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Review: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Since J.J. Abrams took the reins of the Mission: Impossible franchise, there has been a sense of fun and exhilaration unmatched by other action series. The tone for the films prior to the 2006 release was an evolving one: Mission: Impossible played it dark and had very little room for laughs of any kind, the sequel dialed back the seriousness, but not enough to translate to a good time. Placing Abrams in the director's chair was a good start to revitalizing the series and once it was announced the Pixar's Brad Bird would helm the fourth film, anticipation went sky-high.

Ghost Protocol opens with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) breaking out of a Russian prison to the tune of Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head”. From the opening on, the audience knows it is in the hands of a director who can compose action sequences cleanly and competently.

Newly named field agent Benji (Simon Pegg, one of two IMF holdovers from MI: 3) and Jane Carter (Paula Patton) await Hunt outside the complex. An extremist with nuclear arms is intent on starting the world anew and Hunt has the inside track on catching him. The only problem? To the world it appears that Hunt, acting on behalf of the IMF, just blew up the Kremlin.

With the IMF shut down and the Secretary murdered, Hunt and his new team must act alone to clear their organization's name. With Jane, Benji and the reluctant William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), Hunt must save the world one more time.

First and foremost, if possible, the Burj Khalifa sequence must be seen in IMAX format. The scene is a testament to the wonders of movie wizardry and what happens when a truly talented director is behind the camera. That Cruise was just as game to film climbing the world's largest tower himself adds to the visceral thrill of it all. Those who suffer from vertigo may just be best to close their eyes.

The hype reached fever pitched when trailers were released for Ghost Protocol and fortunately the finished product more than satisfies what the hype promised. The fourth installation of the Mission: Impossible franchise soars to new heights as director Brad Bird infuses the film with a spectacle that can usually only be found in animated features. If a season full of Oscar-bait leaves you a little bored, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol will gladly clear the doldrums.

***1/2 out of ****

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