- Survival expert Les Stroud analyzes the sandstorm chase scene in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, ultimately awarding it a six out of 10 for accuracy.
- The movement and visuals of the sandstorm are correct, and Tom Cruise wearing goggles and a scarf are a nice touch, but a vehicle’s engine would not be able to operate while sucking in sand.
- The fourth Mission: Impossible movie remains a seminal entry in the franchise, marking the transition to a focus on major stunts and set pieces.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol‘s sandstorm scene gets put under the microscope by an expert, and there’s one thing it gets quite wrong. Released in 2011, the fourth installment in the long-running Mission: Impossible franchise sees Tom Cruise return as Ethan Hunt to clear his name after the IMF is implicated in a bombing of the Kremlin. While the movie’s standout sequence remains Cruise’s Burj Khalifa stunt, this action set piece is followed by an intense chase through a sandstorm.
Now, in a recent interview for Insider, survival expert Les Stroud, better known to many as Survivorman, breaks down Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol‘s sandstorm scene.
While the scene’s depiction of the sandstorm itself is actually fairly accurate, there’s one key detail involving vehicles that the movie gets wrong. Check out Stroud’s full comment below:
“Showing the difference between the sunny sky that you’re in and the sandstorm overtaking that as a big, dark cloud, to me, is very realistic.
“They are getting them right. The sandstorm happens incredibly quickly. Think about when a hurricane comes in or a tornado comes in, it’s the same thing with sand. You can have the same wind speeds. It’s a wall of sand and it’s coming in at you and it’s coming fast.
“Tom here puts on puts on some glasses and a makeshift scarf. You do what you gotta do. That’s actually the key to survival. For this character, he was lucky to have goggles and he covered his face any way he could.
“Your air intake on your vehicle is going to be sucking up all that sand and it’s going to choke out your engine. That, I think, is the harsher reality of trying to drive in the middle of a sandstorm.
“I’d rate this clip a 6 out of 10 because the depiction of the moving sand truthfully captured what you might actually see.”
How Ghost Protocol Changed Mission: Impossible
Brian De Palma’s first Mission: Impossible movie, released back in 1996, is more of a classic espionage flick, featuring Cruise and his companions attempting to recover the highly valuable NOC list. The second film, directed by action cinema legend John Woo and widely considered one of the franchise’s weakest efforts, sees the series embrace a slow-motion-heavy, very stylized form of action. J.J. Abrams’ Mission: Impossible 3 remains the lowest-grossing entry overall, despite some exciting set pieces.
It was with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, however, that the franchise really became what it is today. Now, Mission: Impossible is synonymous with dangerous stunts, and this essentially began with Cruise’s scaling of the Burj Khalifa. This stunt, which was at the center of the film’s marketing, remains one of the most iconic moments from the franchise, and it largely set the tone for what would come next.
Together, Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie, who has directed every installment since Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, now essentially build the films around the stunts. In Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, for example, Cruise was keen on jumping a motorcycle off a cliff and McQuarrie wanted to wreck a train, and the story was more or less constructed around these stunts. While Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol might not be the best film in the franchise, it’s certainly responsible for making it what it is today.