Trying to escape his captors, Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt slides down a wire and hits the top of a moving truck.
He flies off the truck and lands hard on a cobblestone street, rolls to the curb, and sits up. Free from his bonds, uncut, unbruised and unfettered, a picture-perfect Cruise, hair dangling slightly over one eye, sits still and ready to spring to the next action sequence.
Reality. Cruise quit acting years ago. He now either poses or overacts. Mostly, he overacts. A long stare at another character across the room burns with the intensity of a hemorrhoid-producing event. Criticism aside, Cruise is also perfect for the fourth — is it four already? — film in the series. He’s a natural comedian and lets his hair down a bit in the funniest, and most fun film of the bunch.
All the usuals are in the plot. You have the impossible mission, a villain threatening world peace and lots of action in special effects sequences that cost boatloads of money. The characters go globe hopping. There are car chases, foot chases, bullets fly, bombs blast and even a piece of the Kremlin gets blown up.
Ghost Protocol is a blast from the opening jail break to the non-surprising ending. Humor is a must when the suspension of disbelief is required and much suspension is required here.
The most fun and the most suspension of disbelief comes when new cast members Paula Patton (Deja Vu) and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) join Cruise and comedian Simon Pegg in a dizzying sequence of stunts on the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. They are spectacular and by themselves almost worth the price of admission.
A huge part of why Ghost Protocol may be the best M.I. of the four comes from having Brad Bird at the helm. An animator — Ratatouille, The Incredibles, The Iron Giant — directing a big-budget action movie? It’s unheard of. Yet Bird’s first effort at live action is a blast and much more fun and original than what the series of the other three directors Brian DePalma, John Woo and J.J. Abrams put together.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, violence. It opens today at Regal’s Columbia Center 8, at the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.