It's a good action movie but not a great movie overall. Still worth a watch though.

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