DVD & Blu-ray review: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol


Given that it’s the fourth in the blockbuster franchise, Mission:  Impossible – Ghost Protocol does beg one at least one important question: just what is so impossible about the missions? As they have managed to get through at least three, it suggests they are less complex than they’d want you to believe. I suppose “Mission: Really difficult but still doable if you put your mind to it” would look a bit unwieldy on the posters.

Facetiousness aside, there was a slight question mark surrounding the latest in the blockbuster Hollywood franchise. Whilst the 1996 original was one of the best action films of the 90s, the follow-ups were rather overwrought montages of explosions and pointlessly convoluted stories that  – whilst undoubtedly earning plenty at the box office – were rather forgettable. Would this 2011 effort be able to see the film earn its place amongst the event movies that are now so common?

Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt, an IMF (Impossible Mission Force) agent who begins the film holed up in a Moscow jail. It turns out that Hunt’s incarceration is part of an elaborate ploy to find out more about a mysterious person called Cobalt, a megalomaniac bent on detonating a nuclear warhead. Along with Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Jane Carter (Paula Patton), Hunt heads to the Kremlin to find the next piece in the puzzle. But when it goes disastrously wrong, the team find themselves subject to a ‘Ghost Protocol’ with their existence denied and the world’s governments chasing them. Along with mysterious intelligence analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), the team must use the limited resources available to them to discover those who would betray them whilst saving the world along the way.

Sometimes the film seems like an exercise in cinematic one-upmanship. Want to blow up a building? Let’s blow up the Kremlin! Want to have big set-piece on the side of skyscraper? Let’s use the tallest building in the world! But – despite (or, perhaps, because of) the conspicuous excess  – Brad Bird’s live-action debut (he’s previously been known for such animated fare as The Incredibles) is an immensely enjoyable slice of Hollywood cinema. Whilst this follows the tried and tested clichés of action movies, there’s a sense that Bird has attempted to do something aesthetically different. The Moscow, Dubai and India locations are used to full effect (with the set piece on the Burj Khalifa, the aforementioned tallest building in the world, being particularly impressive) and – whilst there’s all the gloss you’d expect – there’s an undercurrent of something approaching realism that makes this stand out from the crowd.

The script is workmanlike with the odd good line (mostly delivered by Simon Pegg, who deals with his role as comic relief well) but it does move along at a cracking pace and – to its credit – the film manages to make its 2 hour plus running time fly by. Cruise is the same as always – charismatic but with an underlying vein of smugness – whilst it’s still rather surreal to see Pegg mix it with the Hollywood big boys. Renner also does well in his debut with the franchise, managing to bring a mixture of the intellectual and the hunky action hero.

As blockbusters go, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol manages to be up there with the best of last year by being distinctive enough to feel different whilst containing all the over-the-top action you’d expect. The film’s transfer to Bluray means that – obviously – the film loses some of the definition it had on the big screen (especially given that it was partly filmed in IMAX) but it is still an impressive experience. The extras are the usual clutch of featurettes that are OK but not essential.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is out now on DVD and Blu-ray released by Paramount Home Entertainment

One comment

  1. Awesome review! This to me is the best Mission Impossible movie, I loved the action and the scenes were over the top. I’m glad that my coworkers from Dish told me to check this movie out. I just watched it using my Blockbuster@Home service, where I enjoy watching an extensive library of movies. I get Blu-ray DVDs to my door, or I can stream right to my iPad or TV while I wait for my next. I never have a dull moment with the option of renting games too. There are no due dates or late fees which allow you to play games till their done.

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