I'll be the first to admit that I'm not much of a Tom Cruise fan at all, and my dislike of him really has only a little to do with his off the wall personal behavior. Even his best performances I find to be caricature-ish at times. But one thing you can't deny is the man's dedication to his craft, which has never been more evident than it is in MI4.
By now, most people have probably either read about or seen via television commercials the jaw-dropping stunt that occurs on the side of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest building.
Audiences have grown accustomed to grandiose stunts in this day and age, but it's rare when an A-list actor performs any of his own stunts, let alone one of this magnitude, which has the potential to go down as one of the all-time greats. Regardless of my feelings towards Cruise as a person and actor, that deserves a certain level of respect and admiration.
Coming off of what was the best in the series, 2006's Mission: Impossible III, J.J. Abrams took over the production role and handed the directorial reigns to Brad Bird for his first attempt at a live action film.
The plot of Ghost Protocol is pretty straight forward considering the type of movie, and it basically resembles the plot of most seasons of television's 24, should you be familiar with the structure of those. It's once again centered around Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his small crew shortly after the United States government has disbanded the IMF. Hunt and his crew nevertheless embark on a mission in which they are to locate and stop a radical nuclear strategist named Cobalt, whose possession of live Russian nuclear codes has put the world on the precipice of mutual destruction. As is typical with action spy films of this nature, there are the unexpected snags that complicate matters and the use of numerous outlandish gadgets that are always perfect for the task at hand.
Don't let the somewhat sarcastic plot summary be misleading, MI4 is one of the better action flicks in recent memory. The plot just isn't anything new or innovative in terms of storytelling. What separates this from your average action film is that it is smarter, and there is a purpose to the action. This isn't giant robots crushing each other over and over again for some silly plot involving a cube. It's action with political ramifications that, albeit far fetched, appeal to post-Cold War fears and actually reach levels of decent plausibility. The action furthers the plot, rather than just being action for the sake of action.
Cruise is in full blown action star mode in MI4, and the stunts, mainly the Burj Khalifa, are mind blowing. Maybe the film's best asset is that even though it is technically the fourth in the series, it's largely self contained. There are tie-ins to the 3rd installment, but there is enough explanation here that viewing the previous film isn't entirely necessary. Some of the lengthy action/chase sequences do drag a bit at times, but not to the point where it's anything more than a minor complaint. Newcomer Jeremy Renner (coming off back-to-back Oscar nominations) is a more than worthy addition, and the comic relief of Simon Pegg is pitch-perfect.
If able, pay the extra money to see Ghost Protocol in IMAX. It's worth it.
- For all my 2011 reviews, visit: http://mastersofourdomain.blogspot.com/