Thursday, December 15, 2011

Movie Review: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Ethan Hunt is as awesome as ever! I got to watch the premiere of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and was blown away by the amazing stunts. A lot of scenes were literally and figuratively breathtaking! The adrenalin was consistent all throughout this movie.

Admittedly, I can't remember much about the past MI films except that scene where Tom Cruise had to prevent himself from falling down and touching an alarm-sensitive floor. Now, I'm itching to find our old DVD copies of the first three films and have an MI-watching marathon :p

In this latest sequel, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) was broken out of a Moscow prison by fellow agents to once again be asked to take on another assignment. Things go awry and he ends up being blamed for the terrorist bombing of the Kremlin. As a result, he and the rest of the agency are disavowed when the President initiates "Ghost Protocol".

With very limited resources and no backup, Ethan tries to find a way to clear the IMF's name and prevent another attack. As further complication, he is given no choice but to continue on the mission with three other fellow fugitives with vague personal motives.

Tom Cruise is joined in this movie by an exceptional international cast. Paula Patton plays Jane Carter, a very capable field agent who can be as tough as the guys. She not only wants to finish the mission but to exact revenge on the assassin who killed someone she loved. Her fight scenes are something to look forward to. She's lovely, but can be deadly.

Returning from MI3 is Simon Pegg who plays techie-guy Benji Dunn. This time, he has graduated to field agent and applies his brand of humor to several of the scenes. He's the one who provides the comic relief in between the very intense action-packed sequences.

Agent Willian Brandt is played by Jeremy Renner, an analyst who's smart as a whip but could also hold his own out in the field. He's a reluctant member of the team who's forced to join the group due to unavoidable circumstances. Slowly, more of his character is revealed and audiences will get to find out what makes this seemingly staid desk guy tick. Check out another post in my other blog where Renner talks about being in the movie. It's a very revealing Q&A which makes it a nice read.

I like these four main characters. They all play significant roles that collectively make MI4 really worth watching. As Tom Cruise was quoted to say in the film's production note, "Each member is a unique piece creating a wonderful dynamic for the team.” And that is very true.

Of course, a movie also needs supporting characters and the other cast members, who came from Russia, India, Sweden, and France, also contributed much to the story's impact.

I watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in SM MOA's IMAX theater. It's not in 3D but that is fine. You don't need 3D glasses to be awed at the magnitude of what the filmmakers and actors have accomplished.

What I appreciate here is the story angle that things don't always go exactly as planned. Gecko gloves could fail, a mask making machine may break down, and a camera contact lens might be detected by the enemy but the agents will still find a way to do what they set out to do using their intuition and training in smart and inventive ways even to the extent of stretching their physical limits. Those are what make this spy movie cool and that's part of the MI4 magic.

The scenes were shot in a variety of places including Moscow, Prague, Dubai, Mumbai, and Vancouver. But the highlight of this movie, and I think many would agree, would have to be those that happened in Dubai such as Tom Cruise's stunts climbing up the glass walls of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, and of chasing someone through a violent sandstorm. If you want to find out more about how they did the climbing stunts, read the movie's production notes here. Go to page 8.

At the end of the movie, all I could think of what that Tom Cruise, at age 49, still has what it takes to make female members of the audience gasp and sigh :) He remains the charismatic Ethan Hunt we saw in 1996 during the first MI film and, with his kind of boundless energy, enthusiasm, and fearlessness about doing his own stunts, I think and hope we'd see a lot of him for many years more.

Don't fail to catch Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in Philippine theaters starting December 15 (one week earlier than the US opening!). According to my contacts at Solar Movies and Events, it will still be shown in SM IMAX theaters during the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) season from Dec. 25, 2011 to Jan. 7, 2012 and will resume screening in regular theaters by January 8.

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