Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol ★★★★½

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Pros – This is a fast moving film. Within the time Mission Impossible conducted a mission in Prague, Ghost Protocol begins in Budapest, breaks Ethan Hunt out of a Moscow Prison, fleshes out the first mission in Budapest and then destroys half of the Kremlin. The ‘Agent Hanway’ opening alone is enormous fun and – as the first film – plays as an exquisitely executed operation that goes wrong. There is no seriousness this time – no Gladiator music or crushing confessions of IMF deception here. Brad Bird plays with gadgets, as we would, with the humour of Simon Pegg returning to add a much lighter tone. Hunt is played as an older man, who’s considered a bit of a legend in IMF. The joy of Mission Impossible is how each film plays after another and the story continues as it seems Ethan’s honeymoon was spoiled by six Serbian killers – paving the way for a solitary life for Hunt and the introduction of Will Brandt (Jeremy Renner). Note, it is Brandt who does ‘the drop’ in Ghost Protocol, not Hunt. The baton is being passed, slowly…

Cons – Luther Stickel is a cameo. This guy was in Langley and Sydney. That deserves a medal – and a key role in every film – unto itself. The villain ‘Cobalt’ (Michael Nykvist) is irredeemably dull. Considering how great Philip Seymour Hoffman was in M:I-3, you’d think they’d have created an equally sinister role. To top it off, the final fight that seems to be set in an enormous car vending-machine. Not only does the fight seem to be too difficult for Ethan Hunt (He’s hardly against an IMF agent here – he’s a slightly over-weight mad man) but the finale manoeuvre, as Hunt drops the car vertically, and barely surviving is nothing compared to the Dubai set-piece. In fact, Hunt doesn’t even kill the villain – Cobalt, inexplicably, kills himself. It peaks in Dubai and never manages to come close to how slick, tense and fun that sequence is for the final hour.

Read my ranking of all five Mission Impossible films here: www.flickeringmyth.com/2015/08/ranking-the-mission-impossible-franchise.html