One of the most exciting movies of 2015.
Movie Review #1,004
Action, Adventure, Thriller
2 hours, 11 minutes
Rated PG-13 (sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity)
Released July 31, 2015
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie
Story by Christopher McQuarrie and Drew Pearce
From the television series by Bruce Geller
Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Jens Hultén, and Alec Baldwin
Christopher McQuarrie is usually associated with one of two branches of his career. One is his plot-driven screenplay for “The Usual Suspects”, twenty years ago, and another is his more recent collaboration with Tom Cruise, as both writer and director. Films that entertain because they’re intriguing, and films that entertain because they’re exciting. “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” takes the best of both worlds. The balance between the two is almost divine.
Responding to events seen in the previous film, “Ghost Protocol”, the CIA decides to absorb the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) into one of their own divisions. Ethan Hunt (Cruise) has reason to believe that several rogue MI6 agents have formed an alliance, known as the Syndicate, and have set out to bring down the IMF. The CIA, however, denies these claims. In an effort to protect the IMF, Hunt sets out to prove the existence of the Syndicate. He’s aided by Ilsa Faust, a complicated role that Rebecca Ferguson tackles with no trouble at all. It’s suggested early on that she is a double agent, following Hunt’s interception of a shipment of nerve gas from a Syndicate plane. She acts as an assistant to the high-level agent who captures and tortures Hunt, but minutes later, she helps Hunt escape. Whether her goal is to help the IMF or to hurt them, is a question posed throughout the film.
“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” could have turned out to be something lukewarm. It’s the fact that Tom Cruise chooses to do his own stunts changes everything. In “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”, we see him hold his breath for six minutes as while battling intense water pressure, gripping onto the side of an airplane in mid-air, and practically everything in between. It’s definitely the closest any film in this series has come to living up to the title, and “Rogue Nation” benefits from the fact that when Cruise is performing these stunts, he’s not just performing. Seeing him in real-life danger makes the movie all the more believable, and in an action movie, more believable equals more exciting. Granted, the movie runs two hours, eleven minutes, and yet it flies by faster than most TV crime procedurals do. So much happens in so little time, and admittedly, the plot does become a bit muddled from time to time. But the overall factor here is entertainment, and at that it succeeds quite well.