Ghost Protocol embelishes everything that makes a great action movie work. It has great characters, amazing set pieces, is ripe with tension, and an overarching adrenaline rush from start to finish. By the time you reach the fourth film in an action movie franchise, you would think that the quality would start to decline. However, Tom Cruise and his team have proven that this franchise still has a lot of juice to give as they deliver one of the greatest action movies of the past decade.
After their mission goes horribly wrong, Ethan Hunt and the rest of the IMF have been disavowed and forced on the run. Still wanting to complete the mission and potentially stop a nuclear war, Ethan assembles a small team to help save the world from utter destruction.
The stakes are very real in this movie and expand beyond just personal conflicts but more for the fate of the world. This helps this movie stand apart from the other entries of the franchise as there is a great sense of urgency to their mission. Every new obstacle that comes up has to be dealt with on quick thinking rather than having the time to calculate everything out. It is entirely refreshing for an action movie and helps keep the tension high.
Speaking of which, every action set piece, sequence, or stunt is oozing with tension leaving you on the edge of your seat from set piece to set piece. From the amazing Dubai Tower climb to a small infiltration of the Kremlin, the movie has such a sense of urgency and reality to it that make this movie so memorable to watch. Tom Cruise did a lot of his own stunts in this movie making it feel so real and alive. There are barely any computer generated effects or stunt doubles use, what you see on screen is truly authentic.
The characters are also given enough backstory and intrigue to make you care about them and their mission. We are familiar with Ethan Hunt and his tactics, but this is the first time he is left on his own and has to rely on situational circumstances to get out of tricky situations. That is an interesting direction to take a character who has always had a backup plan to rely on if something goes wrong. Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Paula Patton are given gripping motivations and provide good humor, intrigue, and suspense during the film that make it feel more vibrant and alive.
The movie’s only weak aspect would be in its antagonist, an insane arms dealer who wishes to start a nuclear war. His motivations and intentions are not fleshed out at all and he is barely in the movie. On the other hand though, it could be argued that the film’s antagonist is actually the situations and circumstances we find our team in. Gadgets constantly aren’t working, plans are always changing, and things continually have to be improvised. Seeing them react to these changes is authentic and make the team feel like real people who have to solve these larger than life problems. The situation adds suspense and challenges to the characters so the villain can have a small pass for now.
The movie also works well as a stand alone adventure. There is no need to view any other film before this one. In fact starting with this one is something I highly recommend. If you are looking for a great action movie filled with tense scenes ripening with suspense and great characters then this is your movie. Every action scene is filled with authenticity and grips you in for an amazing mission. It is so easy to take for granted movies like this that have such an original flavor and urgency to it. This is one of the best action movies of all time and easily brings the Mission Impossible franchise to new standards.