“Ghost Protocol” is the best “Mission: Impossible” yet

By Glenn Battishill

“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” is the fourth installment of the long-running spy franchise and is easily the best one since the original.

The first “Mission: Impossible” was a tense, smart espionage thriller that followed IMF (Impossible Mission Force) agent Ethan Hunt, played by a young and sane Tom Cruise. The first movie, directed by Brian De Palma, blew audience away with its plot twists and well-done tension.

The second movie, directed by action maestro John Woo, focused more on action rather than tension and story, and as a result many fans consider it just a dumb series of explosions, chases and gunfights.

The third film, directed by professional lens flare expert JJ Abrams, balanced action and storytelling for an extremely good entry into the series.

“Ghost Protocol” is directed by Pixar visionary Brad Bird (The Incredibles) and is easily the best looking of the three, blending the action, suspense, story telling and humor of the previous films into an excellent thrill ride.

The plot once again rests on Cruise’s Ethan Hunt after a bombing at the Russian embassy almost pushes the world to the brink of war (of course). Hunt has himself a team of newcomers: Agent Carter, played by Paula Patton, Agent Brandt, played by rising star Jeremy Renner, and reprising his role as technology guru turned full agent is Simon Pegg’s Benji.

The cast works really well together, the scenes with Pegg and Renner particularly. The actors filling out the supporting cast, Tom Wilkinson especially, also deserve recognition.

This installment is definitely the best paced in the series perfectly balancing the action scenes and the suspense. The action in the movie is the cleanest and prettiest that it’s ever been, abandoning the uber-stylized violence of “MI2” and the franticness of “MI3” for much nicer looking action scenes.

Originally, this was supposed to be Tom Cruise’s last “Mission: Impossible” and he would then be replaced by Jeremy Renner as the series front-runner. But allegedly, Cruise enjoyed himself so much that he decided he’d stay on for further installments. Many people consider Cruise to be past his prime as an actor but I actually think he did very well in this movie and he impressively performed a majority of his own stunts.

My favorite part of this movie has to be Pegg. He broke onto the world stage in 2004 when he played the lead in “Shaun of the Dead” and has since become a household name. His sharp wit and brilliant timing relieves some of the tension in moments, and lets the audience catch their breath.

Any attempts to find faults with this movie are useless because it’s just too much fun.

Fans of the “Mission: Impossible” series will love all of the references to the previous movies but newcomers will still enjoy it, even though they may not know the history.

My girlfriend, who had never seen any of the previous movies, really enjoyed “Ghost Protocol” for the action, humor and pure spectacle of it.