Movie Review: Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation

The new movie is now out in theaters, your mission should you choose to accept it, is to read on and find out if its worth your time.

I’ve always been a fan of the Mission Impossible franchise, I watched re-runs of the tv series growing up and I’ve been a fan of all the movies. They haven’t been the most cerebral movies or had characters with any nuance to them, but dammit they have been a lot of fun. Just like the tv series, we’ve come to expect each movie to be a stand alone “mission of the week” type affair with just enough small connections to remind us that the characters probably reminisce about past missions over drinks. Funnily enough, in its 20 year run, there have only been 5 mission impossible movies and what I’ve loved about them is that each film has been made by a different director. While you can certainly feel each unique touch, they all seem to understand the dynamics of what makes the movies stand out amongst the other spy franchises. It’s as if they found a formula and have been tweaking it ever since.

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Missions Impossible Rogue Nation doesn’t stray from that formula. Bringing in familiar franchise tropes such as the face changer masks, the cool spy tech (which still trumps anything I’ve seen in recent Bond movies) and the impossible heist; Which is achieved in a fantastic way, with some intense action set pieces. (BTW Cruise learned to hold his breath for 6 mins so that they could get a good underwater shot. Now THAT’s dedication).

Lets start with the action (thats really why we come to see these films) I’m glad to say it totally delivers. Though it is well known that Tom Cruise is crazy and does many of his own spectacular stunts in these films, many of the previous movies action scenes have had moments that seemed like they were just for spectacle. However in Rogue Nation, Director Christopher McQuarrie gives us action that makes sense, but also delivers high on spectacle. He uses sound to make you FEEL each hit in the fight scenes (I winced at certain hits). During chase sequences, you move with the camera but its not so dizzying that you have no idea where people are in relation to each other. There are many moments where he uses tension build up to keep you guessing as to what will happen next; It really is a roller coster ride.

When it comes to characters, nothings really changed, They still have the similar dynamics, but I do like that  they sort of focus on the fact that Jeremy Renners agent Brandt and Ving Rhames Luthor didn’t really know each other that well. It’s not a big plot point, but I love that it’s addressed. While I usually list Simon Pegg as my stand out character in the films he has been in (he’s great in this, bringing just enough humor to balance out the high action) I have to say this time around I was VERY impressed with the female lead, Lisa, played by Rebecca Ferguson. I thought Mad Max’s Furiousa was my badass B* of the summer, but I think she now has a contender because Ferguson totally owns the character. She is the perfect femme fatale. Sexy, classy, strong, focused and knows how to get what she wants, while leaving you still trying to figure out who’s side she’s really on. I really appreciate that the movie doesn’t play on any love angle (something the franchise has slowly moved away from) and frames her as a skilled agent with a sketchy past. Did I mention that she is a freaking badass? Because she really is.
Like every mission impossible movie, there’s always a member of the government questioning Ethan’s team and their motives/need to exist and Alec Baldwin plays that role just as you’d expect him to. What I did like is that he use events from previous movies to justify his cause, and in many of the cases you agree with him. Rogue Nation hints at a deeper movie and even almost becomes a character piece on Ethan Hunt, questioning the sanity of a man that would do all this. These are interesting questions but ultimately the movies knows that it doesn’t want to get bogged down in all of that. The villain is interesting enough to drive the story forward, but he has more of a relationship with Lisa than he does with Ethan. I wish they had taken elements of the Syndicate (the Rogue Nation the title refers to) further but I won’t go into that because thats hitting spoiler territory.

Verdict

Overall I had a blast, if you like the previous films, you’ll love this one. It’s truly one of the more fun films of the summer alongside Mad Max and Jurassic World. Proving once again, old franchises still have life in them. With the news that Mission Impossible 6 is going ahead, I cant wait to accept my next mission.

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