Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is Cliched but Fun

“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” the fourth installment in this long-running series, arrives in theaters five years after the previous film and fifteen years after the original.

Despite that, this series still has a lot of life to it. With several new cast members and some thrilling action sequences, “Protocol” shows that Ethan Hunt shouldn’t consider retirement anytime soon.

Tom Cruise—whose jumping on Oprah’s coach distracted attention from “MI3”—is back in the lead role. This time, he’s being held captive in a Russian prison after his wife’s death. However, when a secret mission goes awry, a group of fellow secret agents helps Hunt escape and the team go in search of Russian nuclear codes. A bombing at the Kremlin slows down their plan and the team eventually embarks on a rogue mission to clear their name and prevent a nuclear war.

The plot is simple and full of clichés about the potential for a World War III. The story, however, merely exists to set in motion a series of thrilling action sequences. But those sequences more than make up for the major holes in the plot.

But viewers often don’t go into a “Mission Impossible” movie looking for a deep story. They go in looking for a good time and “MI4” provides it.

Whether Hunt is fighting a group of fellow prisoners as he’s trying to escape or when he’s battling gravity while climbing up the glass windows of a skyscraper, this story engages the audience with great effects and neat gadgets. Some obstacles that get into Hunt’s way are a little over the top including a sandstorm that chases him throughout a city but such ridiculousness is simply part of the fun.

Simon Pegg, as computer whiz Benji, provides welcome comic relief to the proceedings and Paula Patton is a solid pick as an agent bent on revenge who helps Hunt escape.

Jeremy Renner also joins the cast as an intelligence analyst named Brandt but his character feels completely out of place. Oftentimes, the script gives him little to do but doubt that Hunt’s far-fetched plans will actually work. He’s particularly aggravating in one scene when he counts down the minutes until a mission is set to begin. Renner is a fine actor but he doesn’t seem to belong in an action blockbuster like this and the script does him few favors.

However, the film works as a fun adventure story. Being a “Mission Impossible” story, it does have its convoluted moments and its overdramatic declarative statements along the way. “We have to do it now and we have to do it together,” Hunt declares in one of the script’s weakest moments.

But if the movie’s goal was to create a fun action movie with Cruise doing a fine job in the lead, I would say “mission accomplished.”

“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” is rated PG-13 for intense action. It has no sexual content.