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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol (Limited Release Date: 12-16-2011)

        Don't you hate it when someone brakes a promise? I sure do. I feel spurned, taken for a fool, used. Nothing hurts worse than being deceived by a friend or family member, but that's not to say that false advertising doesn't smart some as well, and Hollywood is one hell of a guilty party in that regard. Sometimes, they promise heartfelt drama that they cannot deliver; Other times, it's big laughs. But nothing hurts worse than expecting a high-octane action flick, and being handed a lousy, undercooked plot with a couple of fight sequences tacked on. There's only one reason that anyone went to see the likes of Tron: Legacy, 10,000 B.C., or Clash of the Titans: They wanted tinseltown to deliver the goods. Less dumb plot, more dumb explosions. Is that really too much to ask for? Because Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol sure doesn't think it is.

        The plot, if you want to call it that, is a mishmash of just about every action flick story ever put on screen. After botching a mission intended to steal deadly nuclear launch codes from a Russian thug nicknamed Colbalt, the Impossible Missions Force is decommissioned, leaving Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the rest of his squad without an official job title. But nothing can deter for this group of fighters, as they continue on with their plan to stop the evil Russians from destroying the world (Yes, evil Russians bent on world destruction. Heard that one before?), all the while knowing that if any of them are caught, they'll be branded terrorists, and served up on a spit.

        Ghost Protocol is probably one of the easiest movies I've ever had the pleasure of reviewing, because breaking down its strengths and weaknesses is absurdly simple. The dialogue is often stilted, the acting wooden, the plotting incomprehensible more often than not. In many ways, the movie represents some under-whelming story telling and film-making, but none of that really matters. What does is the 80% of the flick's runtime that is dedicated to the absolute most heart-pounding, exhilarating, jaw-dropping action sequences caught on film for years. Director Brad Bird, making his live-action debut after years in the field of animation (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille), is just as good at orchestrating mayhem in this medium as he was in his last. These things are taut, visually dazzling, and suspenseful even when you know the outcome. It's been a long, long time since a movie has gotten raves from me just for its choreographed chaos, but this Mission: Impossible entry probably contains about 9 of this year's 10 best action set-pieces, absolutely laying waste to every single film this Summer that had the audacity to call itself an action movie. This is the be-all, end-all of soulless movie magic, and please don't read that as an insult. You don't go into Mission: Impossible expecting an expertly crafted story arch, or engaging, evolving characters. You come for the action, the gadgets, and the general badass-ery. Ghost Protocol delivers the goods, ten-fold and then some.

Grade: A-

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