Movie review: “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”


Partner and I trundled off to the Lincoln Cinemaworld yesterday to see the new Mission: Impossible movie.  Normally I do not rush right out to see Tom Cruise movies; his personal life creeps me out, and I’m always afraid that Scientology is suddenly going to erupt out of his head and kill everyone in the vicinity.  But the previews looked entertaining, so –

Well, it’s a lot of fun, actually.  It never slows down for a moment.  There really aren’t any extraneous scenes; everything is plot-driven, and I never had any trouble figuring out what was happening, even when people were wrestling in the dark or chasing one another through a blinding sandstorm.

Partner pointed out that Tom (who’s also listed as producer) really doesn’t get mixed up with mediocre projects.  Tom takes care of his own image and products pretty scrupulously (with a few memorable clunkers thrown in; remember “Vanilla Sky”?)  The movie is beautifully directed by Brad Bird, who has mostly done animated films up to now, and who brings a beautiful floating quality to the cinematography.  The acting – well, Tom is mostly doing stunt work in this one.  His acting here appears to be mostly based on Mark Harmon’s character in “NCIS,” who registers most of his emotions by squinting cryptically off to one side of the camera.  (Harmon usually purses his lips as he does this; Cruise parts his lips in a sort of incredulous smile.  At least it’s different.)  Simon Pegg, of whom I am very fond, plays Comedy Relief; he overdoes it a little, but in a movie with this much going on, I suppose you need a maximum dose of everythingJeremy Renner, whom you will recall from “The Hurt Locker” and “The Town,” with his off-kilter good looks and nice dramatic intensity (and massively developed forearms, which I assume he built up while playing Hawkeye in the upcoming “Avengers” movie), adds most of the dramatic interest.  And Tom Wilkinson, of whom I am very fond, has a (sadly) brief role.

The movie made me nostalgic.  It reminded me of staying up late when I was a kid to watch the original “Mission: Impossible” on TV, with Peter Graves and Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.  It had a lot of the same improbable gimmicks: the clocks ticking down to zero while our heroes are trying to rewire the bomb, the disguises, the unheard-of gadgetry, the elaborate deceptions foiled just because someone arrives at the hotel ten minutes earlier than planned.  There’s a James Bond element too: the international espionage thing, the breathless scampering around the world (Budapest! Moscow! Dubai! Mumbai!).

And there’s a joke running through this movie that I sort of enjoyed: the equipment keeps breaking down.  The magical mask-making machine short-circuits; the communications network drops their calls; even the thing that’s supposed to self-destruct in five seconds needs a bop on the head from Tom.

The theater wasn’t very full yesterday: apparently everyone was watching that new exorcism thing.  But “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” is a romp, and a perfectly acceptable way to spend the afternoon. 

(Note: as the movie ended, we heard a woman behind us sobbing.  My goodness!  Some people take their movies so seriously!)


Don’t worry, Movie Lady. Tom will be back in another Mission Impossible movie.



guarantee it.

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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