Excitement and thrills are two words that are synonymous with the Mission Impossible series and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is no different. Director Brad Bird makes his live action debut with the fourth film in Paramount’s highly successful action series and in doing so, he gives us a the strongest instalment in the series, which also happens to be a non-stop thrill ride full of some the most jaw dropping stunts that we’ve seen, well, ever.
Plot isn’t usually a word that people associate with the Mission: Impossible series and writers Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec don’t do much to change that. Cliche-ridden and dull, the story follows our fearless IMF (Impossible Mission Force) agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise). The gist of it is that Hunt and his teammates (Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg) travel the globe in hopes of preventing a nuclear holocaust. Things don’t go much deeper than that, though there is an interesting twist thrown in near the end. On the whole though, the story isn’t too important and takes a clear backseat to the action, which is really the star of the show.
As an action film, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is perfectly crafted and smartly executed. Yes, the story is crummy but that’s not what the film is going for. Brad Bird makes it very clear that this is a “leave your brain at the door and hold on for the ride of your life” type of film that will literally leave you breathless at certain parts. It injects you with an adrenaline rush from the very first scene and it literally never lets up. Few films are this exciting or exhilarating.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a case study in how to turn a film into a spectacle. It’s big, loud, full of nail-biting intensity and always moving at a breakneck pace. Every set piece provides an unparalleled visceral thrill that will have your heart pumping and as always, the gizmos and gadgets are dazzling. Throw in the gorgeous locales, breathtaking scenes shot in IMAX and strong production design and you have one hell of an action film.
As for performances, for a film of this nature, they’re quite good. Even in his old (somewhat old) age, Cruise shows us that he’s still got it. Charismatic and charming as ever, the movie star is very watchable and steals every scene he’s in. This is a role that he could sleepwalk through and a part he knows all too well. As expected, he aces it, fitting into the shoes of Ethan Hunt very comfortably. He’s a movie star through and through and this movie only reinforces the fact that he’s still just as much of a star as he was in his heyday.
Cruise is supported by a colorful cast of characters that are all brought to life with strong performances. Simon Pegg provides a lot of the comic relief and if you’ve seen any of his previous work, you know that he’s quite competent in that area. Paula Patton is here not only to provide eye candy in the otherwise testosterone fuelled film but she also gives a good performance as Cruise’s right hand woman. Then there’s Jeremy Renner, who plays a CIA analyst that is quite clearly hiding something. He doesn’t have much action to perform but as always, Renner is a strong presence in all of his scenes and often holds his own against heavyweight Cruise.
I mentioned the humor and comic relief above and I must say, it’s very welcome. The added levity brought on not only by Pegg’s character but by the hilarity of some of the team’s failures keeps the film feeling light hearted and fun. It never takes itself too seriously and by infusing humor and laughter into a lot of the scenes, it keeps everything feeling like a good time.
To sum it up, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol brings all the goods, it’s the complete package. Silly story aside, this film is a near perfect piece of entertainment that is engineered with the words “blockbuster” and ”spectacle” in mind. Director Brad Bird and his crew have done a tremendous job and in terms of filmmaking, this is really quite an impressive feat. I don’t want to spoil too much but I promise you, there is one set piece that will leave you breathless. It’s quite possibly one of the best action set pieces I’ve ever seen, which makes sense seeing as Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is one of the best action films I’ve ever seen.
Leave your brain at the door and get ready for a non-stop adrenaline fuelled thrill ride, because that’s exactly what you’re going to get with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
Now for the actual Blu-Ray itself. Truthfully, nothing compares to watching the film in IMAX, but the Blu-Ray does do a pretty good job of trying to replicate that experience. The picture is absolutely perfect, full of fine detail, clarity and sharpness. Every colour looks startling authentic and skin tones are always natural. Wide angle shots of the various locations look especially good and black levels and contrast are both excellent.
The sound is equally as impressive. Placement of sound effects is brilliant and the music is extremely well defined. Accurate directional effects are abundant and engaging surrounds heighten the intensity of every scene. This is an impactful and aggressive mix that like its video counterpart, can easily be used for demo material.
- Mission Accepted — Suiting Up in Prague: In this 18 minute feature, director Brad Bird talks a bit about the production and Cruise speaks about working with Bird as well as performing some of his own stunts. We also hear from various other cast and crew. There is a also a ton of raw footage that was taken during the shoot that gives us a good look at what shooting in Prague was like.
- Mission Accepted — Heating Up in Dubai: Once again, for 18 minutes we are treated to a behind the scenes look at the production, specifically the part that ook place in Dubai. Of course, the majority of this feature focuses on the Burj and how difficult it was to shoot there.
- Mission Accepted — Vancouver Fisticuffs: This 12 minute feature takes us to Vancouver and we get a look at some of the various scenes that were shot there, most notably the finale.
- Impossible Missions — The Russian Prison: A quick 12 minute feature gives us a look at how the scenes inside the Russian prison were shot.
- Impossible Missions — Shooting in IMAX: Running only three minutes, this super quick feature looks at the IMAX format and the challenges of shooting in it.
- Impossible Missions — Art Department: A short look at the importance of the art department.
- Impossible Missions — A Roll of Film: Post-Production Coordinator Robby Stambler talks about the role of dailies and the telecine process.
- Impossible Missions — Life Masks: A look at the stone masks.
- Impossible Missions — Stepping Into the Storm: Focuses on the sandstorm scene.
- Impossible Missions — The Sandstorm: Another short look at how they prepared and shot the sandstorm scene.
- Impossible Missions — Dubai Car Crash: An interesting look at the car crash scene and the challenges it posed.
- Impossible Missions — Lens on the Burj: Another very brief look at the Burj.
- Impossible Missions — Props: A quick look at some of the props from the film.
- Impossible Missions — Composer: A ten minute feature that focuses on Composer Michael Giacchino.
- Deleted Scenes
Hands down this is one of 2012′s best Blu-Rays. It shines in every area and films don’t get much more exciting than Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. It’s a ton of fun to watch and the near perfect audio/video make it even better. Not all of the features are great, as most feel like filler, but there’s still more than enough to keep you busy for a while.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with this one and if you’re looking for some fun and excitement in high definition, go out and pick up Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. You won’t be disappointed.