The Mission: Impossible series is one that I surprisingly have never bought into during my life as a cinephile. However, I'm up to see just about anything that Tom Cruise stars in. I've always been aware of how his public persona has an overall sharply divided response from the public, but it has never really created a tough effect on me because I mostly focus on his acting instead. The best thing about the Mission: Impossible series is that none of the films are direct sequels of the previous entries, so it's accessible for the average filmgoer to get into this franchise at any one of the "Missions."
IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team composed of Field Agent Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and Tech Agent Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) are set up on a mission in Moscow where the Kremlin is bombed, and they're framed for the apparent terrorist attack. The IMF secretary (Tom Wilkinson) and Chief Analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) inform Hunt that the President has initiated "Ghost Protocol", which means the IMF has been disavowed. Hunt and his team, along with the addition of Brandt accept the mission of tracking down the real culprit behind the attack, which takes them on a mission that to exotic locations which include Dubai and India.
Tom Cruise delivers as Ethan Hunt, mostly due to how accustomed he's become to playing this character in the three previous movies. In addition to nailing down the expected charm and charisma he exhibits in nearly every movie he stars in, he does all of his own stunts including his character scaling the Burj Khalifa (aka The Tallest Building in the World). For an actor who's about to hit 50 and can still do his own stunts in big action movies, Cruise has a lot of guts to do that and it improves on the realism of his character due to the complete lack of stunt doubles. Paula Patton and Simon Pegg hold their own very well alongside Cruise. Patton not only delivers on being the sexy eye candy, but also performs very well as one very badass femme fatale when it comes to her fighting scenes. Simon Pegg provides great comic relief as Benji, and his background as one of the best British comedic actors currently working today enhances his spot-on comedic timing,too. Jeremy Renner though, manages to stand out compared to the rest of the supporting cast. He plays the only character that has an important back-story to the film's plot and he manages to deliver his scenes on a dramatic level that is sufficient enough to this type of film without exaggerating it to a point of pure over-the-top acting.
Brad Bird directs the film with a very solid visual style for a live action film debut as he constructs some of the most adrenaline-fueled action sequences I've seen this year. In addition, he chooses to shoot the action in a serene style like Justin Lin did with "Fast Five", which is a great switch from the majority of the action films we get with the obligatory shaky cam. Usually a 2 hour 13 minute film would drag if not handled well, but Bird's direction creates a fast pace of transitions between scenes that never bore you from the action taking place.
For an introduction to the Mission: Impossible trilogy, Ghost Protocol could not be any better. The film delivers on the escapist entertainment you'd expect from a film like this, and not expect anything more from its audience. If you do plan on seeing this film during its theatrical run, this is one that must be seen in IMAX format, because the film's action sequences are absolutely stunning to look at, in addition to the base of the sound making your heart pump in the most intense action set pieces.
Final Grade: B+