The premise: Ethan Hunt (you may remember him from.. well, the last 3 impossible missions) and his team of miscreants are possibly framed for something they didn't do. In a series of clever missions, reconnings, betrayals, spins, twists, mousercising, and jazz hands, they must track down and put a stop to whoever really is the bad guy. Or bad guys, as the case usually is. There's a new dog on the track, though.. but is he friend or foe? Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to find out!
We have Viacom, Paramount, Skynet and Bad Robot presenting.. waitaminnut.. did I say Skynet? That can't be good. I must mean Skydance Productions. Oh yeah! That company that did 'Flyboys' with Jimmy Francs.. or James Franco for the uninitiated. But I thought Skydance went home? Well they did.. for 4 years.. but came back with a line up including 'True Grit' last year, 'Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol' this year, and upcoming 'World War Z' and 'My Mother's Curse' (a WTF?! Seth Rogen, BARBARA STREISAND?? vehicle). ...ooookay..
Well, it looks like J.J. Abrams has put together another ensemble blast for us (or at least, "co-put-together.") Mission (colon) Impossible (colon) Ghost (space) Protocol (period). We will see if the movie provides what the trailer will promise, a non stop(ish), action thrill ride, with twists and turns for the audience and its array of complex characters. Either that, or at the least, a lovely popcorn movie. And save that, at the very least, Tom Cruise will make a bunch of money.
So as we start, we are allowed 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 (i.e. the antagonists of the long lost sequel to Gremlins, Gremlins 3: Gremlins in the Kremlin), and went all gung-ho, jugular at the I.M.F. and disavowed everyone 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 what we see is the back of a limo, the bearer of bad news comes in the form of 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 those?) Oh, and some unfortunate young man completely having his day ruined because he didn't eat his Wheaties and couldn't outrun the massive explosion on foot. Poor fella. It is, however, a nice pace to see another landmark outside of New York City take a hit. I mean, it's never nice seeing any landmark "take a hit", but Hollywood needed to stop picking on NYC, so.. you know.. f*** everyone else.
As we are learning that the entire I.M.F. has been disavowed, we see some mysterious figure (just a blind guess: Cruise) going Darko-mode and walk down the street in his hood-up, hoodie. We also learn that, what I am assuming.. because I love assumptions.. the ENTIRE I.M.F. now consists of: Jane Carter (played by Paula Patton), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg, eff yes!), and Trevor Hanaway (previous J.J. Abrams affiliate, Josh Holloway).. The shot of Trevor is a bit off, though, as he already has the word "DISAVOWED" emblazoned across his Chevy Chase when they show his character's bio. I'm calling it right now, Hanaway is the bad guy. (I said it, and it's too late to take it back.) There was noticeably zero shots of Luther Stickell (played by Ving "B.A.M.F." Rhames) in this scene or the remainder of the trailer that I saw, however, he's been disavowed and re-avowed as many times as Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has, that I'm sure it's of no consequence and he will 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!!!)
The plot unfolds a bit, as we find out on the limo ride, that the ambiguous "they" (the U.S. Government? The President? Margaret Thatcher? Toucan Sam!?) will hang the Kremlin bombing on Ethan and his small team. If convicted, they would be branded terrorists and enemies of both Russia and the United States. (Oh no! No more deep fried butter or borscht!) No doubt, the previous rag tag group of people were his team, and all or some of them were partially or wholly responsible for the actual explosion. 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 we can handle!
There seems to be a tussle that may or may not be related to Ethan escaping, but one thing is for sure, Ethan Hunt will not allow his name to be sullied with the phrase "Globo-Nuclear War".. "Global-Nuclear?" ...well.. Globe-something, Nuclear War. No, sir. The "impossible" here seems to only be that it looks like 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.. (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 sweet suits later, these loose cannons are set on a rampage, fueled with Eminem and Pink's amped up, adrenaline inducing music!
We get two moments in this trailer that play up that "line-pause-explosion" moment most trailers only have one of. The first:
Jane: "What's the play?"
Explosion of wicked beats and rapping segued into quick cuts of cast shots , diamonds, and gun fights! At one point, I think Ethan Hunt falls asleep and needs his Inception-kick, which just lands him in a river that everyone with a machine gun hates for some reason. They do flash what is being credited as 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), Trevor Hanaway chasing Brandt around a rooftop as Brandt leaps for safety and midair, turns while falling, 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 to fist fights, fist fights to running, running to kneeing, kneeing to rolling! Rolling to the "Main Female Antagonist", one more cut Jane (Patton), and then the slow build to the title screen.
kick! kick, punch! Shot, shot! Simon Pegg.. car chase.. car crash.. pause.. music drop, air whooshing noise, hero narrowly escaping death! Whoa!!!!!!! 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-c***s and empties the chamber of the gun of its burdensome bullet)
Brandt: "We all have our secrets, don't we Ethan?"
And BOOM goes the dynamite.
The classic M:I theme goes into subtle effect audibly, as they show a man, who is hiding behind his bruised ego and matching face, being treated to a bucketful of confidence exuded smoothly from a tuxedo clad Ethan. Then, transitioning to what will be THE stunt of the movie, we have Ethan standing atop the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) in Dubai, ready to climb all over it, presumably because he saw the recent Amazing Spider-Man trailer and thought, "Hey, I could do that!" Luckily for the audience, we are treated with an interwoven scene explaining how Ethan Hunt has essentially become Eth-er Parker: Simon Pegg's Benji is giving him 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".. I assume you all know the conflict that I'm referring to. Anyhoo.. "Blue is Glue", and when it turns red.. more rhymes!
Climbing the tower, we get our second and final moment of "line-pause-explosion", some fella (possibly Renner) standing with Jane screams that he's not gonna make it as Ethan hangs one handed.. pause.. "You're not helping," Ethan offers back. Then it is eye candy time: a slow build, high risk, high elevation swing/leap maneuver into an open window.. explosion! Finally, the near full minute crawl to the title screen pays off..
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE GHOST PROTOCOL
This is a pretty electrically charged preview that may or may not fall into the same issues I had with Mission Impossible 2: lots of action, not a good story. That is not to say that I didn't like Part 2, 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 3 being my personal fave.) The first Mission Impossible had some decently established cast (if not well established), but had a lot of skepticism about plot being revamped from television. It still had some proving to do, and I think they accomplished it well. M:I 2 needed only to rely on its budget, even with a decent cast attached, I don't feel it was used to its full potential. Mission Impossible III had all the appeal of a big budget, great plot and stellar cast.. which made it more Mission Difficult to dislike (mission effortless to like?) luckily, it was Mission Impossible and difficult was a walk in the park. I am hoping that Ghost Protocol will be as wide appealing as Part 3 and pull lots of old and newcomers in. Even though most characters (save for Ethan, Luther, and Benji) aren't established, some of the new cast and "new-to-American-audiences cast", will hopefully deliver. Fingers crossed! After all of this hemming and hawing about the past 3 movies, I will definitively say that I can't wait to check this out.
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.