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'Mission Impossible' 4 Doesn't Disappoint


The title doesn't have the number in it, but anyone who cares knows "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" is really "Mission: Impossible 4." The movie is opening this weekend on huge IMAX screens only. Next week it will be in regular theaters. Film critic Kenneth Turan says sit back and enjoy the ride.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: The "Mission" Impossible" movies change locations and directors each time out, but one thing remains constant: Tom Cruise's starring role as Ethan Hunt, the intrepid government agent who takes on the evildoers of the world.


TOM WILKINSON: (as IMF Secretary) Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

TURAN: In "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," Hunt and his team bluff their way into the Kremlin to gather vital information about a brilliant madman who's stolen Russia's nuclear launch codes and will stop at nothing - nothing - to destroy the world. But then things go horribly wrong.


WILKINSON: (as IMF Secretary) An hour ago, a bomb blew up the Kremlin.


WILKINSON: (as IMF Secretary) The president has initiated ghost protocol. The entire IMF has been disavowed. Now, I've been ordered to take you to Washington where they will hang the Kremlin bombing on you and your team, unless you were to escape after assaulting Brandt and me.

TURAN: Characters in other movies eat danger for breakfast. Hunt eats it for lunch and dinner as well. Orchestrating his exploits is director Brad Bird, making his live-action debut after three exceptional animated films - "Ratatouille," "The Incredibles" and "Iron Giant." Bird brings visual flair and a playful touch to a film that is essentially a series of elaborate action set pieces. All that action benefits from Cruise's willingness to do his own stunt work, especially when the plot shifts to the city of Dubai and the Burj Khalifa , a glass wall tower that is considered the world's tallest building. Naturally, the plot calls for Hunt to climb up the outside, but it's Cruise, not a stuntman, we see in action in the neighborhood of the 130th floor. This is high anxiety with a vengeance

MONTAGNE: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times.


MONTAGNE: It's NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kenneth Turan is the film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR's Morning Edition, as well as the director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. He has been a staff writer for the Washington Post and TV Guide, and served as the Times' book review editor.