Mission Impossible 4 IV Four Ghost Protocol

Cruise: “Make sure my name is above the title, OK?”

The problem with reading movie reviews before watching the movie is that it taints your expectations. This may come as a shock to you all (because I hate everything), but I actually like the Mission: Impossible film series. Despite Tom Cruise bouncing on Oprah’s couch, I’ve always enjoyed him in movies. And no, I’m not a Scientologist. Or am I? Anyway, back to my point. I had been following the reviews when this movie was released, it was getting great scores from the critics, and came in at a whopping 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Well, if that’s the case, then the movie has to be good, right?


I found Mission: Impossible 4 to be anything but good. The fault really lies with me, as I had read so many good reviews, I went into the movie expecting it to be good. But as with 99% of Hollywood garbage, it was just another steaming turd of mediocrity. After the movie was over, I realized how MI4 got so many good reviews in the first place: the critics had expected it to be terrible, and when it wasn’t, they found themselves pleasantly surprised. That’s the only rational explanation, because this movie is really just another entry in the book of terrible sequels that should not exist.

The movie begins with a scene that looks like it came from a straight-to-DVD Alias spin-off. A miscellaneous spy is being chased, shoots a few bad guys, and then is suddenly killed by a beautiful blonde. Just before he dies, his cell phone tells him in big bold white letters that she is an ASSASSIN. What app was he using anyway, Assassin ID? Considering how useful it was to him, it better not have cost more than 99 cents in the App Store. The scene ends with his girlfriend, another spy, crying over his dead body and screaming “KHAAAAN!” as the camera zooms up and away from her. I don’t think the scene was supposed to be funny, but I was laughing my ass off.

Next, we watch Ethan Hunt (played by Tom Cruise) being broken out of a maximum security Russian prison. Why is he there, anyway? Didn’t he retire at the end of MI3? It’s not important. The answers to those questions will come in glossed over exposition in the last seconds of the movie. The real question is, how can Cruise look as nonchalant as possible while escaping from incarceration? To put it simply, his former partner Benji (played by Simon Pegg) and the female spy from the first scene bust him out using a combination of high-tech gadgetry and explosive devices. But before Cruise leaves, he brings an informant along with him, who plays no part in the story at all, and serves only as a vehicle to show the audience how Cruise is LOL STILL A TOTAL BADASS AFTER ALL THESE YEARS LOL!

This is the one scene that nobody from the cast or crew would shut up about.

From here, Cruise’s team gets tasked with stealing something from the Kremlin. What he was supposed to steal, I don’t remember. It was just a vague MacGuffin that serves no real purpose other than having Cruise go after it. It turns out someone else takes it first, blows up the Kremlin, and then Cruise’s team is disavowed. The remainder of the film features Cruise and his team trying to steal back some nuclear launch codes or something. I don’t know. It didn’t make a lot of sense. But nuclear launch codes is what every spy always has to steal, so MI4 has them going after nuclear launch codes. It would be too much of a struggle for the writers to come up with something original. Their brains would probably explode.

Speaking of explosions, this movie has hilariously awful CGI. When the Kremlin exploded, I thought I was watching a scene from a movie made 10 years ago. Seriously, the CGI is terrible. It is phony, clearly low-budget (which is perplexing considering the film had a large budget overall), and the use of Green Screen sticks out like a sore thumb. Again, I was laughing out loud as Cruise ran away like a goon from the CGI Kremlin blowing up. The CGI would have been acceptable given the technology of 10 years ago, but today there is no excuse for it looking so bad. As a correlate to that, they used special effects in scenes that didn’t require them, such as a conversation occurring inside a van, where the exterior visible through the windows was Green Screen. Couldn’t they have just put the actors in a van and driven around, saving a lot of time, money, and effort? *facepalm*

The movie jettisons all semblance of plot structure and coherence in favor of simply moving from one action sequence to the next. Cruise runs away from some bad guys. Cruise swims away from some bad guys. Cruise climbs the tallest building in the world. Cruise bashes his head against a wall so hard he should have brain damage, but he is completely fine. Cruise chases some bad guys in a low-budget CGI sandstorm. Cruise fights some bad guys in a weird automated parking garage. The action scenes are completely interchangeable. They could exist in any place, mix and match them, and the movie wouldn’t be the slightest bit different. That’s one of the biggest problems with the movie. It is so woefully generic, it is nothing more than a typical paint-by-numbers summer shit spectacular.

Cruise runs with his back completely straight… weird.

One thing that was really bad in this movie was the casting. They chose Paula Patton to play “Spy of Indeterminant Race” who recites her lines with all the angst of a high school drama club member; and they chose Lea Seydoux to play an expert, world-class ASSASSIN who can’t be any older than 25, and struggles to stay awake in all of her scenes; finally, Jeremy Renner shows up to steal Mission: Impossible from Cruise and then moves on to take the Bourne series away from Matt Damon. If Jeremy Renner gets typecast, it will be as “Guy Who Takes Aging Action Franchises Away from Their Original Stars.”

