UK Release Date: 30th July 2015
Runtime: 131 minutes
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin, Ving Rhames, Tom Hollander, Simon McBurney
Synopsis: Ethan Hunt is forced to go rogue in an attempt to take down the Syndicate, who threaten the very existence of the IMF.
The Mission: Impossible franchise is the action juggernaut that just won’t die, helped by the seemingly ageless charisma of its lead Tom Cruise. It’s also aided by the consistently changing directorial hand that has allowed it to change its face and style with every instalment. The latest filmmaker to shepherd the franchise is Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie, who pits Cruise against those who used to support him in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
Ethan Hunt (Cruise) escapes from the clutches of the Syndicate with the help of one of its operatives, known as Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). Meanwhile, CIA director Hunley (Alec Baldwin) testifies against IMF agent Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and ultimately gets the organisation shut down. Determined to prove the existence of the Syndicate and its shadowy leader (Sean Harris), Cruise enlists IMF ally Benji (Simon Pegg) to clear his name.
In a summer where many of the big blockbusters have proven something of a disappointment, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is refreshingly honest about what it is. It’s not a deep character study or a tale laden with subtext, but it is an endlessly thrilling action caper that never eases up on its breakneck storytelling pace.
| "Hunt is the living manifestation of destiny – and he has made you his mission."
At the centre of it all is Cruise, who remarkably remains capable of carrying a major action franchise almost 20 years after he started it. This time around, his big stunt occurs in the film’s opening sequence. It’s a sublimely confident storytelling risk that more than pays off, largely as a result of Cruise’s ability to pull off impressive feats of stunt performance later on in the film. Cruise is charismatic, quick-witted and engaging in a role that continues to shave off the years for him.
Benefiting from his continually enhanced role in the franchise, Simon Pegg excels as second lead. Far more than just comic relief, his work alongside Cruise exists as the film’s central romance – one in which there is intense platonic love, played wonderfully by both men. Rebecca Ferguson is given a better, beefier role than you’d expect of a woman in an action movie and Jeremy Renner steals many of the best lines.
If there’s a weak link in the ensemble cast of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, it’s Sean Harris. Given the inherent mystery of his character, Harris feels like an under-developed villain and never gets to showcase the kind of aggression he displayed in British indie The Goob earlier this year.
It’s a testament to the easygoing popcorn thrills of the film that it gets away with murder in terms of its plotting. There is very little meat to the story and the third act is a near-constant succession of increasingly ludicrous plot twists. Despite these flaws, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation gets away scot-free by simply turning the dial up to eleven and making sure the ride is a fun one.
| "The Syndicate is real. A rogue nation, trained to do what we do."
Given the longevity of the Mission: Impossible franchise, it’s great to see it in such good shape with Rogue Nation. There’s no ground being broken outside of its lead’s increasingly barmy feats of endurance, but it works as a simple shot of popcorn cinema and never drags, despite its rather lengthy running time.
Pop or Poop?
In a summer packed with heavyweight blockbusters that didn’t deliver, it’s refreshing to see that Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation keeps things simple and works very well as a result.
There isn’t much in the way of subtlety on show and the plot gets very silly in its later stages, but the action scenes are fun and the wry sense of humour is a perfect fit for the cast and the tone.
This is an action franchise that still has plenty of gas left in the tank.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.