Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation Review


     Has it been four years already? Like a great comfort food, the IMF return like clockwork to save the world. As my currently running James Bond reviews prove, I sure love me some spy movies, and this year has given me a treasure trove to emerse myself in. This series always plays around with the impossible, and this installment, sure as hell doesn’t disappoint.
     The IMF has finally been shut down by the CIA, convinced that Ethan Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) assertion that the Syndicate is real, is nothing more than a deep seeded delusion. Now on the run, Hunt puts together his old reliable team (Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner) to work remotely and covertly in order to prove the organization’s existence. Things get complicated when a mysterious woman (Rebecca Ferguson) appears to either want to help Ethan, or destroy him.
     Tom Cruise still manages to kick ass as an action star. Yes, that really was him hanging off the plane in all the TV spots and trailers, but there’s more to him than that. Even after 19 years and 5 movies, the man clearly still loves playing Hunt, and being in these movies. That is always a welcome relief when it comes to a franchise, to actually see the actors have fun and inhabit their roles. What I love this time around is that there’s an actual acknowledged continuity now, helped by the return of previous characters (it’s just as much Luther’s franchise as it is Ethan’s). With all the throwbacks to the others in the series, it just adds a layer to the fun.
     The best thing about the last few films is that this is finally about the team instead of the Ethan Hunt Power Hour. The show (yes, this was once a show) was always about the team dynamics and the particular skills that they all brought to the mission. The films finally caught on to that, and clearly there has been an uptick in quality once it stopped trying to be the new century’s James Bond. At the beginning of the movie, I was worried that it was going to be a one man show again, but quickly gets others in on the action, and it picks up the fun.
     Christopher McQuarrie is the next in line, in a string of distinct directors that each add their own flavor and style to the franchise. The best thing here, is that the man knows how to direct action. I can actually see, and make sense about what the hell is going on in the movie. McQuarrie doesn’t forget that an actual story is needed to give the action it’s weight, and here you’ll notice that the plot resembles the first Mission: Impossible, down to the meeting in a station. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a retread, just that again Hunt finds his history repeating itself and gives him a subtle motivation to avoid the disaster that came before.
     The flaw of this part, just as many of the others in the past, is that the villain  Lane (Sean Harris) is pretty fucking lackluster. Aside from the third, and maybe first, Mission: Impossible films is that the villains kinda suck. Who was the bad guy in Ghost Protocol? It’s hard for even me to come up with. What the series needs now is a Heath Ledger or Javier Bardem to add some wicked malice. Until that day comes, we’ll just settle in for the reliable fun that has yet to let us down. 


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