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A Look Back: ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’


Every day this week we will recap each film of the Mission: Impossible franchise, leading up to our review of “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to sit back and enjoy as we look back at nearly 20 years of the Mission: Impossible film series!

And if you missed any other entries, you can start here:

Day One: Mission: Impossible (1996)

Day Two: Mission: Impossible II (2000)

Day Three: Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Today, we look back at…

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

mission impossible ghost protocol

Which one was this again?

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was the one where they stopped using numbers to title the sequels and instead started using nonsense phrases. After MI:3 righted the ship, they decided to go ahead and make another action movie starring Tom Cruise, which to be fair is a pretty good bet most of the time. This is the one where the IMF is implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, and Ethan Hunt must make his secret agent status even more of a secret as his entire team is disavowed and branded as terrorists. Get it? Ghost Protocol, because he’s becoming super-secret.

The core team this time is composed the Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg (who finally qualified to be a full agent!), Paula Patton, and Jeremy Renner. Renner was pegged as the heir apparent to the franchise assuming that Tom Cruise would hang up his IMF britches. However, Tom Cruise is Xenu’s vessel on Earth so he doesn’t age.

Ghost Protocol has the typical Macguffin in that a rogue Russian has nuclear launch codes. What makes this movie stand apart are the incredibly different and inventive action set pieces that take us around world. From the opening jailbreak from a Russian gulag to the final scene in Mumbai, this movie wasn’t deep, but the action was very entertaining.

Best Scene:

A lot of people will say that the swap meet at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was the best, but for me, the best scene was the infiltration of the Kremlin using the active camouflage screen. It was inventive, had just the right amount of tension, and most importantly, had some comedy attached to it. The Russian jailbreak was also pretty memorable, mostly because it was set to Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”, but to each their own.

Best Line:

Benji Dunn: Why am I Pluto? It’s not even a planet anymore.

William Brandt: Well, Uranus is still available.

Benji Dunn: Ha, it’s funny ‘cuz you said anus.

Actual Best Line:

Leonid Lisenker: Thank God

Wistrom: You can think him in person [shoots Leonid]

Personal Recollection:

At the outset of the movie, I was sort of peeved at how Ethan Hunt’s fiancé just up and vanished as if MI:3 never happened. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how Brandt was implicated in the death of Hunt’s fiancé, which led to his being in prison. This was more plot spillover than any other Mission: Impossible had up to that point. It was honestly a great Brad Bird touch that Ethan ends up seeing her alive at the end of the movie, absolving Brandt of guilt, but I was incredibly impressed that they addressed it. The action scenes were pretty much non-stop. There was a lot less of the typical intrigue a spy movie should have, so this was a lot more of straight up action movie than spy thriller. On that front, there were no disappointments. The prison break, the infiltration of the Kremlin, both action scenes in Dubai, and the final parking garage fight in Mumbai were all incredible. Each of them must’ve been incredibly hard to shoot and they’re the reasons why we go see blockbusters in theaters. Also, I’m a huge Brad Bird fan, so it was great to see him direct a big set blockbuster. I’ll give Tomorrowland a pass.

Ways to Use the Phrase “Ghost Protocol” in Real Life:

  • I initiate “Ghost Protocol” when I turn on my nightlight before I go to sleep
  • Whenever I wear a hooded sweatshirt and go for a run, I initiate “Ghost Protocol”.
  • “Ghost Protocol” is what I call Robin Thicke cheating on Paula Patton
  • When I don’t want to text or call someone ever again. (Ghost Protocol is so much better than ‘ghosting’)
  • I prefer invoking “Ghost Protocol” than to say I’m using the “Private Browsing” feature on my internet browser.

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