I’ll admit it: I’m a Tom Cruise fan. Anything he’s in, I’ll watch, because it’s gonna be really good, and he’s gonna be really good in it. He gives 100%, he does as many of his own stunts as possible — bottom line: he genuinely cares how a movie turns out, and I really respect him for it.
Mission: Impossible is an interesting franchise. The 1st one (19 long years ago!) was low on action, high on espionage. The 2nd one was pure John Woo action (i.e. nothing to whoo about). The 3rd one (my personal favorite!) brought on J.J. Abrams, and lit the fuse for the future of the franchise. The 4th one — Ghost Protocol — upped the ante (to the 130th floor!) while staying true to the previous entry (a series first). And now we have the fifth and biggest one: Rogue Nation.
This time around, the IMF’s mission (which they choose to accept) is to go after “The Syndicate”, a shadowy organization briefly mentioned at the end of the last movie. No one at the CIA believes it exists, and so coupled with the Kremlin disaster of the previous movie, the IMF is disbanded, and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) goes rogue while the CIA moves to bring him in. But in pure Ethan Hunt fashion, he’s always several steps ahead of them in pursuit of the truth.
Unless you’ve been locked in a Russian prison, you should know about the big plane scene in this movie. It’s the opening scene, so don’t even be a little bit late. Like the building stunt in the last movie, Tom Cruise does this one himself, strapping himself to the outside of a plane as it takes off. It’s pretty insane, even for a stuntman. I hear it took eight takes. Now that’s dedication! The rest of the action is as big as it gets. There are plenty of shootouts, fistfights, and car chases, not to mention laughs to keep anyone entertained for a couple of hours. And every Mission: Impossible movie prides itself on that one big suspenseful scene in the middle of the movie, and this one does not disappoint.
The returning cast members — Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Jeremy Renner — are in fine form here too. The new female character, Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) is a nice addition as a girl playing both sides. We also get Alec Baldwin as the director of the CIA, who gets some decent one-on-one time with Jeremy Renner. If I had one complaint, it would be the villain himself, Solomon Lane, played by Sean Harris. He’s supposed to be the most diabolical villain yet, and he just doesn’t come off that way. It takes more than self-righteousness to be intimidating. Oh well. Hopefully the next movie can provide.
Mission: Impossible III is still my favorite. I felt Ghost Protocol was a slight step down from that, and now Rogue Nation is another slight step down from that one. But that’s more personal preference than anything you need to worry about. This is a solid entry in a solid franchise. A few more like this and they’ll have truly done the “impossible”.
4 out of 5