MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL is the fourth film in the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE series. Production began in 2010, because of how many people were sending in letters to the production company demanding a new chapter in the riveting "Tom Cruise sprints near explosions" saga. It is also known as the best film ever directed by Brad Bird.
If you've never seen any of the other MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE films, that's okay, because neither have I. If you haven't seen this one, that's okay too, because the plot is completely irrelevant. There are some pretty people, they go places, stuff blows up, and the world is saved. There, I just saved you two hours. Everybody knows that the plot is the last thing that matters in a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE film. As long as there are dudes, gunfights, and explosions, the movie will be totally enjoyable and rake in at least a billion dollars. The producers for the MISSIONS: IMPOSSIBLE series are basically printing their own money.
Reading a plot synopsis makes the movie seem incredibly boring and difficult to follow- way too many characters, convoluted relationships, and poorly-thought-out motivations for everyone. Summarizing the plot is like summarizing a basketball game: everyone's goal is to win, and everyone does whatever they can to achieve that goal, but if you look back at the beginning, it becomes clear that nobody was working toward an endgame. The Chicago Bulls aren't trying to win on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer; they're just trying to score when they have the ball and play defense when they don't and hope that they're successful. Everyone is just living in the moment, following their immediate instincts, and this is exactly how the script was written. It seems like the writers finished it one draft, writing in flashbacks and exposition as they went along, but never going back to tighten up any character's motivations or include any foreshadowing.
There is a concept in fiction known as a MacGuffin, a plot device that only exists to give the heroes and the villains something to chase and fight over, with little to no explanation save for some quick handwaving (usually in the form of pseudoscientific technobabble). Alfred Hitchcock is credited with inventing both the term and the technique, and is quoted as explaining that "in crook stories it is almost always the necklace and in spy stories it is most always the papers". Instead of taking any risks or, god forbid, trying anything innovative, the MacGuffin in M:I-GP is "the papers"; in this case, some nuclear launch codes.
The codes change hands, the IMF (Impossible Missions Force, seriously) agents chase them, the bad guys fly around the globe, the IMF (not International Monetary Fund) agents chase them, and the whole point of anything that happens on screen is that we get to see action sequences take place in different iconic cities. How much of the film's marketing material focused on the scene where Ethan Hunt (Tom "Maverick" Cruise) climbs the Burj Khalifa in Dubai? The answer is a lot. The producers thought, India is a huge foreign market for American films. Let's have them go there now! And then a scene takes place in Mumbai.
You could watch this movie with all of the dialogue replaced with a foreign language you've never heard before- or even complete gibberish- and you would experience no less enjoyment. The actors are beautiful people (Maverick looks good for 50), the bad guys are pure evil (just mean muggin' everybody all the time), the fake technology works perfectly (except when the plot dictates it needs to inexplicably fail), and the international locales are definitely in not-America countries (with musical cues such as "Mumbai's the Word"). Whatever five-year-old wrote this script did a great job, and I can't wait to see how he's matured as an artist when the still-untitled sequel comes out (I'm pulling for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL 2... MOST PROTOCOL*).