The pReview Re-viewing of..
MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE - Ghost Protocol
(warning: contains profanity)
by Jeff Finck
Release Date: December 21, 2011
The premise: Ethan Hunt (you may remember him from the last three impossible missions) and his team of miscreants (you may not remember them as the last three impossible missions have a tendency to kill people who know Ethan Hunt) are possibly framed for something they didn't do. In a series of unfortunate events, recons, betrayals, REtrayals, spins, twists, Mousercising, and jazz hands, they must track down the real bad guy and put a stop to his bad guy ways. Or bad guys (plural), as the case usually is. There's a new dog on the track in the shape of Jeremy Renner, though.. but is he friend or foe? Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to find out!
Well, it looks like J.J. Abrams has put together another ensemble blast for us (or at least, co-put-together) with Mission (colon) Impossible (hyphen) Ghost (space) Protocol (period). We will see if the movie provides what the trailer promises: A non-stop(ish), action thrill ride, with enough twists and turns for the audience as well as a fine array of complex characters. Either that, or at the least, a nice movie with lots of explosions. And save that, at the very least, Tom Cruise will make a bunch of money.
So as we start, we are avowed the knowledge that, an hour ago (in what I am assuming is current Central Standard time), a bomb blew up the Kremlin. No one knows who did it, but the government-- Nay! The President, himself-- skipped right over the usual suspects (read: Communist gremlins.. the antagonists of the long lost sequel, Gremlins 3: Gremlins in the Kremlin), and went all gung-ho, jugular at the I.M.F. and disavowed them all in what we now know will be called a "Ghost Protocol." By the way, this is the part of the movie that we all get to jump up and say, "Oh man! They said the name of the movie!!!!" In the back of a limo, the bearer of bad news comes from Tom Wilkinson (character as of yet unnamed). The scene is voiced gravelly and partially over by Mr. Wilkinson in what looks like the Kremlin actually "exploding" in a CG "cut scene", straight out of a Final Fantasy "video game" (anyone else out there still remember FMVs?) Oh, it also shows Tom Cruise completely having his day ruined because he couldn't outrun the massive explosion on foot. Silly Tom Cruise, running isn't always the answer. It is, however, a nice pace to see another, different, landmark outside of New York City take a hit. What I mean is, it's never nice seeing any landmark "take a hit", but Hollywood needed to stop picking on NYC, so.. you know.. fuck everyone else.
As we hear about the I.M.F. being disavowed, we also learn that the entire I.M.F. now possibly consists of: Jane Carter (Paula Patton), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), and Trevor Hanaway (previous J.J. Abrams affiliate and Lost fodder, Josh Holloway).. The team dossier shot is a bit of a spoiler, though, as Hanaway already has the word "DISAVOWED" emblazoned across his face hole when no one else does. I'm calling it right now, Hanaway is the bad guy. (I said it, and it's too late to take it back.) There were noticeably zero shots of Luther Stickell (Ving "B.A.M.F." Rhames) in this scene or the remainder of the trailer, however, he's been disavowed and re-avowed more times than these movies have had twists, so I'm sure it's of no consequence and he'll just merrily show up at the right time and win. Because that's what Ving Rhames does: Wins. (Actually, I'm making a second guess right now: They're going to kill his character. Hooray for assumptions!!!)
On the limo ride, we find out that the ambiguous "They" (the U.S. Government? The President? Margaret Thatcher? the Apple Dumpling Gang!?) will hang the Kremlin bombing on Ethan and his small team. If convicted, they will be branded terrorists and enemies of both Russia and the United States. (Oh no! No more deep fried butter! Or deep-fried borscht!) Ethan must decide whether or not to go quietly.. But what would happen if Mr. Hunt assaulted the-no-name-as-of-yet Director guy and Jeremy Renner's character, simply known as Brandt? Well, then we can Impossibly charge into this Mission with all the stealth of a Ghost and all the Protocol of a.. Uhm.. Ghost..
Ethan escapes, but one thing is for sure, Ethan Hunt will not allow his name to be sullied with the phrase "Global Nuclear Terrorist". No, sir. Everyone in the world is out hunting these guys while they hunt the people who really did it.. Who are no doubt also.. Hunting.. Them.. While being hunted.. MY EYES! (The Hunt, becomes the Hunted.. And Hunt..er? ahthankyou) These guys plan on making a show of it, though. A moment of quiet reflection, an armory, and some dapper suits later, these loose cannons are set on a rampage, fueled with Eminem and Pink's amped up, adrenaline inducing music!
