2 Stars – Entertaining
The stunts are breathtaking in Brad Bird’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.” Even though we know that the star of the film series, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), would not be allowed to die, the entire audience holds our collective breath as he climbs on the outside of the Burj Khalifa at 130 stories with only a high tech glove. This view of him hanging off of the tallest building in the world standing in the heart of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is only one of many tense moments set in beautiful locations.
With an excellent ensemble cast creating a revised IMF team, Hunt is joined on the field by nervous scientist Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), beautiful but deadly Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and the enigmatic William Brandt (Jeremy Renner). The story begins with a mission going awry as IMF Trevor Hanaway (Josh Holloway) is killed and the codes for launching the Russian nuclear arsenal are heading into the hands of a nuclear terrorist. Needing Hunt to retrieve the codes, they free him from a Russian prison. With these two amazingly impossible events, the Impossible Missions Force story begins.
As is the nature of IMF, the government not only gives them impossible missions they can either accept or reject, but in this instance, there is also an explosion blamed on the IMF that causes our own government to terminate their operations. This means they must enter “Ghost Protocol,” a state of being on their own without the support of the U.S. government and military since their involvement has officially ended.
The villain of the story is Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist). Convinced that the peace of the planet is only possible after nuclear war has destroyed the world as it is now, Hendricks has brilliantly orchestrated the first strike. The other villain is Carter’s nemesis Sabine Moreau (Lea Seydoux). Equally beautiful and deadly, Moreau is a hired assassin who is central to the plot.
With all the usual deception and ingenuity, this IMF film also has a lot of action and violence. It is more physical than previous films in the series and is an entertaining action film in which good and bad are clearly at odds but their methods are becoming more similar. That is a shift that takes Mission: Impossible to a lower moral level than previous episodes.
Discussion for those who have seen this film:
1. When a Mission: Impossible film shows so much physical violence, do you find that improves or harms the genre?
2. The subplot of the film dealing with Hunt’s wife leaves us with a bittersweet message at the end. Do you believe Hunt has made the right decision? Why or why not?
3. It is difficult to imagine a world after a nuclear war. What do you think would happen to our planet? Do you think you would survive?