Protocol brings thrills, taxes suspension of disbelief

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From the fuse lit dynamite to the infamous theme song, viewers feel a chill of anticipation. Maybe it is the video sequences that eventually play out later in the movie or maybe it is that the audience knows this is another JJ Abrams production, but this is just the intro of the movie.

JJ Abrams (Lost and Alias) produced the third Mission Impossible, a good film in itself, and redemptive of the second movie most audiences would like to forget. Tom Cruise fulfills his role as Ethan Hunt yet again. And even though it has been five years since MI:3 and an impressive 15 years since the original, his character is just as impressive as it was in 1996. Abrams takes the film to some atypical locations, and it is rumored that Cruise did many of his own stunts…even one on a building over 100 stories high.

While Ghost Protocol does not have as many twists and turns as the original, the movie keeps viewers guessing until the end. Action-packed, it contains all the common elements of the franchise: expensive cars, glamour, guns and who could forget—the infamous mask maker.

As the U.S. is on the brink of war, after an easy extraction (for Hunt, at least) goes wrong he is faced with a choice about a new mission. They are always seemingly impossible, but this time the government will not only deny knowing the team, they will not be able to provide assistance either. The tagline “No plan. No backup. No choice.” lives up to its name. Hunt accepts the terms of this ‘ghost protocol’ and assembles his less than impressive team. Their mission is to stop a madman from detonating nuclear weapons and thus starting a war between the U.S. and Russia. They agree to the mission and start work with the few weapons they possess. They also have a limited amount of technology, which comes to play several times in the movie.

With great filming, the film explores such places as India, the Kremlin in Moscow and the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building) in Dubai. Occasional humor keeps things from being too heavy, but sometimes reaches the point of silliness. Overall, the storyline maintains itself.

With only a few complaints, the problems hinge on filming location and movie action. Only a reported 2 minutes of the movie actually shows real India, while the rest of the film is shot in North America and simulates the locations.

The team also gets itself in and out of so many precarious situations so quickly that it seems unrealistic, even more so than other overly action-packed films. It seems that almost anything that could goes wrong. The story is not too far gone as the team frequently reminds the audience that they must complete the mission with limited technology.

Joined by a stellar cast (Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Tom Wilkinson and Michael Nyqvist), Cruise and Abrams make a great team and a great movie. The two hours sees Tom Cruise make his way through some amazing feats, crashes and sandstorms. It says something that these events, in contrast to the technology gaffs, all seem fairly realistic, when most movies do not portray them well.

The high quality and huge success of the fourth installment (it had earned $141,186,646 by New Year’s Day) has people buzzing about a possible fifth movie being released in the near future. With it being over 15 years after the original it is unlikely, but then again Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt can do the impossible.