For the first 75 minutes or so, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol thumps along, rushing from set piece to set piece so quickly it barely gives the audience time to think. As we crash from a prison escape to a catastrophe at the Kremlin to a vertigo-inspiring sequence in Dubai, there’s little time to think, and the huge leaps in logic that have plagued the franchise from the first film are easily brushed aside.
And then it all falls down.
Somewhere around the 80 minute mark, as the pace slows to actually develop a plot, it becomes clear that nothing really matters. Racing along through the first part of the film, there was little time to develop the characters beyond rough sketches – not a problem at the time because we were so distracted by spectacle. Now, as we have a moment to take stock, it’s painfully apparent that our protagonists are nothing more than ideas and stereotypes.
Almost simeltaneously the holes in the developed-on-the-fly plot begin to rear their heads., and the film becomes a game of Whack-a-Plot-Hole, but we haven’t a mallet to knock them back down. There were a few ridiculous moments that we were carried through early on in the film, but suddenly we’re confronted by the notion that a disgruntled civil servant can hold his own in a series of scraps with an International Super Spy. There’s also an entirely nonsensical reveal involving the movie’s only face-swap that seems to have been held over from an earlirr draft of the script. Not only does it make absolutely no sense within the context its presented, but by the next scene it seems the filmmakers have completely forgotten about it.
All of these factors conspire to pretty much kill the final third of the film. Any engagement and goodwill we had from the earlier section have, by this point, completely abated, and while Cruise, Renner, Pegg and Patton do their very best to charm us through the final scenes, their considerable efforts are wasted. It’s a shame, because they’re all very likeable, and each puts in a solid performance throughout, but to be completely blunt, as we reached the two hour mark, I was hoping they would all be killed so the film would finally end.
That said, the film is far from a disaster, and parts of it, indeed the entire first half are solid, enjoyable and often thrilling action fare. It’s just that when it falls down, it falls hard.
It seems then, that your enjoyment of Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol will come down to how much you like the fireworks, and how easily you can forget the nonsense. In that respect, it’s a rather fitting addition to the franchise.