Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol Review
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Director Brad Bird definitely knows a thing or two about action. His films, after all, have featured superheroes, wily villains, and giant robots (as well as a French rat who likes to cook). Considering his action-packed résumé, then, it seems natural for Bird to take the reins of a successful action franchise like Mission: Impossible—until you realize that Bird’s previous films have all been animated. Still, the Oscar winner’s eye for artful action comes shining through in his live-action debut, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

After a failed mission in Budapest leaves an agent dead, the IMF sends a team to break long-lost agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) out of a Russian prison. Their next mission: to break into the Kremlin to keep a dangerous military strategist from getting control of the components needed to detonate a nuclear weapon that could destroy the planet.

Instead of getting what he needs, Hunt just barely gets out alive. The Kremlin is bombed—and Hunt and his team take the blame. As a result, the government decides to shut down the IMF, disavowing its members as rogue agents.

With time ticking down and nowhere else to turn, Hunt and his team must go out on their own to save the world.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush to spice up your holiday season, you’ve come to the right place. Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol is a frenetic blur of armrest-gripping, popcorn-spilling action and thrills—complete with stunning scenery, a solid sense of humor, and enough new-fangled gadgets to give any techie palpitations.

Cruise may be pushing 50, but he obviously isn’t quite ready to settle into his La-Z-Boy, pack on the pounds, and start picking up roles in middle-age dramas. Action films don’t get much more dynamic than Ghost Protocol—and Cruise has no qualms about taking the lead, happily showing the rest of his cast how to scale tall buildings and chase bad guys through sand storms. His acting is as over-the-top as ever—but, fortunately, with the action taking center stage, you’ll hardly notice.

Still, the real star of the show is Simon Pegg, who single-handedly keeps things light and fun (while balancing out Cruise’s melodrama) as Benji Dunn, the lovably bumbling new agent who brings wide-eyed amazement and enthusiasm to every new adventure.

Of course, if you prefer action movies that have some kind of plot, you might eventually find yourself losing interest. After all, Ghost Protocol is about 10 minutes of story mixed into two hours of break-ins, chases, and fight scenes. But Bird handles it all remarkably well—especially considering that it’s his first attempt at live action. And the result is the kind of action-packed eye candy that will please even your pickiest teenagers on family movie night.

Blu-ray Review:
The three-disc Blu-ray release of Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol comes with so many extras that they needed their own separate disc. In fact, it’ll take you about the same amount of time to view the extras as it takes to watch the film itself.

The menu on the special features disc is divided into four main parts. In addition to the trailers, you’ll find eight deleted scenes, complete with optional commentary by Bird, who’s often very honest and open about his various filmmaking hiccups.

For behind-the-scenes footage, you have two different options. Mission: Accepted is a three-part, 48-minute feature that takes a closer look at three scenes in three different locations: part of the chase scene in Prague, the building-scaling scene in Dubai, and the parking garage scene in Vancouver. Here, you’ll see the film through Bird’s eyes—thanks to occasional footage from his iPhone. But, despite some phone footage, the feature has a remarkably professional feel to it—more like a well-made documentary than just another Blu-ray special feature. Once it’s over, you’ll definitely have a whole new respect for Tom Cruise—though it could very well confirm your suspicion that he’s completely insane.

For a more in-depth view of the filmmaking process, there’s Impossible Missions, a 51-minute, 11-part feature with even more behind-the-scenes footage. This time, you’ll see the making of a few scenes, watch the crew transform the film’s locations, take a look at the props, witness the orchestration, and more. It isn’t quite as flashy as Mission: Accepted, but it offers a look at more of the details, showing a little more of the exhaustion, the sacrifice, and even some of the humor involved in making a movie.

Obviously, the special features on this jam-packed disc aren’t the kind that you enjoy in passing. They definitely require a time commitment. If you’ve got the time, though, these extras are definitely worthwhile. I recommend starting with Mission: Accepted, for its fascinating look at the stunts. It’s sure to make you appreciate and enjoy the film all the more.

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