I had been fairly excited that Brad Bird of Pixar fame was the director. Every Mission: Impossible film had a different director, and brought a completely different style to each movie. Since Pixar typically makes great films, I thought he would really infuse some life and charm into this aging franchise. Unfortunately, he didn’t. There is a lot of humor in this movie, much more than in any of the other films, so he clearly brought that. Although most of the intended humor isn’t very funny, and things that are supposed to be serious end up as hilarious – for example, the frivolously retarded scene in Mumbai. The action scenes are not original, the CGI looks goofy as hell, the casting choices are poor, and the performances are largely terrible. As the director he presided over all of those. The fact that he OK’d all of these things means he is barely more competent than Michael Bay. He should probably go back to animation.

Sleepy assassin vs. Blackanese spy: who will win?!

The movie ends after its action scene quota is used up, and it reaches a bloated running time of 135 minutes. In the final action sequence, Cruise aborts the nuclear missile launch and screams, “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” like a jackass. I’m glad he yelled that out. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known that he saved the world. The denouement features Cruise and his team hanging out in Seattle. Ving Rhames gives a cameo, which pissed me off, because he could have easily replaced any of the other douchebags in this movie and at least provided some interesting acting. Not necessarily good acting, but at least interesting. We also get a super-quick explanation of why Cruise had been in prison in Russia, and why, bizarrely, he isn’t allowed to be with his wife any more. And then, of course, we get the mandatory segway into MI5.

Fuck that.

MI4 is a movie that does not deserve to exist. MI and MI3 were cool spy/action movies that worked on different levels. MI2 was crappy, but most second movies in any franchise suck. At the end of MI3, Cruise’s character reached appropriate closure to his story arc. There was no reason for him to come back for another adventure. Oh wait, I forgot, there is one: BIG FUCKING PAYCHECK. Other than that, there is no reason for this movie to exist. And since it got rave reviews from the critics, and made $700 million at the box office, MI5 is inevitable.

I guess I learned my lesson: never believe any reviews. Not from the critics and not from friends. Not even this one.

Verdict: Shitty

12 Responses to “Mission Impossible 4 IV Four Ghost Protocol”

  1. August 17, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Fuck yes. Thank you someone else out there knows that this is a steaming pile of poo. Oh my god I was bored. I didn’t have high nor low expectations for this film. I just had expectations. Like you, I was looking forward to seeing what Brad Bird did with this after all I loved his stuff with Pixar and Iron Giant.

    The scene in Mumbai was just embarrassing. And yes, the CG was laughable. The film just felt like a string of set pieces put together with… string.

    MI3 was a far better film. Heck, I think MI2 was better than this. It was bad, but it was so bad it was actually enjoyably good.

    I can’t even remember what happened in MI4. Save for your run down. Eh.

    • August 17, 2012 at 8:26 am

      Thanks, Jaina. You know, it really surprises me how anyone can watch this movie and find it to be good in any way. I’m glad you have some common sense.

      MI3 was the best of the series. While MI2 was a mess, at least it wasn’t laughably terrible like MI4.

  2. August 18, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Ouch! Now I feel guilt…

    At any rate, I still like it. It’s not great, but I found it entertaining.

  3. August 19, 2012 at 3:50 am

    I was getting worried you were going to say that MI2 was good. I was relieved to see you call it ‘crappy’. I would have also accepted ‘Poor use of Locations’ and ‘Forgettable’.

    I enjoyed MI4 at the time… to an extent. The rate at which it threw new information at the viewer in the second and third acts is more frequent than many films I have seen in the last few years (read: your brain doesn’t have time to catch up), and when it does have a good scene or a good set-up, it eventually steers towards the over-the-top and the silly. You are definitely right about the sandstorm, the bland female actors, the ambigious MI3 references, and Jeremy R. stealing the show from Cruise. Jaina is on the money about the Mumbai scenes, which were awkward.

    Also, every car in this film is a BMW: the concept car, the cars in the automatic car park sequence, and probably the car in the sandstorm sequence… all BMWs. I guess it follows the trend of most of the cars in MI2 being Holden or Fords… you know, “AUSTRALIAN” cars.

    And I barely remember MI3 from the one time that I saw so I’m not sure if I can agree about it being as good as or better than MI1. Oh well…

    • August 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      I didn’t notice that all the cars were BMWs, nice catch there. Yeah, everything about this movie is terrible. And I think if you rewatch MI3 you will find it holds up pretty well. Of all four movies, I think it has the best balance of drama, humor, gadgetry, and action.

  4. September 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Sorry I haven’t been leaving comments Brik. Been reading from the phone more often than not, and it sucks to leave replies with. That’ll teach me for being impatient to read your stuff.

    Once again, you’re wrong, but funny enough for me to overlook it. LOL.

    This was a top notch action flick. Almost made my top ten last year 😀

    • September 3, 2012 at 9:02 am

      Don’t worry. I always appreciate your comments whenever you have time to leave one. I used to always leave comments on your site while browsing it at work. Unfortunately, for some reason, my work is now blocking your site saying it is “malicious.” Well, I don’t disagree with that, but you seem harmless enough.

  5. September 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I like your comment counter on the comments, btw… may try to steal that. 😀

  6. 10 OompaLoompa
    November 17, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    This whole movie felt like a parody. Hilarious that it got great reviews.

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August 2012


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