I had a fair number of questions going into my screening of Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. Would a 50-year-old Tom Cruise still be able to pull off the action scenes? Would my favorite director, Brad Bird, the man behind the best cartoon that everyone ignored (The Iron Giant), be able to effectively helm a live-action blockbuster? And whoa, when did titles start having colons and hyphens? (A pressing question for an EW blogger!)
Perhaps the biggest question on my mind, though, was simple: Will MI:4 be any good?
The answer, I’m happy to report, is… absolutely! And there’s one particular section that had the whole audience clapping: the much advertised Dubai sequence, because much like Mission: Impossible 3‘s Italy-Vatican arc, Ghost Protocol‘s middle act proves to be its most enthralling.
You see, Ghost Protocol — like the other Mission movies — bears a distinct style thanks to its director. Whereas Mission: Impossible boasted Brian De Palma’s brisk cross-cutting and campy spy action, and Mission: Impossible 2 featured John Woo’s slow-mo CG-bombast and even campier plotline, and Mission: Impossible 3 thrilled with J.J. Abrams’ gritty violence and elaborate locations/sets, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol benefits from Brad Bird’s animation-trained eye and fluid camera work throughout giant international sequences.
And nowhere is Bird’s style put to better use than during a hotel-smackdown between the IMF and some very evil baddies. This time around, Tom Cruise and company are attempting to intercept nuclear launch codes at the famous Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and my oh my, that incredible skyscraper looks even glossier and more awe-inspiringly HUGE on an IMAX screen — especially when little ole Ethan Hunt is just barely adhered to its glass with some malfunctioning techno-gloves. Everything involving the exterior of the hotel left me wondering, “How the heck did they get that shot?” and “What crazy person actually did that?!”
Sure, the scenes in Russia and India impressed as well, but everything that took place during this Dubai segment is pure spy-action bliss. After all, what could beat the sight of Tom Cruise (or his well-coiffed stuntman) running vertically down the side of the tallest building in the world and swinging into an open window three floors below? Oh wait, how about a crazy Paula Patton smackdown, in which a woman is thrown thousands of feet out the side of the building, and then Tom Cruise driving blind through a giant sandstorm with only a small tracking device to guide him? The whole sandstorm bit makes you feel like you’ve been zapped into a cinematic video game — and I mean that as a total compliment.
But let me turn this over to you. Have you seen Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol? What did you think? Were you as impressed with the Dubai scenes as much as I was? And how does Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt compare to the James Bond and Jason Bournes of the cinematic spy-world?