MOVIECUBE – AUGUST 2013 – REMAKE/FRANCHISE/DOCUMENTARY
Lately it’s been getting more and more difficult to see releases of original movies and instead, we are always bombarded with sequels every year. Well actually not just sequels, but third, fourth, fifth or even sixth installments. Frankly, they are tiring—a complete torture. Watching the third Transformers or the fifth Die Hard was an unforgettable experience for me in terms of torture.
However, once in a while a franchise is able to bring its initial appeal back to shine, reboot itself and surprise you. The fourth Mission: Impossible movie achieved that. I admit I’m not a fanatic fan of the franchise and can’t really remember much about the last three, although I do remember that the second one bored the hell out of me. The fourth one, though, is a thoroughly enjoyable movie.
Ethan Hunt infiltrates the Kremlin, with the help of fellow IMF agents Benji Dunn and Jane Carter. He is to retrieve secret archives regarding the identity of a person codenamed ‘Cobalt’, feared to be a central character in a planned nuclear war. However, a bomb detonates in the Kremlin and the Russian federal agents mistakably take Hunt as the perpetrator. Joined by intelligence analyst William Brandt, the team then has to do a covert operation, continuing to track down Cobalt without much help from the IMF.
This marks the first time that director Brad Bird helmed a live-action movie. Being a huge fan of his 2004 Pixar animated movie The Incredibles, I was excited to see what he could bring to the table this time, and it sure doesn’t disappoint. Like The Incredibles, Ghost Protocol is action-packed and fast-paced, not giving a chance for the audience to be bored, but also not displaying a series of mind-numbing explosions that tire you. The story has a steady flow and the exhilarating action sequences actually do their job—they thrill you. There have been too many Hollywood action movies that are over-the-top and boring that you forget how that Hollywood magic is actually supposed to feel. Of course Ethan Hunt has to do some unrealistic death-defying acts, of course the gadgets are products of imagination, but then again what isn’t? What eventually matters is how that imagination and creativity can work with the story, the actors, and everything else and result in a movie that works. Which brings me to the biggest part of the movie—Tom Cruise.
Many can argue about Cruise’s sanity as a person, having had numerous bad publicity for years and is always scrutinized by every eye. But honestly, nobody can deny that this man is a movie star. Probably not the best actor, but without a doubt, one of the biggest movie stars. How many actors have the effortless presence of a leading man like Cruise or Brad Pitt? To even prove this point further, Cruise did the sequence where Hunt climbs and crawls around the outsides of the Burj Kalifa tower—the world’s tallest building—himself. Sure he’s wired with multiple safety cables but seriously, dangling a hundred-story high takes some serious gut. Movie-star gut. See how he does it:
Still not buying it? Then see how he waves to the adoring crowd of fans and paparazzi while doing his job, suspending hundreds of meters high in the air:
Aside from the thrilling action scenes, dashes of comedy are also placed just right. Yes, Simon Pegg is hilarious, but he’s not the only one. His interactions with Jeremy Renner’s Brandt (and also Hunt) provide some of the biggest laughs and even Paula Patton (who was wonderful in the 2009 film Precious) join in the fun. Renner’s character was created to replace Cruise’s if ever he decides to quit the franchise and Ghost Protocol is a fitting introduction to the character, and Renner is perfect for the character. The overall cast fits the movie right, including “imports” such as the Swedish Michael Nyqvist and French Léa Seydoux.
A fifth installment is on its way, with Christopher McQuarrie helming. McQuarrie directed Cruise in Jack Reacher, which didn’t leave much of an impression. It most probably will not be as impressive as this one, as I believe that Brad Bird played a big part to this movie’s success.
Ghost Protocol is a rare treat amidst the unforgiving attack of uninspired, insipid Hollywood action flicks that moviegoers have to endure. It’s one of the most entertaining, most well-made Hollywood blockbuster in recent years.