Jane asks, "What's the play?" Well, Jane, I'll tell you what the play is: An explosion of wicked beats and rapping segued into quick cuts of cast shots, diamonds, and gun fights. And at one point, I think Ethan Hunt must have fallen asleep because they show him get an Inception-kick that lands him in a river that everyone with a machine gun hates for some reason. They do flash the film's "Main Female Antagonist" (French actress/model, Léa Seydoux) and what looks like either one of the the film's twists (Or dummy twists.. Or super secret reverse dummy twists!), someone chasing Trevor around a rooftop as he leaps for safety and, while falling, turns and manages to time his gun shot with the beat! What skill!
The beat and lyrics continue to bombard with intensity as running leads to jumping, jumping leads to fist fights, fist fights to running, running to kneeing, kneeing to rolling, rolling to hate, hate leading to suffering.. Whoops.. Got off track there. Now we begin our slow build to the title screen. But before that, Tom Cruise must narrowly avoid being smashified by a flying car.. Whoaaaah! Then some smooth, dexterous maneuvers that end with the next possible twist.. The G.M.G.B. line ("Give Me Goose-Bumps" line):
(Brandt pointing a gun at Ethan, dead to rights)
Ethan: "Who are you really, Brandt?"
(Brandt un-cocks and empties the chamber of the gun)
Brandt: "We all have our secrets, don't we Ethan?"
And BOOM goes the dynamite.
The classic M:I theme goes into subtle effect as they transition to what will be THE stunt of the movie: Ethan standing atop the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, ready to climb the balls all over it, presumably because.. Fuck gravity. Simon Pegg's Benji is giving Ethan instructions on how to use his sticky gloves-- A technology that would have helped the Manchu's in China during the Ming dynasty overcome that pesky "Wall" they had so much trouble with.. Am I right?-- Anyway, the gloves are very simple to work: "Blue is glue" and when the light turns red.. more rhymes!
Climbing the tower, Ethan has some issues and Brandt, standing with Jane, screams that Ethan's not gonna make it as he dangles helplessly, one-handed. :pause: "You're not helping," Ethan offers back. Then, fueled by death (the name of my band), it is fully and entirely on as Ethan swings into action and we get a nice death-defying, high risk, high elevation, leap maneuver towards an open window.. Fade to black.
This is a pretty electrically charged preview. I'm am hoping that this one doesn't fall into the same issues I had with Mission:Impossible 2: Lots of Action, No Story, though. That is not to say that I didn't like M:I2-- Because I actually loved all three of these movies-- However, it looks like they may have dropped a lot of the intrigue and mystery of the first and third M:I. (Part III being my personal favorite) The first Mission:Impossible had some decently established actors to sell it, but had a lot of issues with people being skeptical with an adaptation from television. It had some proving to do, is my point, but I think they accomplished it well.
M:I2 needed only rely on its budget and, even with a decent cast attached, I don't feel it used its full potential. Mission:Impossible III, on the other hand, had all the appeal of a big budget film, plus a great plot and stellar cast.. Which made it more Mission:Difficult to dislike (Mission:Effortless to like?) I am hoping that Ghost Protocol will be as wide appealing as Part III and pull lots of old and new fans in. And as tired as I am of sequels and remakes, sometimes I just can't help but be excited over some of them. When this comes out, I'll walk right up, plop my ten dollars down, and then do stealth rolls and wall crawls while humming the M:I theme all the way to my seat.
Mission:Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) poster, trailer, and screen shots, The War of the Worlds (1953) screen shot, Team America: World Police (2004) screen shot, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) screen shot, and Mission:Impossible (1996) screen shots courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Jerry Maguire (1996) screen shot courtesy of TriStar Pictures
The Great Race (1965) screen shot and Mars Attacks! (1996) screen shot courtesy of Warner Bros.
GI: Joe (1983) screen shot courtesy of Hasbro
UHF (1989) screen shot courtesy of Orion Pictures
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1993) screen shot courtesy of CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
Command & Conquer (1995) screen shot courtesy of Electronic Arts
Twisted Metal 2 (1996) screen shot courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment
Alien Resurrection (1997) screen shot courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Armageddon (1998) screen shot courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures
Category 7: The End of the World (2005) screen shot courtesy of von Zerneck/Sertner Films
The Day the Earth Stopped (2008) screen shot courtesy of The Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011) screen shot courtesy of Activision
Daft Punk from Tron: Legacy (2010) screen shot courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Brian Collins Incident (2005) courtesy of Ball State University news report
Ethan Hunt Ghost Protocol action figure (2012) courtesy of Medicom Toy Corp.
All credited images found via Google Image searches and Youtube screen caps