Love him or hate him there's no doubt that Tom Cruise is a great actor, and picks movies that rarely disappoint. In fact, when people write him off as a terrible actor, ask them (or yourself perhaps) what was the last movie watched with him starring. I'll bet those movies don't include those from the last five years - Lions for Lambs, Valkyrie, Knight and Day or this film, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - all fantastic films. It's fair to say that this latest Tom Cruise film is a complete blast, so here goes...
Ethan Hunt and his team are racing against time to track down a dangerous terrorist named Hendricks, who has gained access to Russian nuclear launch codes and is planning a strike on the United States. An attempt by the team to stop him at the Kremlin ends in a disaster, with an explosion causing severe destruction to the Kremlin and the IMF being implicated in the bombing, forcing the President to invoke Ghost Protocol, under which the IMF is disavowed, and will be offered no help or backup in any form. Undaunted, Ethan and his team chase Hendricks around the globe to stop a disaster.
Like him or not there is no denying that Tom Cruise owns this franchise and he is, yet again, superb as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. But he doesn't carry the film alone with several other great characters. Simon Pegg is great as Benji Dunn and his comedic background is used superbly in this film. Sadly Ving Rhames apparently couldn't come to terms with the filmmakers over his salary so hasn't returned in this film, but Jeremy Renner is fantastic as William Branch while Paula Patton is equally impressive as Jane Carter.
Being an international spy thriller this film takes us all around the globe with sequences in Budapest, Dubai, Moscow, and Mumbai however it's the action sequences in these locations that simply astounds from Tom Cruise doing his own stunt work on the exterior of the world tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, to a stunning car chase and action sequence in a desert storm, to sneaking into the Kremlin and so much more that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Unfortunately we have two very minor niggles with the video on this release - one artistic and one technical. From the artistic side it was disappointing to see that despite many scenes being filmed in IMAX format (a much taller image), unlike Christopher Nolan's second Batman film The Dark Knight, this disc retains a 2.40:1 aspect ratio throughout so some of the "spectacle" of the opened up, and stunning cinematography, is lost. This is certainly apparent in the Dubai scenes, in and around the Burj Khalifa with the helicopter flyover and brilliant stunt work.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is presented on Blu-Ray with a gorgeous, reference-quality Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track that will blow your socks off. No, it's not just loud, but the sound design in this film is absolutely top- notch with aggressive use of surround sound channels, great sound prioritization and clear dialogue at all times.
One thing I've always loved in movies, but as a music generally, is that Russian styled operatic music. You know, like that used extensively in The Hunt for Red October and other movies - it is played in some of the Kremlin sequence in this film and just sounds so magical. That's not saying other music in the film isn't impressive either - the classic Mission Impossible theme is used as well and composer Michael Giacchino hits all the right notes and tones when required.
There are a few extras on the Blu-Ray release of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol which are of very good quality, but ultimately given the size of this film (budget, box office, and scope) one can't help feel a bit disappointed with what's on offer. Furthermore the Australian release contains only some of the extras found on the American disc. Upon starting this disc a couple of trailers will stream from the internet, annoying but skippable.
Mission Accepted (29:37/HD): This featurette contains two parts "Heating up in Dubai" (17:36) and "Vancouver Fisticuffs" (12:01). "Heating up in Dubai" starts up annoyingly as an advertisement of Brad Bird's love of Apple, but soon turns into one of the most fascinating looks at one of the best action sequences put onto film - that being the sequence shot on the worlds tallest building - the Burj Khalifa. The second segment "Vancouver Fisticuffs" looks at the fight sequence that takes place in the circular car park in the film.
Impossible Missions (6:13/HD): This section contains two further segments "Sandstorm" (3:06) and "Props" (3:07). The first segment "Sandstorm" looks at the action sequence which takes place during a massive sandstorm in Dubai and cuts between on-set/location footage and finished film which is a great way to see how a films look can be altered in post-production. The "Props" segment is a brief look at the prop work that goes into a film, and in this case focuses on a metal, and often not-so-metal, briefcase.
Review By: Dave Warner