Movie of the Day

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Desperate to see a film in a theater on New Year’s Day, I resorted to seeing this popcorn flick, as it was at the only theater I knew of that was open today.

I have never seen any of the Mission: Impossible films, although I was somewhat interested in the first one, as I happened to be in Prague during filming. I have also successfully avoided most of Tom Cruise’s film, with the only one I remember watching being one of his first, The Outsiders. The series has probably continued too long, leading to a grammatically awkward title with both a colon and a hyphen. A few weeks ago, I happened to be at Roppongi Hills to see another film when Tom Cruise and company came through to promote the Japan premier. Cruise is incredibly popular in Japan, and he took time to shake hands with as many fans as possible, even as his security was urging him to move on. For some reason all the buzz put the idea of actually seeing the film.

As an action film, this does what it is supposed to. I found myself being somewhat entertained by the action sequences, despite a somewhat silly plot involving a mad professor who wants to create world peace by destroying everyone to reset civilization. The highly publicized scene of Cruise scaling the outside of the The Burj Khalifa Tower is pretty awkwardly written into the script which jumps from Moscow to Dubai, but does create a genuine sense of vertigo and suspense. The chase and battle scenes come one after another, with not much to link them together, but they are are well-filmed and choreographed, pulling even a reluctant viewer like myself in. I did, however, feel a bit sorry for Simon Pegg, who is a great comedic actor, and is here reduced to playing Cruise’s geeky sidekick. Tom Wilkinson shows up for a few minutes to add a bit of much needed class, and Ving Rhames, who was evidently in the first three films, shows up for a few minutes to collect a pay check.

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