Its hard to believe that this is only the 5th film in the Mission: Impossible series. We’re creeping up on 20 years and you would think that we get these films every year like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But here we are and boy does this film have a bit going on.
In Rogue Nation, Ethan Hunt is on the run once again and the IMF is dissolved as he hunts down a spy network known as The Syndicate. Ethan enlists his usual crew, Brandt (Jeremy Renner), Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) to investigate. Throughout the film, Hunt has encounters with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a woman whose loyalties are unknown.
With the basics of the plot laid out, let’s get into the meat of this film. Each film in the series has had a different director, each of whom has had his own spin on it. Brian De Palma, John Woo, JJ Abrams, Brad Bird and now Christopher McQuarrie. This to me is what keeps the series fresh and why I want to see each installment when it comes out. The first Mission: Impossible is the one that is closest in spirit to the television series and the one that is the most like a spy movie as opposed to an action film. Rogue Nation is close in spirit to the original film. We spend time in the world of spies. We see what it’s like when they want to come in from the cold and the effects of being in for too long. It’s surprisingly deeper than a M:I film usually is.
McQuarrie seems to have taken elements from previous M:I films and placed them into Rogue Nation as a sort of love letter to the series. This manifests in many of the action set pieces, all of which were very well done. The opening sequence on a plane taking off (which Cruise reportedly preformed the stunt himself) reminds me of the building scaling scene in Ghost Protocol, a motorcycle chase that hardens back to M:I 2 and a tense underwater sequence (with some excellent sound design by the way) that takes me back to the CIA break-in during the original film. Plus we get some homages to Alfred Hitchcock during an opera similar to The Man Who Knew Too Much and a knife fight that reminds me of Skyfall in both action and how it was shot.
I was a little worried about the running time at 2 hours and 11 minutes, but the pacing is just fine and I was totally engaged from start to finish.
The cast is pretty good as expected. Tom Cruise to me always plays himself in all of his movies, but I like when we get to see Ethan Hunt serious and really dedicated to the mission. It really comes across as personal for him, so that form of expression is welcomed. Rhames, Pegg and Renner as his support do what they do and are good at it. The brightest spot is Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa. I loved her character from start to finish and I hope that she comes back for the next film and finally have a woman return for another adventure with Ethan’s crew.
The Mission: Impossible series, while no where near the longevity nor impact of James Bond, has continually know how to keep thing fresh for its audiences and Rogue Nation does just that and very well. Having a different director makes each installment feel like a first installment and as long as they keep that up, we’ll keep getting these quality, entertaining spy/action flicks.
Final Rating (4.5/5)
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