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Choose to accept this ‘Mission’



Article Published: Jan. 5, 2012 | Modified: Jan. 5, 2012
Choose to accept this ‘Mission’

Tom Cruise stars in 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.'



You know that guy who narrates movie trailers, usually starting with, “In a world, where…?”
Well, imagine him saying this:

“From the director of ‘Ratatouille’ comes an action packed thrill ride in which the world hangs on the brink of nuclear annihilation.”

Juxtaposing Pixar’s charming rat tale with high-octane action-adventure actually isn’t too much of a stretch.

Director and Pixar guru Brad Bird’s credits include family friendly – but adventuresome – favorites like “The Iron Giant” and “The Incredibles,” two exciting, animated features done extraordinarily right.

Bird deftly combines story with thematic intrigue, resulting in fun-packed features rich in atmosphere. It shows in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” one of the most enjoyable entries in the franchise.

In “Ghost Protocol,” Bird offers a modern take on the old-school action movie, where actors perform stunts, rather than a computer-generated image doing it for them, and the altogether impressive action sequences are seamlessly tied together.

While the action on screen demands that viewers stretch their imaginations, the atmosphere is immersive enough for folks to just go with it – even when going with it involves Tom Cruise scaling a skyscraper.

In “Ghost Protocol,” Cruise (“Top Gun”) reprises the role of Ethan Hunt, special agent extraordinaire with the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) agency. Russia’s Kremlin has been bombed, and the perpetrator, Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist, 2009’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”), has pegged it on Hunt and company.

As a result, IMF is officially dissolved, but its secretary (Tom Wilkinson, “Michael Clayton”) offers Hunt the opportunity to clear his name, expose the truth and stop Hendricks, whose ultimate plan is nuclear annihilation.

Determined that humanity has reached the end of its cycle, Hendricks wishes to usher in World War 3, and it’s up to Hunt and his team members – Benji (Simon Pegg, “Shaun of the Dead”), Jane (Paula Patton, “Precious”) and Brandt (Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker”) – to save the world.

Along the way, they must contend with an enemy assassin (Lea Seydoux, “Inglourious Basterds”), infiltrate a shady meeting in a Dubai skyscraper, pursue their query through a monstrous sandstorm and, basically, move from action set piece to action set piece.

And boy do they work. Seeing actual stunt work – apparently, even Cruise did some of his own – raises the stakes and actually invests the viewer in the on-screen action. A brutal fistfight in a mechanized Mumbai parking garage is wince-inducing, gripping and fresh, all rolled into one fist-crunching package.

Making it fun is the trick, and Bird excels at this, including plenty of humorous asides – mostly from Pegg’s nerdy tech whiz character. But it’s the way Bird infuses an ambient lightheartedness that makes “Ghost Protocol” so enjoyable.

The film never takes itself too seriously, despite the fact that, as the title suggests, we’re watching a mission that’s seemingly impossible. It’s a fairly simple plot, one that’s been done time and time again – Nyqvist’s villain isn’t anything new, either, kind of like a second-rate member of the 007 rogues’ gallery – but Bird makes it fun.

His mission, should he choose to accept it, is to keep up the good work.

“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.


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