Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Tom Cruise

Simon Pegg

reviewed by Tom-Tom

starstarstarhalf star

 

The Mission Impossible film series is unique in that each film has been shaped by a different director. Christopher McQuarrie is the fifth director and screenwriter team (of one) to tackle the franchise. The presence of a true wordsmith is apparent in the hearing following the opening scene where Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) veteran who’s been doing this for at least 20 years, says more with a glance than others could with paragraphs after hanging on for dear life to a military jumbo jet while it takes off. In the hearing, William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) IMF field coordinator and Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) Director of the CIA are arguing for the future of the IMF cutting each other off and talking over one another. Baldwin as Hunley proves he hasn’t lost his effective gift for convincing diction. When he talks, we listen to his every word and McQuarrie’s excellent words make it a pleasure for us.

MI:5  has quite a few awesome set pieces which, unfortunately were all in the trailer. I feel I would have enjoyed the film a lot more knowing nothing going in. Hunt’s life is saved by a mysterious woman whose motives remained unclear to me to the very end. It could be the effect of having seen Ex Machina recently, though. The mastermind behind the Syndicate, a sort of SPECTRE of the MI world. “An Anti-IMF,” IMF computer specialist Benji (Simon Pegg) comments solemnly. Benji has more of an expanded role in this film as does Luther (Ving Rhames). Well, more than his virtual cameo in the fourth film.

The aforementioned set pieces are all challenge levels to get something to get to the next stage of this virtual video game of a film. Tom Cruise as Hunt is always convincing. His insistence on doing most if not all of his own stunts is redolent almost of Jackie Chan. He runs, swims, hangs on, inexpertly jumps over a car, kicks, shoots, stabs, negotiates, gambles and is shot, stabbed, drowned, and given impossible choices to which he makes out of the box decisions. All the scenes he’s in are engaging and exciting which saves parts which get, um, a little too impossible.

I didn’t like the main villain (Sean Harris) so much. He looks the part with his cold vacant stare but when he speaks, his unintelligible rasp reminded me of the frustration I felt watching Tom Hardy’s Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.  Thankfully, there were Japanese subtitles to translate. There’s a nice twist towards the end which is the sort of intellectual and emotional payoff which can make most moviegoers forgive the trespasses of uneven earlier scenes with goons sporting the marksmanship of Stormtroopers. I mean, if you can’t mow down a shirtless, barefoot man running down a narrow corridor, you should find alternate employment.

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