Rumor has it that Tom Cruise “insisted on doing his stunts himself.” Apparently, that includes climbing the world’s tallest building, the 2,722-foot, Burj Khalifa in Dubai. So the realistic-looking action sequence in “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” that makes my heart stop and my palms sweaty is real? As real as Tom Cruise ever is, I suppose.
In this fourth installment of the “Mission Impossible” series, Ethan Hunt and his team seem to thrive on the impossible. This could have something to do with the fact that it is the first live-action film Brad Bird has directed. Known for such classics as Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille:” it appears that Bird specializes in incredible (see what I did there) action sequences, whether live or animated.
The talented IMF team includes computer genius, Benji (Simon Pegg), who just recently passed the field test; Agent Carter (Paula Patton), and the newest member of the team; “intelligence analyst,” Brandt (Jeremy Renner), who just happens to know a thing or two about weapons. They only have each other after the IMF has been disavowed when it accidentally got involved in a terrorist bombing at the Kremlin.
“Next time I get to seduce the rich guy.” – Brandt
This is, by far, my favorite Mission Impossible. In fact, as I re-watched it for our film series, I was reminded of how much of an adrenaline rush “Ghost Protocol” is from the first scene. Hunt is broken out of a Moscow prison, carefully orchestrated, and executed by his team. His performance in the first few minutes is almost like a choreographed dance routine. Cruise may be pushing 50 when this was filmed. However, age looks good on him.
The same goes for the scene near the end where he is fighting the bad guy in an almost “Jettson” era parking garage, with cars being brought up and down a lift. It almost seems as if aging has made more comfortable than ever with his own acting. It is remarkable to watch the highly coordinated team accomplish such incredible feats with awe-inspiring technology, including “a virtual reality illusion is used to fool a guard.”
With no backup and no backup plan, it is up to Ethan and his team to stop an imminent nuclear war. According to Rotten Tomatoes, “You have never seen a mission grittier and more intense than this.” Which, surprisingly gave the film a 93% critics score and a 76% audience score. I do not understand. Even if an action-adventure movie is not your cup of tea, or if hanging off the side of the world’s tallest building with a glove, you have to admit the action sequences, character development, and gorgeous scenery is enough to make you a believer.
Filmed in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Mumbai, India, and Prague, the Czech Republic, among other places, we see their beauty. Even during a sandstorm with Cruise hanging on the side of the world’s tallest building. As The New York Times review stated, “Mr. Cruise’s primary job in the “Mission” series is to embody a not-quite-ordinary man whose powers are at once extraordinary and completely believable…”
At the end of the movie, I realized I had been holding my breath for quite some time. It was good to breathe a sigh of relief when Mr. Cruise was safely on the ground. The following clip is a rather long clip of the stunt, but just in case watching it once was not enough to get your adrenaline pumping. Well, you’re welcome.