Ghost Protocol (2011)

I remember seeing Ghost Protocol among the new releases in a DVD shop years ago. Somehow it didn’t register as a movie I wanted to see. Since then, I’ve realized how iconic that 1996 Mission Impossible movie is and therefore will probably watch however many more are made, as long as Tom Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt. At some point I decided I’m basically willing to watch anything Tom Cruise is in, though that doesn’t mean I like everything he’s in—I hated Jerry Maguire, and Minority Report was a horrible mess.

I really enjoyed the fight scene in the mechanical parking garage, but parts of Ghost Protocol were hard to watch; surely they filmed those Spiderman stunts with a greenscreen? Um, no. No, they did not. And it wasn’t a stunt double. Tom Cruise really had himself filmed on the outside of the Burj Khalifa. I don’t know who’s crazier, him or Jackie Chan.

A lot of heist movies show you the plan and show you the hero executing most or even all of the plan successfully; it’s fun because there are parts of the hero’s plan that you don’t know, or because you see the bad guys fall into traps set up for them. There’s still conflict because sometimes the bad guys get the upper hand, or someone on the good guy’s team turns traitor, but the good guy often has a secret backup plan, so it turns out he was never in danger, or at any rate is fully capable of getting himself out of it again.

What was fun about Ghost Protocol was the sheer number of things that went wrong for the characters. It was just one thing after another! The plans went awry over and over again! Or I thought they were going to, and that was worse!