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Asian Migration and Global Cities

Anne Cong-Huyen, Jonathan Young Banfill, Katherine Herrera, Samantha Ching, Natalie Yip, Thania Lucero, Randy Mai, Candice Lau, Authors

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Dubai Does The Impossible

In this fourth installment of the popular action series, the "impossible" emerges against the Burj Khalifa, the towering skyscraper that is the tallest building in the world. Latter sequences of the film are set within the building and in fact, just outside of it, as Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) must scale the skyscraper's mirrored walls in order to infiltrate enemy security systems. Armed with high power suctioning gloves, Tom Cruise takes on the Dubai landmark as his fellow agents look on from below. 

This suspenseful scene brings to life the magnificent architectural feat that is the Burj Khalifa. Yet, one cannot help but imagine the pains filmmakers went through to ensure that Tom Cruise and his body double were safe and securely harnessed with no chance of falling. As Cruise is wedged in a corner of the Burj Khalifa, we see the ground plainly worlds away and can appreciate how such a fall would cause certain death. 

On the official web site for the building, the Burj Khalifa is depicted as a landmark of luxury, a site where high fashion, sophisticated accommodations (combined in a hotel named for the couture label Armani) and fine dining, among other forms of play. What's noticeably absent is any mention of the sheer number of lives lost to the construction of the tallest building in the world. While Ethan Hunt lives to star in yet another impossible mission, Ghost Protocol's treatment of the Burj Khalifa fails to account for all whose lives were cut short in the making of this architectural wonder.

Take a look at some shots of Cruise scaling up the Burj Khalifa in the official 2011 trailer.

By Samantha Ching
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