The plot is rather generic, but that’s not detrimental to the film’s overall impact. Rather than confuse and confound like the first film in the series, Ghost Protocol tells the familiar story about a bad guy who wants to unleash nuclear Armageddon on the United States and a team of agents trying to stop him. Tom Cruise is up to the task as Ethan Hunt, showing that at 49 years of age, he can still pull off some heart-stopping stunts. He’s flanked by newcomers Simon Pegg, Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner. Together they share great chemistry as an IMF team charged with such tasks as executing a jailbreak from a Russian prison, penetrating the Kremlin, assuming alternate identities to circumvent an exchange of information, crashing a swanky party and working without US government support.
There’s some great gadgetry, particularly during the Kremlin break-in which involves one of the coolest gadgets in the film, a portable gauze camouflage screen, and some great funny moments courtesy of Simon Pegg, the film’s comic relief agent, who often steals the show. The Kremlin mission goes wrong after “Cobalt,” the subject Ethan Hunt et al are trying to steal information about, blows up the Kremlin and pins the explosion on Hunt’s team. What results is “ghost protocol” or total disavowment by the government of the IMF and its agents, forcing Hunt and his team to go rogue, without government aid and protection.
It’s at this point that Jeremy Renner gets involved and, like Simon Pegg, he’s a great addition to the cast. Portraying the female contingent, Paula Patton, sizzles and kicks butt as Agent Jane Carter. It’s great to see Patton in a high-profile, mainstream role because the girl can act (consider her work in Precious) and she proves here that she can do action just as well as drama and holds her own with the guys.
This is a must see for fans of the series, and for that matter, fans of humour, action, suspense and crazy special effects. There is one gob-smacking scene that alone makes the movie worth watching. It’s a vertigo nightmare that has Hunt climbing the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – a 160-story skyscraper that Hunt scales along on the outside using adhesive gloves that falter midway through his climb. The scene is heart palpitatingly intense and unbelievable, and it’s mind-blowing on the big screen.
The film is solid entertainment and a good thrill ride. High tech equipment fails, tried and true mask disguises falter, sand storms blow in and even the agents show signs of weariness, apprehension and nerves just before taking the plunge and making the leap. As the fourth installment in a franchise, the film delivers on all cylinders and I left the theatre hoping for another impossible mission should all involved choose to accept it.