‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ the Best Action Movie of 2011

Never underestimate a movie star. Tom Cruise has been counted out by many ever since his mini-meltdown tour of Oprah and The Today Show a few years ago. The media kerfuffle didn’t slow Cruise down for a moment as he continued turning out killer movies like 2010’s terribly underrated “Knight and Day” with Cameron Diaz.

Now Cruise is back in more surefire territory in the sequel “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.” But don’t think for a moment that a return to beloved franchise has caused Cruise to fall back on what’s expected; “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” amps the action of the first three films into a frenzy of awesome stunts, cool explosions, cooler car chases and the kind of tension you only get from the best action movies.

Prison Break

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is a Russian prison biding his time, gathering intel and waiting patiently for the American intelligence community to bust him out. Ethan’s prison break is the opening action set-piece of “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and it’s a spectacular introduction. Cruise badasses his way through guards and inmates alike to save an informant before a spectacular opening credits sequence unfolds.

From there we are thrust into the world of espionage where cold war tensions have arisen once again, to a slightly lesser degree, and a mad man hopes that a nuclear war can set the reset button on mankind. Michael Nyqvist is the madman and the movie does well to make him more menacing than his salt and pepper hair and stocky build indicate.

Back to the Cold War

From there the Kremlin explodes, the IMF is blamed and disavowed and eventually we arrive in Dubai at the tallest building in the world where Ethan Hunt does his best Spiderman impression. The scenes set on this giant glass hotel are spectacular, especially with the scope and scale of the IMAX screen. While talk of how Cruise did his own stunts in the film is interesting, it doesn’t really matter, the scenes of Cruise clinging to the side of the building are spectacular.

“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” is an adrenalin fueled rush. You will be left exhausted at the end by the suspense, the tense action and Cruise’s cool command and always unique running style which makes him look like a race horse crossed with an Olympic track and field champion.

A Good Team

Rumor has it that Jeremy Renner may someday inherit the ‘Mission Impossible’ film series from Tom Cruise. If that’s true, “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” is a good introduction for him. Renner’s Brandt is quick, creative and looks capable of great violence if given the chance. Renner also has a grittier quality that is a strong opposing trait to Cruise’s effortless cool.

Simon Pegg and Paula Patton are strong supporting players as well. I especially enjoyed Patton struggling with parts of her job that have come far too easily to actresses in previous ‘Mission Impossible’ films. Her attempted seduction of guest star Anil Kapoor wasn’t comically awkward but rather a realistic example of inexperience as a femme fatale; some skills simply can’t be taught.

Brad Bird

Brad Bird was an unlikely choice to direct “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol;” he’s made his reputation with ambitious and bright animated films. Never judge a director by his resume; Bird’s action credentials are carved in stone with his work in “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.”

Not only is “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” the best action movie of 2011 it’s one of the best movies of the year period.

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