Regardless of unquestionably donating funds to scientology in seeing the fourth installment of Mission: Impossible, if you've come this far in the series of films that began in 1996, you might as well see it through. Plus, Simon Pegg is in it, which is always a selling point in my book (in spite of Run, Fat Boy, Run and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs). And then there's the fact that it was shot in Moscow and Dubai, two milieus that so rarely appear in American films.
After Sabine Moreau (Léa Seydoux, whose career thus far has been founded on being hot/being the granddaughter of Jérôme Seydoux, the chairman of French film empire Pathé) assassinates an IMF agent named Trevor Hanaway (Josh Holloway of Lost fame--yet another Abrams connection in this movie), Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and Benji Dunn (Pegg) set out to extract Ethan (Cruise) from a Russian prison. This mission leads them to the Kremlin, where Ethan first encounters an extremist nuclear weapons proponent named Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist).
Writers André Nemec and Josh Applebaum (no strangers to working with Ghost Protocol producer J.J. Abrams, as both are veterans of Alias) accomplish a surprising amount of breadth for each of the main characters, including Jane Carter, Benji Dunn, William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), and, of course, Ethan Hunt. The four are forced together in the wake of IMF's disavowal after Ethan is unwittingly framed for bombing the Kremlin by Hendricks. Without the support of the president or the secretary of the IMF (Tom Wilkinson), Ethan is left no alternative but to stop this Russian madman on his own.
With minimal provisions to accomplish their task, Ethan's ragtag gang of IMF refuse manages to save the day, albeit after numerous drawn out fighting scenes that leave you thinking, "Will you just fucking kick his ass already?" But, to answer whether Ghost Protocol galls or enthralls, if nothing else, there is Tom Cruise scaling the tallest building in the world without a stunt double.