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Cruise brings "Mission: Impossible" to new heights

In a world run by James Bond, there are few spy movie franchises that can compete, but the "Mission: Impossible" series does a superb job of standing on its own. In the 15 years since theatergoers saw Tom Cruise hanging by wires in the first film, the franchise has spawned three sequels, including the most recent addition, "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol."

As the fourth film in the series, "Ghost Protocol" attributes a large chunk of its success to the new and innovative direction taken in both story and special effects. Directed by Brad Bird, "Ghost Protocol" begins with Agent Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise, being framed for a bombing he did not commit. Hunt and his team become a rogue unit out to stop a madman whose aim is to incite global nuclear war. What follows is a race across the Middle East and Southern Asia with car chases, countless combat sequences and climbing the world's tallest skyscraper.

As the face of the "Mission: Impossible" series, Tom Cruise delivers yet another memorable performance, thanks in part to his ability to tackle huge stunts. Cruise consistently brings a level of focus and intensity to his performance. Hunt's team members are played by British comic actor Simon Pegg, Paula Patton of "Precious" and Jeremy Renner, Oscar-nominated star of 2009's "The Hurt Locker."

Although a large portion of the success of "Ghost Protocol" comes from the people in front of the camera, it would not have been so without the talent and creativity put in from those behind it. As the producer of the series, Cruise has hit creative gold in partnering with the entertainment powerhouse, Bad Robot Productions, led by J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk. Through the use of IMAX cameras, this film creates a visual appeal that is both captivating in quality and original in avoiding gimmicky 3D formats.

Christopher Spall can be reached at


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