“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” is a wild ride

Action movies are so tricky to watch. Some just think that all an audience wants is big explosions and a lot of running and shooting and nothing else. But fortunately, others are like the new Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. The action is suspenseful, thrilling and keeps you sitting on the edge of your seat grinding your teeth until the very end of the film.

In MI: Ghost Protocol, Ethan Hunt is back and he’s got a new IMF team. Although, technically, I don’t know that they’re really new as I did not see the last MI film (I did hear it was pretty bad, though). There’s just one problem: The IMF has officially been disavowed by the US government thanks to an explosion at the Kremlin in Russia which was used to frame Hunt and the U.S. But there’s a madman on the loose and he’s got nuclear weapon launch codes and it’s up to what’s left of the IMF to stop him.

That all sounds simple enough, right? But it’s hardly so. The team end up traveling the world, from Russia to Dubai to Mumbai and back again trying to track down this crazed psychopath who thinks that by starting a nuclear war, he will create peace on earth – yes, I told you he was crazy. This involves a lot of spy work, high-end technology and a lot of daring stunts.

Again, that sounds simple, right? But once I saw Cruise hanging in the air on the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, with nothing holding him onto its glass surface but a pair of glitchy high tech Spiderman-like gloves, I started sweating a little bit. This was literally the absolutely wildest stunt I think I have ever seen and both me and my movie-going companion, my niece, were sort of freaking out. It’s just that intense. Between the amazing special effects and camera shots, I had vertigo. Tthat’s quite an achievement – it looked so real!

Then there’s a scene with Jeremy Renner’s character, William Brandt, who is wearing some anti-gravity sort of suit that’s controlled by some magnets attached to a trolley sort of thing. And these magnets are the only thing that’s keeping him from free falling into what seems to be a very sharp pointy thing attached to a fan with very sharp pointy blades. My niece’s reaction? “He’s stressing me out,” she says.

And this movie will stress you out. If you’re faint of heart and don’t like high places and high thrills, you might want to skip this one. Because it’s one of those movies where you forget that things are, in fact, not real. How director Brad Bird suspends disbelief on this one is anyone’s guess, but what he’s done works.

Or maybe it has a lot to do with the great cast. Tom Cruise proves once more that he still has star power with this one, but it’s also his ensemble that makes the movie shine.

Renner does a fine job of playing the agent-turned-analyst with a secret that involves Hunt. You think he’s one thing, but he turns out to be something else altogether. I quite liked watching him in action, particularly in the scene in a room at the¬†Burj Khalifa, where he is fighting and twists this bad guy’s leg, which gives out a very ouch-sounding crack.

I especially liked Paula Patton as the very kick-butt-and-take-names Jane Carter. When she is sent in to seduce a man to obtain a code needed to access a satellite to prevent nuclear war, she is awkward and unsure of herself. Although she is drop-dead gorgeous in a cleavage-showing dress, the character is obviously much more at home dressed in combat boots. This was such a refreshing take on the female agent in this sort of film that I was duly impressed. And best of all? When she had to go run after a perp all dressed up? The first thing she did was rip off the high heels she’d been wearing.¬†FINALLY, realism in a movie, right?

Obviously, as a proper geek, I also adored Simon Pegg. Although his technology-based character comes across initially as comedy relief, he also turns out to be a pretty bad-ass agent himself. I liked seeing him both behind a computer and behind the barrel of a gun.

All four of the actors had such a great chemistry and worked well together. Whoever was in charge of casting, I would like to say “Well done!”

My only complaint about the film is that the end seemed a little contrived. However, it still worked.

Don’t wait for this one on DVD, folks. This is a movie that needs to be seen in a theater. I only regret not being able to see it in IMAX. But it is definitely one of the best action movies of the past few years.

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