Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, and Sean Harris
The “Mission Impossible” television series started in 1966 and ran until 1973. In 1996 the film version of the series dropped into the summer box office melee under the guidance of film auteur Brian De Palma and spotlighted by the already established movie star Tom Cruise. The film was excellent. It was a mix of suspenseful espionage thriller and explosive high-action summer blockbuster fireworks, finely crafted to give audiences of the television show and those looking for a pure adrenaline rush something to see. Fast forward 19 years and the franchise is still holding strong, carried on the sturdy shoulders of Tom Cruise who continues to impress with a “do-it-yourself” quality of performance. “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” is a fun film to watch, it’s the closest return to the form established in the first film.
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is on the chase for a secret organization known as The Syndicate, a global terrorist cell of former special agents that play a crafty hand in controlling major catastrophes for their own sinister purpose. The head of this organization is an unknown mastermind who continues to be one step of Ethan and his team, who are operating as rogue agents. A disavowed British agent named Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) joins Ethan to dismantle The Syndicate.
Director Christopher McQuarrie guides “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” with confidence, minus a few moments when the pacing and tone shuffles randomly. Still, McQuarrie feels completely comfortable, controlling the big action set pieces and quieter suspenseful scenes with steady hands. Cruise, having worked with McQuarrie a few times already, gives another great performance that displays his undeniable charisma and complete dedication to giving the audience an experience. Like most of the “Mission Impossible” films, things move and operate within a formulaic structure that only somewhat changes from film to film. The change with “Rogue Nation” is that Ethan may have finally met his match with The Syndicate. The bad guys are always little worse than the last; it’s a familiar angle that films this far into an established franchise typically explore. While themes in the film are constantly recognizable and shifts in the narrative are expected, the keen audience can identify nuances in different characters and can usually feel the double-cross coming, the “Mission Impossible” films still have an undeniable quality largely attributed to Cruise and the dynamic established between the cast.
Cruise is known for being an active participant in the production process; here he again performs a breath taking stunt on the side of an airplane that accelerates and then takes off, it’s amazing to see. Simon Pegg is an important addition to the cast, a comedic character that adds a lighthearted touch to scenes and plays well off Cruise’s serious character. Sean Harris plays the antagonist with smirking glee; his performance is restrained and menacingly quiet. Rebecca Ferguson takes on the role of the femme fatale, she holds her own throughout offering a physical performance that outshines many of her male counterparts.
“Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” is an exciting addition to the franchise, committedly supported by the performance of Tom Cruise and the capable direction of Christopher McQuarrie. While some of the faults with this film will surely come to light after the credits role and the adrenaline stops pumping, during the film you’ll be too engrossed in all the fun that is happening on screen to even care.
3.75 out of 5.00