Rogue Nation is a run-in-the-mill sequel, but thanks to a new cast, old school spy thriller thrills, and purposeful direction, Mission Impossible still has what it takes to deliver a pure dose of action entertainment.
With the IMF disbanded, and Ethan (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, the team now faces off against a network of highly skilled special agents, the Syndicate. These highly trained operatives are hellbent on creating a new world order through an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with disavowed British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who may or may not be a member of this rogue nation, as the group takes on their most impossible mission yet. [Paramount Pictures]
Rogue Nation manages to deliver what the audience want and reinvigorate a franchise whose viability is in question.
The 5th Mission Impossible takes all the greatest hits from the previous movies and packs it in a lean spy-thriller plot. The movie’s shifting alliances are reminiscent of the 90’s original by Bryan De Palma. Action scenes are inspired by John Woo. Intricate all-set action set pieces follow the pattern of Bryan Bird’s heart thumping work from Ghost Protocol.
Thanks to McQuarrie’s purposeful direction (that made Edge of Tomorrow an above average flick) Rogue Nation is like a fun amusement ride with amusing twists and turns. He presents typical situations that you would expect from this kind of film – such as an assassination in the opera and heist in an underground facility – in an unconventional yet suspenseful way that makes it memorable.
Tom Cruise, even at 53, still has his megastar charisma. He portrays steely resolve with vulnerability through looks that hasn’t aged since 30. Simon Pegg’s character is expanded and provides the needed comic relief. The rest of the team are sidelined, but cool new additions are introduced. Alec Baldwin manages to pull off the most ridiculous line in the franchise so far – Ethan Hunt is the man of destiny! The movies makes a nod to Tinker Tailor, Spy by adding Simon McBurney.
However, it’s the new designated femme fatale that outshines the rest of the cast. Ilsa Faust is a rare fleshed out female character who adds the emotional stakes in a technical movie. She isn’t the predictable foil or love interest. She is given her own motivation, agency, and a bad ass fight scene. Rebecca Ferguson – thankfully not another stick thin actress – is a perfect fit for the mysterious capable agent who knows when to take off her heels.
Setting these components aside, its obvious that Rogue Nation is your run in the mill sequel. It rehashes the best parts of the previous films. It’s the same old routine of Ethan and Co. getting abandoned by their overlords and fighting the secret big bad with vague motivations but clear intentions. Lists are stolen and identities are switched. Story details are glossed over. From the looks of it, nothing has and may never change.
But you can’t deny that the movie works. Tom Cruise understands perfectly what his purpose is and what the franchise stands for.
In the end the movie parallels its own theme. How long will Hunt keep gambling his life in the face of never-ending villains? How long will Cruise keep gambling his ageing charisma by making the same reiteration of a movie?
For now, Rogue Nation proves that the franchise can still deliver what it has always done – ridiculously staged but fun action films with a charismatic lead.
My Rating: 8/10