It’s nice to see director Brad Bird inject a new sense of excitement and novelty in to the “Mission Impossible” movie series, as it now embraces its episodic origins to completely reboot the epic story of Ethan Hunt. After the pretty good third outing, “Ghost Protocol” sports an entirely different atmosphere, where the team from the IMF are still out and lurking about, while Ethan Hunt has become a pariah, now jailed in a Russian prison. After Simon Pegg’s character Benji stages a caper to free Ethan from prison, Ethan discovers that the world must be in dire trouble if he’s being turned to for help.
Paula Patton is a welcome inclusion to the “Mission Impossible” lore as Jane Carter, offering a bona fide unique strength to the cast that gives the film a welcome punch. She turns to Ethan to help her solve the murder of her husband and partner, and figure out how he was able to be thwarted after a seemingly spotless record of successful missions. Patton definitely holds her own against star Cruise, playing the vengeful agent who operates on shades of grey and has difficulty separating her personal quarrels with her job. Tom Cruise is back in the skin of Ethan Hunt and does a bang up job reprising the role, giving the character the much needed edge that makes him a force to be reckoned with. Cruise supplies Hunt with something of an underlying layer of sociopathy, which makes him a perfect agent willing to risk life and limb to complete tasks no one else will.
This becomes especially true mid-way when the disbanded IMF agents from the now dissolved IMF have to hack in to a server high above them. Filled with no options around the high rise they’re in, Ethan scales the side of the massive skyscraper with magnetic gloves and speedy thinking. Bird films the sequence brilliantly prompting a surefire vertigo from the moment Hunt climbs out on to the side of the building. Speaking as a grade A acrophobe, the sequence is both exciting and absolutely terrifying. Hunt finds himself in new stomping grounds when he steps out of prison and is shell shocked when he and his fellow agents are blamed when the Kremlin is blown up. This prompts he and group to go on the lam with new agent William Brandt in tow, who also has a score to settle with local terrorists when they intend to incite a new world war by launching nuclear war heads.
Renner is an excellent addition to the group, adding a more military presence, and working as a more stable voice to Hunt’s wily actions, and often off the wall plans. Simon Pegg is also back and a welcome return to normalcy, playing the hacker and computer expert Benji, a man hopelessly out of his element, who aspires to be taken seriously as an agent. “Ghost Protocol” keeps the cast tight and small and the stakes very high, staging some remarkable capers that keep our characters always on the verge of being murdered at any moments. The writers are never bereft of providing audiences with memorable moments of tension either, staging a wonderful double meeting in a hotel room, and pretty unique break in involving a digital corridor. “Ghost Protocol” is a fantastic action film that brings a welcome restart to the “Mission Impossible” movie series. It’s exciting to see Ethan Hunt back in the act, and bringing along a slew of really likable heroes with him in the process.