NOW PLAYING: ‘Ghost Protocol’ is impossibly good entry in action series | CraigDailyPress.com
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NOW PLAYING: ‘Ghost Protocol’ is impossibly good entry in action series

Impossible Missions Force Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) stares down colleague William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) while team members Jane Carter and Benji Dunn (Paula Patton, Simon Pegg) look on in “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.” The film is the fourth in the series about the elite squad that handles potentially dangerous worldwide situations, this time taking on the prospect of nuclear war.
paramount pictures/courtesy photo

“Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol”

3 out of 4 stars

133 minutes

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg.

Now playing at West Theatre in Craig and at Steamboat Springs’ Metropolitan Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas





Impossible Missions Force Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) stares down colleague William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) while team members Jane Carter and Benji Dunn (Paula Patton, Simon Pegg) look on in “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.” The film is the fourth in the series about the elite squad that handles potentially dangerous worldwide situations, this time taking on the prospect of nuclear war.
paramount pictures/courtesy photo

“Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol”

3 out of 4 stars

133 minutes



Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg.

Now playing at West Theatre in Craig and at Steamboat Springs’ Metropolitan Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas



If there’s a match being lit with the flame passed along to a lengthy fuse, it can only mean one thing: dum-dum-dum-da-da-da-dum-dum-dum-da-da-da-dum …

In case you couldn’t interpret a musical interlude spelled out in words, I’m talking about “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.”

In his dealings as an agent for the Impossible Missions Force, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) can’t stay out of trouble for long.

After being rescued from a Russian prison, there’s no time to rest, with his newest job to work with fellow Agents Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) to retrieve top secret files hidden within the Kremlin in Moscow.

What should be an in-and-out chore for Ethan hits a snag when he is caught red-handed, barely escaping as the entire building is destroyed, killing hundreds in what the Russians believe is an act of American aggression. The poor turn of events leads to “Ghost Protocol,” a presidential order to eliminate IMF entirely, in addition to all the people involved with it.

With a hunch as to whom has set him up, Ethan gathers his team — plus an agency analyst (Jeremy Renner) who has managed to go unscathed — to track down a madman (Michael Nyqvist) who has taken on nuclear devices and plans to launch them the first chance he gets.

Their mission, should they choose to accept it, is to do nothing short of save the world from annihilation.

Coming back to the role he’s played off and on for the last 15 years, Cruise is better than he’s ever been as Ethan Hunt.

He may be older, but taking on the charge of scaling the side of the tallest building in the world — and then running back down the same path minutes later with a fire hose his only lifeline — is small potatoes for the experienced master of seemingly unfeasible physical challenges.

Renner has never given the vibe of being a typical action hero, at first appearing like a total office nerd as William Brandt, but he can hold his own with no less force than his comrade.

Women haven’t fared too well in the “Mission: Impossible” movies, but Patton is the first actress to really be on the same level as the menfolk of the series, neither a flailing rookie agent, a romantic interest nor a damsel in distress.

Hard-fighting Jane is better than any of the women to have been featured yet in the series, as best seen when she throws down the gauntlet for a catfight with a deadly saboteuse (Léa Seydoux).

Pegg is good fun as always as newly instated field agent Benji, who should probably stick to his old job as a computer specialist. At least he’s managed to stay on in the ever-rotating roster of stars who show up in these movies only to meet an untimely end, with the British comic the only actor besides Cruise to return as a major character.

Note, I said “major character.”

You can’t have decent heroes without someone to go up against who means business, and Nyqvist has just what it takes as Swedish-born political tactician Kurt Hendricks, code-named Cobalt. How evil can you get beyond a guy who thinks the swiftest path to world peace is to bombard the world’s nations equally with nukes and let the chips fall where they may?

You just can’t beat plots involving the Russians and world domination, and that kind of Cold War throwback is what drives this fourth “M:I” film with a fever pitch equal to the 1960s TV show.

Old and new combine in this installment, with IMF technology looking more and more like the average iPad or laptop with a few modifications.

Past movies have brought us rubber masks, voice modulators and incendiary chewing gum, and the innovations don’t stop here, with gadgets like a mobile video projection screen and magnet gloves — blue means glue, red means dead.

Just as surely as our agents get plenty of passport stamps going from Budapest to Dubai to Mumbai in their current mission, the changing of hands in directorial responsibilities has been constant in the series, and it’s staggering to think we went this long without such an inspired guy in the director’s chair.

Brian De Palma, John Woo and J.J. Abrams each brought something special to Ethan Hunt and friends, but the recurrent issue in each “M:I” film has been a lag in time usage.

Oddly enough, that isn’t a problem for the longest movie yet with Brad Bird running things. With a background in animation — “The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille” — Bird knows you can’t let an audience get bored.

Sure, there are a few lulls here and there, but he still crafts the best movie yet and brings out the underlying humor to accompany the jolts of excitement that come from the most well-executed stunts of the year.

If there’s any misstep on Bird’s part, it’s a montage at the onset that serves as a spoiler for the entire movie by showing clips of scenes to come.

Where’s the sense in that?

Showing that obsolete items like pay phones can still serve a purpose for debriefings followed by a smoldering self-destruction, “Ghost Protocol” is “Mission: Impossible” as it was meant to be: slick, smart and unforgettable.

Just try getting the bongos and horns of Lalo Schifrin’s original jazzy score out of your head after the first few moments.

But, don’t start humming while you’re in the audience unless you want a popcorn bucket dumped over your head.

Now playing at West Theatre in Craig and at Steamboat Springs’ Metropolitan Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.


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