Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a 2011 American action spy film directed by Brad Bird and written by Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec. It is the fourth installment in the Mission: Impossible film series, and also Bird’s first live-action film. It stars Tom Cruise, who reprises his role of IMF agent Ethan Hunt, alongside Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Anil Kapoor, and Léa Seydoux. Ghost Protocol was produced by Cruise, J. J. Abrams (the third film’s director) and Bryan Burk. It saw the return of editor Paul Hirsch and visual effects supervisor John Knoll from the first film, and is also the first Mission: Impossible film to be partially filmed using IMAX cameras.
IMF agent Trevor Hanaway is killed in Budapest by assassin Sabine Moreau, who takes the file containing Russian nuclear launch codes he had stolen so she can give them to a man known only as “Cobalt”.
Meanwhile, IMF agent Ethan Hunt has purposely become incarcerated into a Moscow prison to acquire Bogdan, a source of information on Cobalt. With help of Jane Carter, Hanaway’s handler, and newly promoted field agent Benji Dunn, Hunt and Bogdan make their escape. IMF tasks Hunt to infiltrate the Kremlin to gain more information on Cobalt. During the mission, an unknown entity broadcasts on the IMF frequency ordering the detonation of a bomb. Hunt’s team aborts the mission just as a bomb destroys much of the Kremlin. Carter and Dunn escape, but Hunt is captured by SVR agent Anatoly Sidorov and charged with the destruction of the Kremlin.
Hunt is able to escape and regroups with the IMF Secretary who is in Moscow on other business. The Secretary tells Hunt they have had to initiate “Ghost Protocol”, disavowing IMF, but secretly orders Hunt to continue to pursue Cobalt. Sidorov’s forces catch up to Hunt, and the Secretary is killed; Hunt escapes along with the Secretary’s aide and intelligence analyst William Brandt. Regrouping with Carter and Dunn, Brandt is able to identify Cobalt as Kurt Hendricks, a Swedish-born Russian nuclear strategist, who seeks to start a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia. Hendricks used the Kremlin bombing to cover up his theft of a Russian nuclear launch-control device, and now is planning a trade with Moreau at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai to gain the required launch codes.