MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION Review: A Midsummer’s Peak Movie
The Mission: Impossible movies are always fun, despite the
fact that Mission: Impossible 2 was pretty much a stinker whose only saving
grace was Thandie Newton. Since the misstep of choosing the now relatively
obscure John Woo for the second installment, Cruise has tightened his ship with
better choices for the man behind the camera, and the results have been
amazing! Each installment has been better than the last, and the action just
gets bigger and balls-ier. And Rogue Nation is no different. If Mad
Max: Fury Road kicked off the summer season, then Rogue Nation is
the peak of that season.
As with any M:I film, the plot isn’t deep. Nefarious bad guys are after X (money, power,
etc.) and its up to Ethan and his super spy team to stop them. It’s a little by
the numbers, and can be predictable if you’re trying to guess ahead, but that
doesn’t stop the film being a hell of a lot of fun. There also isn’t a whole
lot of character development here, as Hunt and Co are pretty much the same
characters you’ve seen from the previous films – though, there is more of
Jeremy Renner’s Brandt, who seems to do more liaising and office work than ass-kicking this time around.
On the other IMF team, Simon Pegg is back as Benji once again, with more of a central role,
as he is the right hand man to Hunt throughout the film. I’ve ways enjoyed
Pegg, ever since I first saw him in Hot Fuzz, and here he is one of the funnier
aspects of the film. He and Cruise play off each other well, with little
exchanges and one liners that bring some humor to keep things level. The fourth
member of the IMF team is Ving Rhames, returning as Luther Stickell, who only
had a cameo last time around. Luther is back behind the computer doing the
hacking that Benji can’t and generally keeping a digital eagle eye’s view out
for the team.
Alec Baldwin is the CIA big wig, Alan Hunley, who is looking to shut down the IMF and hunt
down Ethan for his reckless actions. He’s fine here, but he honestly doesn’t
have a whole lot to do, since his hunt doesn’t take up nearly as much time as
the action scenes do throughout the movie. But it works, since this is the
second or third time Ethan has been disavowed and hunted down, so rehashing the
story beats for that is redundant and pointless. But his character isn’t
pointless, as he still ends up being important to the story.
Sean Harris is Solomon Lane, played very much in the vein of the Craig era of Bond
villains. Nothing over the top, but understated and menacing. He is the head of
the nefarious shadow military The Syndicate, and he has a cool and calculating
demeanor and this guy is steps ahead of Ethan and his team He is smart and he
is deadly. Also, we have Ilsa Faust as played by Rebecca Ferguson, a woman who
seems to be playing both sides and you don’t quite know who she’s actually
working for. And not only is she beautiful, but she can kick ass – throwing
down alongside Cruise very convincingly. Not many female actors can pass off
that they can actually kick ass, but Miss Ferguson does it with ease.
Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) shoots the action with little to no shaky
cam (which I was thankful for, given that I was stuck sitting in the very
front), so I was able to see the brutal fight choreography in all its glory. If
you’ve seen Jack Reacher, you know Chris McQ can do action very well. He
knows how to pace it and knows how to string along the tense moments. There are
about three big set pieces that take up a good chunk of the run time, and they
each differ in tonality, making each scene fresh and intense. One is a showdown
during an opera that puts the one in Quantum of Solace to shame, and the other
is an incredible heist/motorcycle chase that had my jaw hanging open.
is also top notch, and again hits some of the same callbacks to the first one
that Michael Giacchino did for Ghost Protocol. Joe Kramer’s score is
energetic and fun, helping you stay perched on the edge of your seat as you
witness the next crazy stunt that Cruise decides to tempt fate with.
All in all, this is an incredibly fun film, with balls to the wall action and comedy. This
is what summer movies are supposed to be, and I’ll definitely be looking
forward to the next one!