Film Review: Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation

Written by Ryan DeMarco

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The Mission: Impossible series is a strange entity. It’s a sucessful action film franchise that is usually forgotten about unless one of the next installments is coming out. Now almost 20 years old the franchise has had its lows and highs, with five different highly acclaimed directors at the helm. The first of which was shot by the great Brian De Palma, the second by ledgendary action filmmaker John Woo followed up by J.J. Abrams for the third installment. Brad Bird, of The Incredibles fame, brought the series back to life in the fourth entry and lastly we have Christopher McQuarrie for the lastest chapter.

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Overall, I would group the first three movies of the series as okay. They delivered some iconic action scenes but ultimately forgotten over the years. One could argue that J.J. Abrams broke the mold with the third movie delivering a sense of how these movies should be done. Giving slightly more balance to the story and Ethan Hunt’s character. While the fourth, titled Ghost Protocol expanded on that formula and found its groove with a compelling plot, interesting enemy, and great action to go along with the newly assembled supporting cast.

I’m very pleased to say Rogue Nation is the best film of the franchise thus far. Where as previous films come off uneven or just uninteresting Rogue Nation excels at keeping our interest, delivering INSANE action sequences and with a great balance of laughs. This film is also the funniest of all the movies. On top of all that, I learned how to hang off an airplane in style and turn my flute into a sniper rifle. Thanks, Tom Cruise.

Cruise returns as the unstoppable Ethan Hunt who has gone “rogue” from the IMF agency. His mission is simple, to take on a shadow organization known as The Syndicate, who is dedicated to destroying the IMF, and as usual killing people and creating mayhem. When I say simple, I mean impossible, because this isn’t called Mission: Simple. If it was simple we wouldn’t need Tom Cruise, we’d only need someone like Christian Slater for the job and honestly, no thanks bro. Anyway, back to the review. Cruise is once again defying reality, at age 53 he is one of the few action stars that exerts himself trying to give the audience something to marvel at putting the rest of the so-called action héroes to shame these days (ahem, Bruce Willis).

While Hunt is off the grid avoiding capture his team is left behind to pick up the pieces and play catch up. Brandt (Jeremy Renner), Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg) all do there part as Ethan’s team. Rebecca Ferguson and Alec Baldwin serve as fine additions to the cast as well. Ferguson, who steps into the shoes of the latest female agent working alongside Hunt (since the others seem to vanish after each movie i.e. Maqqie Q, Paula Patton). The chemistry between Ferguson and Cruise is apparent and work off each other very well. Kudos to Ferguson for making her screen time worthwhile and proving that she belonged in this movie. Simon Pegg gets another enlarged supporting role playing tech wizard Benji. As a long time fan of his, I love the fact that his character serves as an intricate part of the story and not used when the movie calls for it.

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Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Brandt and Luther. If Ghost Protocol gave us the notion that Renner would be next in line to lead the series this film quickly disproves that by writing him down to a minimal role. That said, Renner does well with the screen time alotted and is given some of the films best lines. Honestly, it’s roles like this where I believe Renner excels — he provides good background and fills in whatever necessary. Ving Rhames returns as the franchise favorite Luther and is ultimately underused, although him and Renner have a surprisingly great dynamic.

Written and Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, whose credits include The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie, Edge of Tommorow, etc. (I always recommend his film the Way of the Gun to those looking for a little kick ass action film that has been wildly overlooked.) Mission: Impossible marks his third collaboration with Cruise. McQuarrie brings in a wonderful balance of jaw dropping shots of Hunt risking his life and comedy which to me really works for a franchise like this. The story is supposed to be grand along with crazy gadgets for every obstacle and death always around the corner. So to me an all to serious tone is kind of a put off. The camerawork is absolutely top notch with clearly mapped out fights and set pieces and a motorcycle chase like Ive never seen before.

McQuarrie makes sure each character gets there moment along the way too, except for the leader of the Syndicate sadly. Introduced as someone whos of equal to Ethan Hunt, he is never really given much to show and is mostly smoke and mirrors until the third act where he is never given the finale he deserves.

All in all, this film deserves your attention. As the fifth film of the franchise, it is the best one yet and only looking to get better which outside of the Fast and Furious films is unheard of. Besides a couple minor pitfalls this film absolutely sucseeds on all accounts. Say yes to this Mission.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Rating: 8.5/10

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