After the year-end glut of prestige pictures and awards bait, it's kind of a relief to settle in for a pair of high-concept blockbusters that have no greater ambition beyond blowing stuff up real good. That's the mission statement behind Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol, the second and fourth installments in their respective franchises. The former reunites director Guy Ritchie with Robert Downey Jr. as a strapping, ass-kicking Sherlock and Jude Law as his right hand man/pseudo boyfriend Dr. Watson. The latter matches Pixar wizard Brad Bird (making his live-action directorial debut) with Tom Cruise reprising his role as Ethan Hunt, the Impossible Missions Force's premiere covert agent. Both films emphasize spectacle over story (Ghost Protocol even more so, since several sequences were filmed using IMAX cameras), action over acting and explosions over erudition. But only one of them actually makes good on its promise of escapist entertainment.
This DVD will fortunately not destruct in five seconds.