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Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol

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It is very hard to believe Tom Cruise is almost fifty years old and embarking on his 4th decade of movie making. For someone who grew up with Cruise’s early work like Taps, The Outsiders, Risky Business, All the Right Moves, and Top Gun, I find myself in denial that Tom Cruise and I have gotten so old. Of course, Mr. Cruise carries his years much better than I do, even if I am a few years younger. Oh well.

What is even stranger is that Tom Cruise and his character Ethan Hunt may be Hollywood’s top active cinematic action stars. With the 007 franchise on life support and the action stars we grew up with settling into their sixties and seventies (Sly, The Governor, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis, etc. - The Expendables not withstanding), and younger stars like Will Smith seemingly giving up the blockbuster action genre. Only Cruise and Jason Statham appears willing to carry the torch for this type of film on a regular basis.

Give Cruise credit. After going a little nuts a few years on the talk show circuit, he has slowly recovered from what easily could have been a career ending walk down Crazy Street. That could not have been easy to do. He has remained patient by not over saturating the theaters and by looking to star in a film niche that is overwhelmed by comic book super heroes.

Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol is an old fashion rock‘em sock’em action flick in the classic fashion of James Bond and – Ethan Hunt. It is not trying to be anything else. It is all high tech and car chases. It is all exotic locals like Budapest, Moscow, Dubai, and Mumbai. It is fist fights, explosions, and bullets. It’s all quite a fun, rollicking, good time. There is very little time to catch your breath from the opening scene to the final curtain. As in all true action flicks, there are a fair share of imagination stretching acts of valor, from a Spiderman-like crawl up a hotel glass façade more than a hundred stories high with a spectacular view over modern day Dubai to driving a car off a ledge into a several story high nose dive. These sort of unbelievable action stunts are the bread and butter of the classic action film and do not distract from the enjoyment of the movie.

Tom Cruise himself has not lost the broad appeal and believability of an action star. He jumped onto a shaky vehicle recently with the flat, but not awful Knight and Day but he has bounced back nicely with the fourth theatrical installment of the Mission Impossible franchise. Cruise has a personal stake in this franchise succeeding because he has served as a producer on all four films. He is also good about surrounding himself with a likeable crew. In this case, Simon Pegg serves as the comic relief and Paula Patton is his butt-kicking cohort. The up and coming Jeremy Renner does a fine job as the agent with a past to round out the team. Michael Nyqvist does seem to fall a bit short on the evil villain scale and could have been fleshed out just a little more but this nit picking.

I thoroughly enjoyed the accelerated action and the spectacular back drops from the various cities. I didn’t look at my watch and time flew by. If you are a fan of this slowly disappearing genre, give Ghost Protocol a chance. Tom Cruise is trying to keep the blocker buster action film alive and he deserves our support. Few movies are more fun than the engine revving action flick and this film holds its own with the previous installments.

There is a fair share of violence but most of it is not overly graphic and I think it is safe for older pre-teens. There is no nudity but there is some of the typical PG-13 language. All in all, this movie is suitable for all but young children. Buy a bucket of popcorn, strap in, and hold on. It is quite the ride.

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