“The President has invoked Ghost Protocol. We’re shut down. No satellite, safe house, support, or extraction.”Ethan Hunt
Although I was always aware of them, the Mission: Impossible films largely passed me by. Ghost Protocol marked a shift towards the globe-trotting Bond model, although even when wearing black tie Tom Cruise steers Hunt away from slickly suave. Helming the production, Brad Bird brings breathtakingly audacious action sequences that feel at times like a live-action take on his work in The Incredibles, further enhanced by Cruise’s commitment to performing his own stunts (despite approaching 50), allowing for astonishing close-up action that few big budget films can rival. It seems petty to fault the serviceable but straightforward plot when really it exists only to justify those big set pieces. The film’s chief flaw is its front-loaded structure: after blowing up the Kremlin and scaling the Burj Khalifa, there is no room for escalation, leaving the final act in Mumbai underwhelming. Nevertheless, by that point there is enough residual energy to carry the audience comfortably through to the credits.