MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
On the whole, the Mission: Impossible film series has been pretty good. Brian DePalma’s original was a solid outing, more concerned with being a thriller than a straight up action film. For all its goofiness, John Woo’s Mission: Impossible 2 still features some fun set pieces. J.J. Abrams outing, Mission: Impossible III was a generic adventure, with a fine performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman. Then we have Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, a film where the second half can never quite recapture the pure magic the first hour or so gives you.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the latest outing in this franchise, lacks the issues its predecessors have, and is far and away the best Mission yet.
There seems to be a classic feeling to Rogue Nation, a film that embraces the old spy tropes rather than run from them. Director Christopher McQuarrie crafts some beautiful set pieces, starting the film off with a bang and never letting up. The case could be made that the finale is on a smaller scale than the bombast of the plane sequence or car chase through Morocco, but McQuarrie is smarter than that. While the bravado may be small, the stakes are raised to a high degree you’re now rooting for the characters rather than taking in a visual assault.
That doesn’t work if McQuarrie isn’t getting the most from his actors, and thankfully he is. Tom Cruise remains one of the top action stars. At times an underappreciated actor, Cruise does what he does best, and over the last few years finally feels as comfortable as he used to when he was a bright young kid in Top Gun.
Cruise is matched by Rebecca Ferguson, who plays deep undercover agent Ilsa Faust. Ferguson lights up the screen with her Katherine Hepburn-esque beauty, it’s this edge she gives Faust that makes her memorable. Faust isn’t treated as an adolescent trophy, rather a more than capable equal to Ethan Hunt.
The rest of Hunt’s IMF teams remains mostly in tact, with Simon Pegg’s Benji getting the majority of the screen time. Ving Rhames returns as Luther Strickell, as does Renner as William Brandt, who gets some of the funniest scenes in the film. Said scenes are shared with newcomer Alec Baldwin as Hundley, and Baldwin chews the most scenery and is having a blast as only he can. Special note must also be given to Sean Harris as antagonist Solomon Lane. The Mission: Impossible films have been pretty bland when it comes to villains, but Harris is a nice shot in the arm. He’s menacing, terrifying, and always seemingly a step ahead of our heroes. Lane truly is the best villain this series has produced.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is seemingly the perfect blockbuster. With some amazing spectacle, terrific banter with the characters, and a story that takes one exciting turn after the next, this is one Mission that needs to be accepted. Not just one of the top films of the summer, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is one of the best of this year.