Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible: Hooded Guy.
"No Plan. No Backup. No Choice."

Hey everyone welcome back to The Tagline! While i was snowed in (really I still am) I decided to watch Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (hereafter MI: 4) because I'd heard pretty positive things about it. I was surprised by that because the last Mission Impossible movie was not all that good. I mean, it was pretty decent actually, but I just don't find Philip Seymour Hoffman to be a very intimidating villain. Kind of a lippy douchebag maybe, but villain mastermind genius? ehhh that's kind of a stretch. MI: 4 once again stars Tom Cruise as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, this time accompanied by agents Carter (Paula Patton) and Dunn (Simon Pegg, as a newly promoted agent, is comic relief obviously) and also former field operative William Brandt (Jeremy Renner, who I'm beginning to think is a spy/assassin in real life) as they attempt to stop what I here am going to refer to as a nuclear terrorist, because that is the silliest way I could possibly put it. With the threat of nuclear war looming between the U.S. and Russia, thanks to said nuclear terrorist, the president initiates Ghost Protocol, disavowing all IMF agents and pinning the blame for the Kremlin being blown up on Hunt and his team. Instead, Ethan escapes with his team and agent Brandt, and attempt to thwart the plans of nuclear terrorist Hendricks (played by Michael Nyqvist, who played Mikael Blomkvist in the Swedish version of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and its sequels). Lacking their normal resources, and drawing upon a backup source of equipment that is frankly always blowing out at the worst possible moment, Hunt and his team are racing against the clock to stop nuclear war.

Oh and this chick, she's an assassin.

So that sounds pretty campy right? I thought so too, I mean, you are never given a reason for why this guy is trying to start the nuclear end of the world. You have an assassin hired by him to get nuclear launch codes who only accepts payment in diamonds, its so cliche that it comes back around to being amusing again. This is only due to the way that the movie chooses to execute this plot though. If this had been trying to be deadly serious, this movie would have been totally ridiculous, and I would have hated it. It was not doing that though. You have Simon Pegg sputtering Britishly about what is essentially a kamikaze mission. You have Paula Patton cat fighting with that Taylor Swift looking diamond assassin, and then kicking her out a window of the tallest building in the world. Tom Cruise has to climb up the side of said building with a pair of gecko gloves that stop working half way through his climb. People in the movie are constantly doing insane things, only they all seem painfully aware of how insane they are, and less than thrilled to go through with them. The movie is just serious enough to keep you following along, and tongue-in-cheek enough for you to forget how absurd the whole thing is. It reminded me of the tv series in its lighthearted approach to spy movies, and I think that, as is often the case, its wise to play it light rather than grittydarksuperserious because this is just not the era where you can sell that (No offense to the Bourne whatever-the-hell-it-is Mr. Renner).

Nothing more sinister than a guy staring at a panel covered
in wires and lights. RED LIGHTS!
It's been interesting to see how this series has evolved over the years, because each movie is very different from all the others. When the first Mission Impossible movie was released in 1996, it was a serious minded spy movie with a serpentine plot-line. MI: 2, which I talked about in a previous post, was a completely over the top action movie with motorcycle jousting (see here, no I'm serious). MI: 3 was a compromise somewhere between those two, heavy on action but a little bit more generous with plot and sense than MI: 2. With this latest installment I saw what I would say is a fourth type of movie, a campy spy action movie that is trying to provide action that's enjoyable to watch. Any drama present aside, I would describe this as a feel good action movie even with people getting killed and stuff blowing up. The movie and characters barely ever break stride for these things, and that tells us as the audience that really, we shouldn't either. The point is to enjoy a silly, retro-style spy mission, brought into the modern day. Kudos to the guys who decided to do that, I am 100% on board for it.

*Mortal Kombat theme in background*
I was glad to see that generally, critics liked the movie too (really liked it, it has a 93% on RT I was surprised). I could really see a lot of people having a "this is just SILLY" reaction to the movie, and I'm glad they overcame that impulse. Against its hefty 145 million dollar budget this movie still killed, netting a total of 694 million world-wide. Way to go guys, I would totally watch another MI movie that was like this. There are just too few movies that can allow themselves to be light without being downright stupid. It doesn't always have to be a tossup between Saving Private Ryan and Meet the Spartans guys, there is a middle ground.

One last note, I love how throughout this franchise they get away with calling the agency IMF and avoid ever uttering the words "Impossible Mission Force". Join me on Thursday, where maybe I'll have a new movie if I can get out of my house, hopefully. Some day.

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