Bagley Insurance: Service, Value & Education For All Your Insurance Needs

Movie Review – Mission: Impossible

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is director Brad Bird’s (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) first live-action movie, and it shows.  As much critical praise as this movie’s been getting, it has a lot of flaws and was, at times, difficult to watch. 

This is the fourth film in the series, and none of the sequels have matched the first on any level (with the possible exception of the villain in the third movie, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman).  The first Mission: Impossible was twisty, suspenseful, and action-packed.  Tom Cruise was in his prime, and the movie still holds up to this day.  John Woo directed the sequel, which is by far the worst installment in the series.  JJ Abrams then rescued the series with M:I III, actually coming pretty close to matching the quality of the first one.

The latest installment is somewhere between the second and third movies.  Not terrible like the second one, but not as fun as the third.  Part of the problem is that Cruise has aged and his public appearances in the last few years have made it difficult to take him seriously as an action hero anymore.  Thankfully the younger and grittier Jeremy Renner (best know from his star-making role in The Hurt Locker) is there to balance things out.  He is the best part of the movie, by far, hitting all the right marks.  The high-point of the film involves him jumping down a large shaft in a metal suit, only to be ‘caught’ by magnets inches from hitting the bottom. 

Everyone’s talking about a scene where Cruise’s Ethan Hunt scales the tallest skyscraper on the world using sticky gloves, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  This is where Brad Bird could have done much better.  Maybe it’s all the hype, but I felt like this scene could have been so much more suspenseful.  I was underwhelmed by it. 

Another issue is that we never get to know the villain.  He just kind of shows up here and there, and we only hear him speak a couple lines.  It would have been nice to have learned more about him, seen more of him, etc… It was the villain that made M:I III so good, and was noticeably missing here.

Also, I really didn’t care what happened to the team, and I was never in suspense about whether they would complete their ‘mission.’  The movie just moves from one action set-piece to the next, with no build-up.  Despite all the huge buildings, cool gadgets, and fast cars, I was actually bored at times, waiting for something suspenseful or scary to happen.  Bird spends so much time on making the movie big, exciting, and beautiful that he forgets what makes a movie truly interesting: the suspense.  In the first movie Ethan Hunt famously breaks into CIA headquarters and is suspended by a rope as he is slowly lowered into a high-security computer terminal.  It’s quiet, slow, understated, and subtle, yet completely suspenseful throughout.  It wouldn’t have hurt if Bird had exercised a bit more subtlety here.

The verdict:  Despite all its flaws, it’s not a bad movie.  It has some really fun sequences, it works well overall, and has a pretty good cast (particularly Renner and Simon Pegg as Benji).  Most people I’ve talked to really liked it, so I’m probably in the minority on this one.  If you’re looking for a good movie to see this holiday season, I think Sherlock Holmes is the better option.

 –  Cruise seems to constantly find himself without a shirt, and is always able to find what appears to be the same leather jacket in every dumpster or house that he runs by.  Is it supposed to be like Indy’s hat?�
 –  Josh Holloway (played Sawyer on TV’s lost) was only given a few minutes of screen time.  I was hoping he’d have a bigger role.

Leave a Reply