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Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a spy action and thriller film directed by Brad Bird (The IncrediblesRatatouille) that was released in 2011.After a copy of Russian nuclear launch codes are stolen from a courier, veteran Impossible Missions Force (IMF) agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is broken out of a Russian prison by team mates Jane Parker (Paula Patton) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) to secure the Russian nuclear football and discover the identity of the mysterious “Cobalt” (Michael Nyqvist). Unfortunately the IMF team are beaten to the punch and the Kremlin is the victim of a terrorist attack that puts the tensions between the United States and the Russian Federation at an all time high. On the brink of nuclear war, IMF Secretary (Tom Wilkinson) is assassinated and the organization disavowed in the Ghost Protocol. Teaming up with analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and hunted by the FSB commander Sidorov (Vladimir Mashkov), Ethan faces a race against time to take down Cobalt and prevent all out nuclear war between East and West.

The first thing that came to mind when I watched this was how slick the action sequences were. Compared to the chaotic set pieces common in blockbuster movies today, Ghost Protocol‘s action is a breath of fresh air. This is best exemplified in the main set piece of the film which see’s Ethan Hunt scale the world’s tallest building, the Birj Khalifa in Dubai. There;s no falling debris, there’s no inexplicable explosions and there’s no chase involved. It’s just Ethan climbing a building. It’s tense and stunning. Compared to the confusing messes of (i.e.) the Transformer series, watching the fourth Mission:Impossible is like going from drinking White Lightning to sipping on a chilled bottle of Kopparberg.

The film also somewhat sticks it’s finger up at the growing tend of ‘realism’ in Hollywood movies. There’s nothing realistic in this, but there’s a lot of believable things. Recognise the difference? Michael “King of Action” Bay should start taking notes from Brad Bird’s playbook.

It’s almost a reboot despite being the third sequel to the original film and retaining the continuity. Ghost Protocol is like a return to the roots of the series and what made it so great in the first place. Rather than focussing everything on Ethan Hunt, Ghost Protocol is more about the team and the wider IMF organization. This makes for a much tighter and ‘better’ film than the other two sequels .

Another notable thing about Ghost Protocol is that it’s heroes aren’t invincible or all powerful thanks to technology. They’re on the back foot for 90% of the film and at a clear disadvantage. Lacking the wider resources of the IMF the team has to make do with what it has. Technology breaks more often than not and leaves the team having to think on their feet to accomplish their goals. And boy does Ethan Hunt get his ass kicked. A lot.

To sum up, I really enjoyed this film. I went in expecting a run of the mill “Look at how shiny and explode-y I am” Hollywood blockbuster but what I found was a breath of fresh air and I’d see any M:I sequel in the future. Provided it’s directed by Brad Bird.

Rating: 8/10

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