Much like Apoorva Lakhia's previous effort Shootout At Lokhandwala, Mission Istaanbul takes newspaper headlines and gives them a commercial Bollywood twist. Mission Istanbul is all about the action, and the action is admittedly rather good.
A hotshot war reporter, Vikas (Zayed Khan) is hired by the Al Jahoora news network as their foreign correspondent. When he reaches the channel headquarters in Istaanbul, he is completely taken aback by the local violence and ever-increasing count of dead journos. Disturbed by the brutal murder of a senior reporter Owais (Suniel Shetty), Vikas decides to probe further. Soon he discovers a deep nexus between the channel head Ghajini (Nikitin Dheer) and militant leader Khali (Shabbir Ahluwalia), with all evidence pointing towards the world's most wanted terrorist Abu Nazir. Aiding Vikas in his investigation is a mysterious Turkish commando Rizwan (Vivek Oberoi). Soon a doctor (Shweta Bhardwaj) and Vikas's ex wife Anjali (Shriya Saran) join the mission for an explosive climax.
Mission Istaanbul's biggest strength is its pace. After the drab first 10 minutes where you have a customary romantic angle between Zayed and Shriya, the director quickly moves to Istaanbul. And from here on it is an action packed ride with no time to think or blink. Explosions, car chases, aerial stunts…it's all there. The writers keep the plot simple and waste no time in getting to the real thing. Of course there are a hundred cinematic liberties taken to ensure the heroes get a safe exit from all the sticky situations. The stand out sequences would be Suniel Shetty's fight in the desert, Zayed Khan's helicopter stunt and Vivek Oberoi ramming his car into Nikitin's office. Yet despite a predictable setup, there are quite a few surprises thrown in to keep you glued right through the first half.