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Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Coming Soon

In 1996 Tom Cruise said yes to the espionage dress in Mission: Impossible. The main knock, however, on that first movie was that the pace was too slow with not enough action involved. Since then, each sequel has dialed up the intensity level culminating into an explosive roar in 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. This was thought to be the pinnacle of the franchise as both fans and critics alike lauded the direction that producer J.J. Abrams had taken the spy saga. However, if we’ve learned anything over the past many years from watching the IMF (Impossible Mission Force) work, it is to never trust our eyes as things are rarely what they seem, especially when it comes to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise). Could Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation raise the bar even further thus becoming best effort yet? Read on…
Ethan and the rest of his team have finally met their match in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. After completing their latest mission to thwart the delivery of chemical weapons, the numero uno agent for the IMF, Ethan, reports to an off-site location to receive a status update. It is there that he learns that their protocols have been breached and his team is exposed by a rumored group called the Syndicate. Furthermore, CIA chief Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) wants this team disbanded due to their lack of oversight and seemingly reckless and unorthodox behavior in mission after mission. While William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) attempts to defend the IMF’s actions it is a lost cause as Hunley prevails thus absorbing the team’s relevant members into various positions within the CIA. This does not include Ethan however, as he is gone on the run due to the incident at the off-site location leaving him as the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Ethan must clear his name while also attempting to take down the Syndicate, all while avoiding the CIA.
Fans of the Mission: Impossible franchise are all too familiar with the cloak and dagger story lines and misdirection that all of the films commonly portray. The challenge then becomes to give the audience what they’re expecting but at the same time introducing the unexpected. Director/writer Christopher McQuarrie had the tall task of coming up with ways to stimulate the senses in that same, dare I say, impossible way. It is a slippery slope when one of the main goals of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is to outsmart the audience because you run the risk of losing the attention of those that merely want a good action film. McQuarrie, who has had experience with this dilemma in some of his previous works (Jack Reacher, Edge of Tomorrow), is hoping to toe that line between mysterious intrigue and all out action. The end result is mixed bag of positives and negatives. The shifts in focus were too frequent and while extremely exciting at times, the action sequences would occasionally last a tad bit too long leaving the viewer with a sense of numbness or indifference.
Tom Cruise, the film’s focal point, is vintage Tom Cruise. He runs (a lot), he beats up people bigger than he is and he gets himself into dangerous situation after dangerous situation. In short, he is exactly what you’d expect him to be in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation…or any other Tom Cruise action movie for that matter. Simon Pegg proves once again that the addition his character Benji was a great move by J.J. Abrams initially. He always seems to bring smiles wherever he goes and that trend continues here. Unfortunately there’s not enough of Jeremy Renner or Ving Rhames to get excited over. One of the new additions is Alec Baldwin and he does a well enough job of being the thorn in the side of the IMF. It’s almost as if it comes naturally to him. The lone female standout this time around is Rebecca Ferguson who plays Ilsa Faust, a character whose true intentions are shrouded by secrecy at the highest levels. The movie’s protagonist, Solomon Lane, is played by Sean Harris. His character feels like a throwback to the old James Bond movies. All of the integral parts are present, it’s just a matter of finding ample screen time for each to grow their character which is a challenge due to the plot’s complexity.
The style and tempo of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation mimics that of a lovechild between the 1996 slow and deliberate original and 2011’s action-packed extravaganza third sequel. This latest falls somewhere in the middle and it is because of that fact that it unfortunately faces a bit of an identity crisis. Then there’s the runtime that clocks in at 131 minutes. Rollercoasters are fun for the first few minutes and the thrill is gone simply because you become accustomed to the adrenaline rush. The same can be said for the action-y parts. Sometimes less is more. Then again that could have pushed this right into the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy category and no one wants that…zzzzzzzzzzzz. At the young age of 53, Tom Cruise is showing no signs of slowing down and it’s his energy that has allowed this franchise to prosper. While definitely worth the price of admission it still falls short of “Ghost Protocol” in the overall enjoyment factor.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler


  1. I totally disagree with this reviewer. The mixing of the intrigue and development of the first M I with the incredible action and set pieces of Ghost Protocol makes this the ultimate mission impossible movie. And the set pieces are INCREDIBLE, from the opening scene hanging on the plane to the escape from the interrogation room to the Opera house scene to the car/motorcycle chase to the underwater heist. Just INCREDIBLE. If it had P S H from #3 as the villain it would be perfect. I give it a 9 and consider it one of the best movies of the year so far.

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