Now we're all well past arguing about whether or not these Mission Impossible movies make sense when they're really Tom Cruise, super secret agent movies and not so much team efforts. He just happens to have people running along with him but for the most part they're just support staff trying to nudge things along.
This movie wasn't terrible given how they generally managed to keep things from getting overly melodramatic (and that redundancy was intended) nor bogged down by villainous monologues. We get a lot of decent action and some comic relief from Simon Pegg. So that's good enough, right?
Synopsis: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is the fourth movie in the Mission Impossible movie franchise. This installment was directed by Brad Bird with a screenplay by John Appelbaum and André Nemec.
As usual, the movie begins with another daring mission but one ends successfully with the extraction of supposedly retried Impossible Missions Force agent Ethan Hunt from a prison in Moscow. The next step of their mission involves infiltrating the Kremlin but this ends in disaster as another group gets involved and the blame shifts to Ethan. The President of the United States executes something called "Ghost Protocol" which means the entire IMF is disavowed. The IMF Secretary (Tom Wilkinson) manages to pass alone one final mission to Ethan before all is lost.
Now its up to Ethan and his team of Jane Carter (Paula Patton), tech-turned-field-agent Benjamin Dunn (Simon Pegg) and IMF Analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) to figure out what's really going on and preventing the possible sale of dangerous Russian nuclear launch codes, there's a lot of them to do with limited resources.
What I Liked: Simon Pegg was clearly having fun with this movie and that's a great thing and I can probably say the same of Jeremy Renner. They had great character moments and they helped support the growing team dynamic involved. Paula Patton was kinda just okay and she felt more like a Bond girl on the side rather than a field team leader.
The movie has some surprising moments like how they faked the hallway and some cheesy moments like Tom Cruise dressed up as a Russian general. But on the whole the movie remains pretty entertaining with only minimal Tom Cruise grandstanding (that silly scene climbing a building).
But that one scene with the IMF secretary in the car? Pretty brilliant indeed.
What Could Have Been Better: Saddling Tom Cruise with a lot of new supporting characters meant that the team dynamic didn't feel all that present in the movie from the get-go. Sure,the in-movie narrative pushes the fact that they weren't exactly a full team given they had to extract Ethan but despite the initial challenges you don't quite feel like these are really elite agents of a secret organization trained to work with their fellow agents at the drop f a hat.
And as much as Patton gets a lot of good screen time and some decent fighting movies, she still has a lot of the usual "I'm an agent because I'm pretty sort of moments that feel like a step backwards for her character. And the villains in this are just pretty pale in comparison to past ones. Alas.
TL;DR: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is a solid piece of action-centric entertainment and a lot of good fun at times. The plot could have been stronger and some of the characters better developed but on the whole it's a solid experience. Thus the movie gets 4 weird malfunctions of badly maintained IMF equipment out of a possible 5.