Film Reviews

Nice view of Dubai

The Weekly’s eleven to watch from 2011

After what, surprisingly, has been over a decade, it’s become a movie theater comfort to see Tom Cruise determinedly jumping off tall heights and just plain running as quickly as his almost 50-year-old legs will take him. (Can you believe he’s freaking 49?!)

Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol is the fourth in the franchise, and, although much has been made about co-star Jeremy Renner taking over the leading action figure man reins, it’s still Cruise’s show all the way.

This time around, a nutball blew up the Kremlin (Michael Nyqvist, who played Mikael Blomkvist in the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie) and frames the IMF (Impossible Missions Force, duh) team so Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and friends must save the planet from nuclear annihilation. “Nuclear war,” the nutball says, “might have a role in the natural order.”

Err…okay…

Don’t ask why, just appreciate the film as the perfect vehicle for some of the most kinetically exciting action sequences in years all held together with a resolutely straight face on the man who jumped on Oprah’s couch.

Ghost Protocol is also director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles)’s live-action directorial debut–what in Buddha’s name took him so damn long to work with real humans? He proves himself a master at the genre here. (Frequent Bird contributor Michael Giacchino’s score keeps the blood pumping as well.)

A tense Russian prison break is made funny with the use of Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.” Hunt infiltrates a guarded corridor by using a cloaking device that is probably technologically impossible but still gloriously clever. A routine car chase is made all the more difficult by taking place in the middle of a blinding sand storm. A fistfight on a vertical and horizontal conveyor belt/platform garage is like a Mario video game come to life. The new saline-chic hybrid BMW prototype is driven here, and ironically, it reminds us of the “futuristic” vehicles from Cruise’s 2002 sci-fi adventure, Minority Report. And of course, the much-publicized Dubai skyscraper sequence, with our hero scaling the building over a hundred stories up using a flypaper glove-gadget on the windows like Spider-Man, is just bonkers exciting.

Arguably, this is the most entertaining Mission yet and it may not be time for Crazy Cruise to retire the mantle. In fact, his Hunt character may be America’s long-sought version of James Bond, and taking the history of spy cinema into consideration, that’s saying a helluva lot.

(Attention Lost fans: Your favorite Sawyer–a.k.a. Josh Holloway–is in this flick too, and though it’s more of a cameo, he’s still pretty badass. Give this guy an action role, stat.)