So I saw Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol recently. I’m not much a fan of the property, I’ve only seen the first film and I’ve never seen even a second of the TV show, but there were several reasons I was determined to see Ghost Protocol. First, it is directed by Brad Bird, the man behind two of my all time favorite films: The Incredibles and the Iron Giant (he also did Ratatouille, but I don’t like it quite as much). I believe this is his first live action film and I wanted to see how he handled it. The trailers also made it look like a stylish, slick action movie. I like those. Lastly, it features the acting talents of Simon Pegg, one of the few actors that can get me to almost any movie. Ghost Protocol delivered all that I wanted in a sleek, entertaining package.
Ghost Protocol is, of course, a spy movie. While there is some inherent twisting and turning, outside of one big twist that drives much of the film most of the revelations and reveals are personal, only tangentially related to the mission. Without the usual spy movie labyrinthine plot, Ghost Protocal must rely on the quality of its cast and supposedly impossible missions. The cast is a good one. I already love Simon Pegg, and ignoring off screen weirdness, Tom Cruise is a very entertaining leading man. The rest of the cast acquits itself well, too. The missions are suitably extraordinary and entertaining. More than most action movies, Ghost Protocol gives a sort of behind the scenes look at what is going on. It is as much about the team setting up as it is the execution of the plans. It helps that the action is cleanly and clearly filmed. Bird wisely eschews that shaky-cam nonsense that has ruined the recent Bond films.
The plot, while not particularly complex is too convenient at times. People just happen to be in the right place at the right time, and there is one nonsensical use of a secret identity, but the action carries it over any rough patches. Tom Cruise is still a legitimate action star in several nice fights scenes and really good sandstorm chase scene that, despite being about a terrible blinding sandstorm is still clear.
In the end, Ghost Protocol is not quite a great movie. While all of it is well made, it just doesn’t come together as something truly memorable. All of the pieces are there, and it is hard to pinpoint a true flaw, but somehow the whole thing feels a bit empty. Ghost Protocol is just about as good a popcorn movie as anyone could expect, and is absolutely a movie worth seeing.