Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol: The ‘Ghost Protocol’ part of the title makes it sound super-cool and exciting, but in reality, it’s just a coded way of saying that the entire Impossible Mission Force (IMF) have been disavowed before they’ve even started proper, and this has come about because of what happens early on.
As the film begins, the IMF team break Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) out of a Russian jail – the reason for his residency being something that will be revealed later on – and they’re after a file containing Russian nuclear launch codes which was being carried by Agent Hanaway (Josh Holloway), who was assassinated in a bodged op, run by Agent Jane Carter (Paula Patton, middle picture). The codes are sought after by someone with the codename ‘Cobalt’ and things then go tits up for the team shortly after when they’re set up to take the fall for blowing up the Kremlin…
This makes their job all the more difficult because the IMF Secretary (Tom Wilkinson) drops the bomb about them all being disavowed by the government and so if they are to attempt to clear their name, they’ll have to do it off the books.
When it came to the original movie, for me, that film was perfect from start to finish. The sequel was mostly a pedestrian affair, while the third was mostly a return to form, especially having a cracking baddie in the form of Philip Seymour Hoffman. This one? Well, a cracking baddie is definitely what this fourth installment is lacking. They’re all faceless Russians who just want to combine nuclear codes with a device that requires them in order to launch a nuclear missile, so a very pedestrian plot.
Also, I don’t like the way it stops being at all serious and is played like a Carry On film, given the inclusion of Simon Pegg in a major role (just what is it that JJ Abrams sees in him that he wants to make him a big Hollywood star?! Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz… – yes. Hollywood blockbusters? Defintely not.) All that said, Jeremy Renner, as Agent Brandt, puts in a bit of a comic aside as well. He is not a comic mastermind.
There’s some great direction used, which gives some tension, but it’s overlong and gets sluggish after we leave the Dubai hotel. There’s also a change in direction for the plot at one point that renders an entire scene completely worthless, around 2/3 of the way in. In fact, it basically peaks, literally, with the Burj Khalifa tower climb and only really engages you for the ‘final fight’, so to speak.
There’s also an uncredited cameo from Ving Rhames as M:I old-hand Luther Strickell, but since he does nothing and *adds* nothing, I can’t see the point in his inclusion. In addition, it does seem very violent for a 12-cert with neck-crackings and bone-twisting on legs, even if some of these are done just off-camera.
Presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the quality of the print is crisp and clear with no problems on the disc. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 37″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
Audio-wise, the film is presented in DTS 7.1 HD Master Audio, for which I have the DTS 5.1 equivalent with my system and it goes without saying that a Mission: Impossible film will kick-ass from the start until the end with gunshots, explosions and everything else.
The extras are as follows:
- Mission Accepted (29:38): Director Brad Bird gives a personal account of how they filmed all of Tom Cruise’s stunts up in the Burj Khalifa tower, and he performed them all himself, as you might expect.
This includes chat from various crew members including stunt co-ordinator David Shultz who was a professional climber for 30 years.
For the second half of this featurette, it moves on to the Vancouver car manufacturing plant where the ‘final fight’ takes place and you will learn more about that scene when you watch the film.
- Impossible Missions (6:13): Brief pieces about the sandstorm and props like the briefcase. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but I’m sure they could’ve gone into a lot more detail.
- Deleted/Alternate Scenes (5:12): With the option of director’s commentary, disappointingly there’s only 3 of them here. I’d put back the second one, but that’s about it. The third could also go back in but it basically repeats the idea of what we’ve already seen.
- Audio description: For those who want that sort of thing.
In fact, as a whole, it’s a very disappointing set of extras. One of the biggest films of the year and barely anything to talk about? I did not expect that. I’d at least have liked to include the IMAX segment shot whilst Cruise went up the tower.
The menu blends in the iconic theme with brief clips of scenes from the film. There are subtitles in English and 4 other languages, and there’s 20 chapters which isn’t great, but it’s better than the mere 12 which most releases, inexplicably, seem to get these days.
Running time: 133 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Cat no: BSP2333
Released: April 30th 2012
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 & DTS 5.1 (English only. DD5.1 for the rest)
Languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Brad Bird
Producers: JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk and Tom Cruise
Screenplay: Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec
Music: Michael Giacchino
Ethan Hunt: Tom Cruise
Jane Carter: Paula Patton
Benji Dunn: Simon Pegg
William Brandt: Jeremy Renner
Kurt Hendricks: Michael Nyqvist
Anatoly Sidorov: Vladimir Mashkov
Wistrom: Samuli Edelmann
Leonid Lisenker: Ivan Shvedoff
Brij Nath: Anil Kapoor
Sabine Moreau: Léa Seydoux
Trevor Hanaway: Josh Holloway
Marek Stefanski: Pavel Kríz
Bogdan: Miraj Grbic
The Fog: Ilia Volok
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.