True Confession: I’m a gigantic Tom Cruise fan. I try to see all his movies (though I haven’t managed it) and I always enjoy his performance. I’m also a huge Mission: Impossible fan. I can just remember the TV show and I loved the first movie. I enjoyed the next ones, but what I loved most about the first movie was the twisty plot.
So, I went into Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation with the expectation that I’d enjoy it, but no expectation of loving it. But love it I did. (The hubs enjoyed this movie as much as I did, which is always a nice plus.)
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is the fifth Mission: Impossible film, and while you’ll love the nods to the previous movies if you’ve seen them, if you haven’t, you can still walk into this movie cold and be caught up and entertained.
One of the riskier things this franchise has done is change directors for every movie. That can get you a twisty mindbender when it’s Brian DePalma (Mission: Impossible), someone overdoing his own schtick when it’s John Woo (Mission: Impossible II), a Hitchcockian plot with an excellent McGuffin when it’s J.J. Abrams (Mission: Impossible III), and some jaw dropping stunts when it’s Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol).
But what we get with Christopher McQuarrie at the helm for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, is all of what made the previous four films good, plus something I wasn’t even aware this franchise needed until this movie – humor. This is by far the funniest of the M:I movies, without at any time being camp or reducing the series or situations to a joke.
The other thing this movie does that none of the others so far has is to keep the team around Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) stable. Until this movie, the only consistent recurring character has been Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), even though Stickell was only a cameo in Ghost Protocol. But this time around, William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), as well as Luther, are all back. It creates the other thing that’s been missing from this franchise – the true sense of team. The Impossible Missions Force is never just one person, and, for the first time since the first movie, we see how important the consistency of teammates and the IMF division itself is.
Picking up what seems like shortly after the events of Ghost Protocol, the IMF is on the ropes. The director of the C.I.A., Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) wants the IMF shut down and Hunt brought in because Hunley feels that Hunt is on a quixotic quest for a nonexistent “Syndicate”. Either that, or Hunt IS the Syndicate. But either way, Hunley wants Hunt brought in. Brandt, still both inside man and field agent, is trying to keep the IMF and Hunt both alive.
Of course, Hunt isn’t wrong – the Syndicate is real, and they’re being led by Lane (Sean Harris), a former top MI:6 agent who’s gone rogue, recruited a nation’s worth of “dead” or disavowed agents worldwide, and turned them into his own private IMF, one dedicated to doing bad, naturally.
As always, we have a female agent, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), this time one who may or may not be a double, triple, or quadruple agent. Ferguson is believable as a totally kickass spy and Faust is a realistic, brave, and brainy love interest for Hunt.
Rogue Nation has a plot far closer to the first movie’s, and has dumped a lot of the baggage that was beginning to weigh the franchise down. The use of impersonation is well done and not overdone, nor is Cruise impersonating men half a foot taller or physically much thinner, as in Mission:Impossible II (by far the weakest of the entire franchise, for which I point the finger squarely at John Woo). The stunts remain breathtaking, the movie moves at a breakneck pace that’s not too overwhelming but is never dull, and the conclusion is satisfying and gives me hope that, while the franchise may change directors, this IMF team will be back together again.
Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation
I went into Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation with the expectation that I’d enjoy it, but no expectation of loving it. But love it I did. This is the fifth Mission: Impossible film, and while you’ll love the nods to the previous movies if you’ve seen them, if you haven’t, you can still walk into this movie cold and be caught up and entertained.