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- Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Part IV
If you haven’t seen this movie, go. Right now. That’s the mission. Accept it.
I am likely to go see it again.
What’s remarkable about Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is that they’ve been making these movies for almost 20 years now; Mission: Impossible opened in 1996. At that time, Tom Cruise was already a star. Young and confident, Cruise was very good in the original Mission: Impossible film as young Ethan Hunt, a relative new-comer to the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) whose faith in the system is shaken by his mentor’s betrayal of Hunt’s team. Mission: Impossible was certainly a solid movie and Cruise was very good but nowhere as good as he is in this movie.
As a seasoned Ethan Hunt who has been through the wars as-it-were, Cruise commands Rogue Nation. He’s so good that he manages to avoid one of the most significant issues with movies like this. Normally they need a strong villain. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation doesn’t need a great villain. It has a pretty amazing Tom Cruise working with a fun team of supporting agents – the returning Simon Pegg is particularly delightful.
On the poster and in the previews are images of Cruise hanging on the side of a plane (notice I write “Cruise” and not “Hunt” because, famously, Cruise did the stunt himself) trying to thwart a weapons deal. It’s a stunning scene and Cruise looks every bit the action star doing it. It’s hard to believe he’s 53-years-old. One of the coolest things about the plane stunt is that sequence opens the movie. Once it’s complete, if there’s time for the audience to catch its breath and think, the reflection might be “wow – director Christopher McQuarrie (who puts on quite a show here) just gave us his best stunt and the movie isn’t 10 minutes in yet.
Wrong. The best comes later and, unlike prior Missions, the best has as much to do with the plot, which is clever and quick, as it has to do with the action.
In the film, Hunt is searching the world for an organization called “The Syndicate” – and this is a nice throw-back to the television series as The Syndicate was a long time foe of that group. The Syndicate functions as an anti-IMF and no one, save Hunt, believes it exists. Yes, this is pretty standard fare – an agent against the world – but we want to see Cruise in this scenario and he makes it work.
The actions of Hunt in the earlier films have caught up with him as the IMF is dissolved and folded into the CIA as a result of those events (like the destruction of the Kremlin in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol). Alec Baldwin is playing a great character named Alec Baldwin – er, I mean, Alan Hunley – who is doing his best to shut down Hunt and the gang. Jeremy Renner’s Brandt tries to defend the team to no avail, but the chemistry between the two actors clicks as it does later when Renner and Cruise share the screen.
Frankly, Cruise is like a point guard in the movie – his every move makes his co-stars look better.
Disavowed by the government, again, Hunt has to prove the existence of The Syndicate in order to clear the names of those on his team. He is partnered with Rebecca Ferguson’s Isla – a secret agent who may be double (triple?) crossing Hunt or maybe not. Ferguson is really very good in this year of strong women in action roles and holds her own with her magnetic co-star.
Thus begins a very typical (and that’s a GOOD thing) Mission: Impossible plot with enough twists and turns to support the increasingly outrageous action. There are car chases. There are motorcycle chases. There are fist fights and shoot outs. There are incredible set pieces.
All of this is hung on the strength of the plot and the steadiness of Tom Cruise. The movie doesn’t fail to recognize that Hunt is older, it embraces the fact. If Cruise’s Hunt isn’t invincible anymore, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is all the better for the change.
We need Mission: Impossible 6 in front of the camera. Now.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION receives FIVE SECONDS BEFORE THIS MESSAGE SELF-DESTRUCTS out of five.