Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Review: No mission is impossible for Cruise

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Starring: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Jeremy Renner

Please note, this review contains minor spoilers.

Your mission, Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher, The Way of the Gun), should you choose to accept it, is to try and continue the momentum created by Brad Bird in the previous series-revising Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Up to the challenge? I reckon so!

The Overview

Rogue Nation picks up where Ghost Protocol left off, with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) trying to hunt down a whole bunch of rogues who are trying to destroy the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) for good. The already tarnished reputation of the IMF continues to come under fire from CIA Director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) who considers them a liability, calling Hunt an arsonist and fireman at the same time.

Enlisting the help of former technician and now field agent, Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), Hunt must use all of his skills in order to stop the Syndicate, an international rogue organisation who will stop at nothing until they see the IMF destroyed for good. Hunt also has to put his faith in the “is she rogue”, or “is she not” former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson).

As the title would suggest, there are a plethora of rogues, both good and bad at work. There is double-crossing, false leads and tons of suspense, as we try and work out who Ethan Hunt really can trust.

The Good

Based on what we have seen in the previous four M:I films, we know there are going to be awesome action sequences, and some of the ones seen in this film are amongst the very best. The opening scene with Ethan Hunt hanging off the side of a plane is thrilling, and a great way to set the tone for the rest of the film. It doesn’t really have any relevance on the storyline, but boy is it fun! And that sums up this film really: amazing action sequences but it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Another action highlight was set against the backdrop of the opera, Turandot. Hunt lets Benji think he has won free tickets to the opera in Vienna, when really he needs his help tracking the leader of the Syndicate, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). Hunt believes Lane is targeting an Austrian dignitary who will be in attendance, and must use all of his espionage skills in order to track Lane’s marksman before he (or she?) strikes. Without giving too much away, this scene is fantastic, and as beautifully orchestrated as the music which accompanies it.

Tom Cruise is great as always, and it is still hard to believe that he does most of his own stunts at the age of 53! The supporting cast are equally good, particularly Simon Pegg, who provides a great comedic counterpart to the more serious Hunt. Rebecca Ferguson is also excellent as the rogue MI6 agent, Ilsa Faust. I found myself constantly trying to figure out whether she could be trusted or not, and this created a great deal of suspense; and it is left open to the audience’s interpretation right up until the end of the film.

The Bad

Whether or not they deliberately wanted there to be several red herrings and to keep you guessing in terms of how it was going to end, either way I felt like it was going to end about 45 minutes before it did. This made it a slight struggle to get through the final act of the film with the same enthusiasm I had had earlier. The pacing was off at points as well, with high-intensity action scenes followed by slow and not entirely relevant dialogue, which was a bit of an anti-climax. An example of this was after the motorbike chase through Morocco. One of the best action sequences in the film, but the end felt abrupt and this was slightly jarring.

The plot also gets a bit muddled at some points. Our heroes must break into a secure power station in order to find a list of all Syndicate agents, and halfway through the heist being explained, and the scenes themselves, I had forgotten why they were doing all this in the first place! The double-crossing is a little hard to keep track of at times as well. This isn’t a ‘switch your brain off, dumb, fun’ action film in the same vein of the Fast & Furious franchise. That being said, the action sequences are enjoyable and the chemistry between the actors is enough to keep you interested, but you might leave scratching your head if you’re not concentrating!

The Verdict

I saw this movie and you should too because it was great fun to watch, with amazing action scenes and awesome stunts. The plot is slightly confusing, but when you look past that it is a highly enjoyable watch. In terms of the other films, I’d probably rank it 3rd, just behind Ghost Protocol, and the original Mission: Impossible. I haven’t watched the other films for a long time, but I didn’t feel that detracted from my enjoyment of the film. Maybe watch Ghost Protocol before you see this though, as there are some references to that film – particularly the IMF’s dalliances in Russia. So the question is, can whoever receives the proverbial Director baton make another great Mission Impossible film? Well, as Rogue Nation has proven, and as Benji says, “that doesn’t sound impossible!”

Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a terribly misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Please let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share as well.

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