After two lazy, near unwatchable sequels, the Mission: Impossible juggernaut gets a bit of a kick in the pants from Iron Giant and Incredibles helmer Brad Bird. Following a grab-your-attention prelude in which Sawyer from Lost takes three in the chest, we catch up with secret-agent man Ethan Hunt (Cruise) in a Russian prison, from which he easily escapes with the help of Impossible Missions Force members Benji (Pegg, the jokester) and Jane (Patton, the cleavage).
Then it's off to the Kremlin for an assignment that quickly goes awry---let's just say it involves nuclear codes and a nondescript Blofeld wannabe, and leave it at that. Then there's a rendezvous with Mr. Secretary, Tom Wilkinson, who disavows Hunt and his team; says "The President has initiated Ghost Protocol!" with where's-my-paycheck? solemnity; and gets shot in the head. (So many people getting capped.) And then it's off with tagalong mystery man Brandt (Renner) to the undercover train car and the two --bais (Du- and Mum-) for a series of spectacular, partially shot-in-IMAX set pieces---climb the world's tallest building!; chase Blofeld manqu through a sandstorm!---as the IMF tries to prevent worldwide nuclear destruction. What's next?!? Well, Ghost Protocol ultimately ends up as an eye-rollingly towering totem to L. Ron's favorite son, complete with treacly music cues and longing glances---bromantic and otherwise---that will send you screaming into the thetan-stealing clutches of Lord Xenu.
Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich
Watch the trailer