Tom Cruise is a man on a mission to prove he’s still a relevant international action star after a string of box office disappointments. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation returns the superstar to one of his most beloved franchises to see if Cruise still has what it takes to “wow” audiences.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation reunites Ethan Hunt (Cruise) with the members of his IMF (Impossible Mission Force) team from the previous two films (returning cast members Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg) and delivers all of the over-the-top stunts and elaborate spy intrigue that you could ask for from the franchise.
After more than a decade of unprecedented work for the United States government, Ethan has become a myth, not unlike James Bond, among the global spy circle. But after the incidents of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (and a few others not seen) the US Government has been persuaded by CIA chief Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) to disband the IMF, right as Hunt is targeted by a shadowy organization known only as The Syndicate.
The plot of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is one of the weaker elements of the film, and director Christopher McQuarrie’s (writer of The Usual Suspects) screenplay is quite lazy getting from action setpiece to action setpiece – even moreso that other Mission: Impossible films. Things escalate so quickly that viewers don’t even have time wonder why everybody suddenly ends up on motorcycles, or in other head-scratching sequences.
But it’s easy to forgive the film for these flaws. Why? Because Tom Cruise is working his ass off from start to finish in this movie. The action is insanely choreographed, and the fact that Cruise was actually doing almost everything himself is evident in each impressive shot. Cruise is also putting his body on the line in every fight scene, and he’s taking bad guys down like a brutal linebacker in many fights. It’s all great fun to watch.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation also a great sense of humor at the right times. Benji (Simon Pegg) is obviously the comic relief and hits the mark most of the time, but a few one liners from Jeremy Renner and few subtle body language moments from Cruise got the biggest laughs.
The core IMF also have a really likable sense of brotherhood that has become quite endearing over the last three films, but Rogue Nation is not just about the guys. Rebecca Ferguson (Hercules) has a breakout performance as British agent Ilsa Faust, managing to captivate the audience with every moment that she’s onscreen and hold her own with Cruise and the rest of the team. So many “badass” women in action films are really just gorgeous gals dressed in slutty outfits that learned impressive fight choreography. Faust is much more complex: classy and sexy, powerful and vulnerable, and never quite what she seems – all the while with Ferguson knocking this portrayal out of the park.
The main villain, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), is mostly just a stock villain that pulls the strings from the background, but Harris does have enough creepy gravitas to at least make the character interesting to watch during his screen time. The real adversary of the film are the complex “heist”-like IMF scenarios that are increasingly creative and nail-biting. Think that airplane sequence in all of the commercials is the climax of the film? Think again. The film rolls that out almost right away, paving a path full of carnage from start to finish. In my opinion, the best sequence takes place about mid-film in an underwater high-tech data storage facility.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation continues the sure-footedness that the franchise has found recently and should re-establish Cruise as the true-blue action star he’s been for most of his career. It’s pure popcorn insanity, and well worth the ride for any fan looking for some real summer fun at the box office.
A confident, sure-footed installment of the franchise that pushes the limit with spectacular action sequence and amazing stunts, brought to life by endearing performances from the main cast, especially newcomer Rebecca Ferguson.