Movie lovers feeling the need for speed can get their fix with Top Gun: Maverick, but only in theaters. Fortunately, Netflix has another Tom Cruise movie that they can stream from home — Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.
The fourth installment of the spy franchise is rising up Netflix's Top 10 movie chart, just a couple weeks after dropping on the service. Ghost Protocol is one of three Mission: Impossible movies that arrived on Netflix at the beginning of June (the others are the first film and M:I-2).
I'm not surprised to see a Tom Cruise movie trending on Netflix, considering Top Gun 2 is flying high at the box office. The sequel has reignited an appreciation for Cruise as an old-school movie star and action icon among the general audience, including myself.
I'm also not surprised that Ghost Protocol is the trending title, since it's the best of the six Mission: Impossible movies.
Why Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is the franchise's best film
Ghost Protocol achieved a literal high point in the Mission: Impossible series in the jaw-dropping action sequence in which Cruise's Ethan Hunt scales the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
That was maybe the first (but certainly not last) time many people realized just how far Cruise was willing to go in pulling off incredible stunts. Since that vertigo-inducing climb, the actor has embarked on a personal mission to top himself in every subsequent M:I film.
Yet, the climb itself is just a component of what makes that set-piece so thrilling. There's an incoming sandstorm, malfunctioning magnetic gloves, the unanticipated early arrival of Lea Seydoux's character and a too-short safety cable, all of which heighten the intensity to an almost unbearable level.
Still, one scene does not make an entire movie. Ghost Protocol is so great because of everything that comes before and after that Burj Khalifa scene. It's followed by a gorgeously-choreographed fight between Paula Patton and Seydoux, as well as Cruise's signature all-out run in pursuit of a mark. The finale sees the entire team participating in a knockdown-dragout confrontation to retrieve nuclear launch codes.
The team aspect is really what elevates Ghost Protocol above its predecessors, harkening back to the original Mission: Impossible TV series and setting it apart from the other major spy film franchise James Bond. While Ethan remains the protagonist, he's not a solo spy saving the world. He can't do it by himself; he needs the help of tech guru Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and agents William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Jane Carter (Paula Patton).
The teamwork is so well-done (and welcome) that it carried through Rogue Nation and Fallout and looks to do the same in Mission: Impossible 7.