This Mission Impossible franchise has a lot in common with the Fast and Furious serious, in that the latter films in the series are the best ones. Ever since the 2nd film, which has famously been panned and rightfully hated, this series has been upping its game. Tom Cruise brought in Alias creator J.J. Abrams to direct the 3rd film, and it was a solid movie. After that, it’s been nothing but growing success. Ghost Protocol came in at the end of 2011 and became the best action film of that year, and this newest entry, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, is just as good if not a little better than its predecessor.
But something’s gotta be addressed before reading any further. These are silly movies, the plots are absurd and, indeed, impossible. That’s the franchise. We’re 5 movies in at this point. You’re just going to have to accept it. If you can do it for F&F, there’s no reason you can’t do it for Mission Impossible.
With the IMF (Impossible Mission Force) now disbanded and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, a new threat — called the Syndicate — soon emerges. The Syndicate is a network of highly skilled operatives who are dedicated to establishing a new world order via an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Faced with what may be the most impossible mission yet, Ethan gathers his team (Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Jeremy Renner) and joins forces with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a disavowed British agent who may or may not be a member of this deadly rogue nation.
Christopher McQuarrie is the director of this installment, who previously directed Cruise in Jack Reacher, and he also wrote The Usual Suspects. It’s been a very good idea having a different director for each film, and McQuarrie does add some nice directorial flourishes, sets up some really nice action set pieces and crafts a solid overall pace and tone for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The movie starts with that big airplane sequence you’ve seen advertised so much, with Simon Pegg doing his usual bumbling, tech-guy comedy schtick. Although he’s always great to watch on screen and he never disappoints. It was nice for them to finally pull Ving back in, though he doesn’t have a whole lot to do here.
What’s interesting is that this film kind of goes back to the structural formula of the 1st film; mainly focusing on Ethan as the main character and not really having the team operate at all times together. Now this movie does incorporate more teamwork than the first two movies in this series did, thankfully. This time, though, the characters are kind of separated, in different places, coming together at about the halfway point. So there is a teamwork angle at play, they’re just not all together all throughout the film, which is not a necessarily a bad thing. Renner’s character is dealing with the C.I.A. and Baldwin, who are trying to find Hunt and punish him for his reckless crimes associated with the IMF. But it does work. And with this extended cast, you are getting the addition of Rebecca Ferguson. Who is all types of lovely and glorious in this movie.
Ilsa is not a love interest. She’s not a damsel in distress, she is her own character who has motivations outside of Ethan, and she’s a well written character. Very well acted. She actually gets a lot of the best action moments in the film and saves Ethan’s ass almost every time they’re interacting with one another. In fact, her last scene in the movie is pretty nice and handled extremely well.
The action scenes this time around are filmed and choreographed very well. There’s almost always one center set piece in the middle of the film, that will really test Ethan physically and mentally. In this film, it’s an underwater sequence that is really creative and quite effective. There is also a motor cycle/car chase that is so cool and exhilarating to watch, it stands as one of the best car chases of the last several years.
It’s got style, and while it has some cool henchmen, it’s main villain is not all that exciting. It’s another white guy in a suit, who acts calm and collected, it’s actually a little boring. But it’s whatever, it doesn’t take away from the film at all, at least for me. Although, the way in which …okay – spoilers for the 3rd act – the way in which the IMF team actually catch him is extremely cool and felt like a real classic, spy film. There’s enough going on in the movie to make it fun and entertaining. And it even ends leaving the whole series wide open for another installment, which they are apparently already talking about putting together. I look forward to seeing who’s attached to direct, that will determine my excitement for the 6th film.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is totally fun and doesn’t let the franchise down. Yeah the plot is convoluted and ridiculous, but at this point, what did you expect? Yeah, I have to be that guy. This is where the series is going, either get on board or get off the train.