With the Impossible Missions Force disbanded and its agents declared rogue, Ethan Hunt et al pursue the elusive ‘Syndicate’ terrorist outfit across the globe whilst staying one step ahead of the pesky CIA…
I have to be honest from the outset – I have never been a huge fan of the Mission Impossible franchise. Despite the best efforts of Hollywood heavyweights Tom Cruise and the future saviour of the Galactic Empire JJ Abrams, it cannot escape the ever spreading shadow cast by the 007 steam roller. I appreciate it may not take itself seriously relying more on Simon Pegg’s comedy outlet Benji but this shift did happen halfway through the series when they realised what they had – or rather, did not have.
As soon as the trailer dropped for M:I Rogue Nation, everybody was talking about that scene. He may regret it already but Tom Cruise has set a precedent for pushing the boundaries and performing his own spectacular set piece stunts. In fact, it may be his last redeeming feature. Initially, this was merely an expressive platform to reintroduce the character for M:I II (tearing shoulder ligaments solo climbing the Grand Canyon) but has been up-scaled in every adventure since, culminating in Ghost Protocol’s free climb of the Burj Khalifa. The sight of Tom Cruise clinging to the outside of an Airbus as it takes flight left me with goose bumps and was the primary motivation for me to go and see M:I Rogue Nation and although its impact has not been diluted, it is a high point of the film despite occurring pre-opening credits.
Spectre, Quantum, Hydra… erm, the Rescue Aid Society; shady terrorist organisations are the bread and butter of a good spy yarn and the elusive ‘Syndicate’ offer the IMF a text book foe – handy on motor bikes, proficient in torture, matching wardrobe – but their ace in the hole is the man in charge, Solomon Lane, embodied by offbeat character actor Sean Harris. Lane is a rogue MI5 agent himself slurring and purring his dialogue as he attempts to outfox Hunt to some dodgy government funds held in off-shore bank accounts. Perfectly pitched for sinister roles, Harris offers something fresh to a vacancy typically occupied by stereotypes of disillusioned KGB operatives or South American cartel lords.
Penned by Flemming or Le Carre this is not but Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie plough on regardless and the entertainment of a Mission Impossible movie can always be found in its McGuffin fuelled madness. Clearly drawing inspiration from recent spy fare, particular stand out scenes in Rogue Nation involve a trip to the Vienna Opera House for an assassination attempt in tune with Turandot and Nessum Dorma and high speed thrills through the tight streets of Casablanca little more than five minutes after Hunt was technically deceased. And if that doesn’t blow your mind, the mystery of how Shaun Riley went from the Winchester to front seat of an Ethan Hunt car chase will.
Ok, so Tom Cruise is not the draw he once was. Scientology and grand delusions of Jack Reacher proportions put paid to that but his unique ability to raise the stakes and create scenes that truly are breath taking (even more so in the green screen CGI world we live) is worth the ticket price alone. Alec Baldwin, Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner are sadly underused (read: disposable) but Simon Pegg is slowly becoming the real draw (more so for English fans I assume) and I am now in love with Rebecca Ferguson. This franchise has received a shot in the arm from Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation ticks all the boxes leaving you excited for the next instalment…
Ramblin Entertainment Rating? 4 / 6
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