Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) Directed by Christopher McQuarrie. With Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris and Jeremy Renner. 

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After twenty-years of ‘did-I-just-see-that?’ stunts and white-knuckle action, Tom Cruise could be forgiven for taking it easy in this fifth instalment of the secret agent series. Of course, it’s hard imagine him doing anything remotely easy in life, whether it’s in front of the camera or behind, he’s a man on a mission.

Christopher McQuarrie co-writes and directs, as the focus of the film shifts to a covert organisation, out to bring about general chaos and usurp the powers that be. In truth, the plot mechanics of these films have never seemed overly important, just so long as they are intriguing enough to help set up the volcanic eruptions of face melting action, that blatantly, we’re all here to see. What a new ‘Mission‘ film needs to be, is bigger and better, and emphatically, Rogue Nation is both.

It’s true that over the years, there has been a consistent imbalance with the ‘Mission‘ films, in as much as story and character have struggled to live up to the impressive set-pieces designed draw us in. Once again, with Rogue Nation, spectacle is king, with some frankly astonishing feats played out on-screen that seem to skirt genuinely close to edge. It makes portions of the film so thrilling, that we’re ready to overlook the seen-it-all-before plot, which as per, deals in ghost organisations, double-crossings and false identities.

As Ethan Hunt, Tom Cruise is like an unstoppable force of nature, bounding around the screen with the raw enthusiasm of a 18-year-old with everything to prove and nothing to lose. He’s like a tidal wave of commitment that sweeps you along, no matter how unwilling you are to comply. That, coupled with an undeniable star quality mark him aside as the go-to-guy for this stuff, even in a crowded arena of Bonds and Bournes.

Cruise is well supported by some familiar faces, most prominently, Simon Pegg’s Benji Dunn, a character enjoying his third ride-along with Cruise – the joke of their unlikely partnership now much less pronounced and much the better for it. The most notable newcomer is Rebecca Ferguson playing Ilsa Faust, a female version of Ethan Hunt, of sorts, who adds a welcome dynamic to the series and a clear acknowledgement that action movies are turning a corner, in terms of the gender balance. She’s great fun too.

While I could never say that I outright loved a Mission: Impossible film, I can happily say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll look back on it, remembering the death-defying feats, above any occurrence in the plot, but when the tempo and pace of the action are orchestrated with such electricity, this is one mission you’re better off choosing to accept. 4/5

About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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16 Responses to Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. Chris Evans says:

    Some great thoughts Gareth, glad you enjoyed Rogue Nation – I rate it as highly as the previous film (Ghost Protocol) and even felt it was better than (gasp) Spectre! Everything seems to work, the characters, the plot, the tone (the odd beats of humour come at the right moments and never jar).

    Good news is that McQuarrie is returning for the next instalment…but what deadly stunts and mind blowing set pieces can they come up with next?!

    • garethrhodes says:

      Thank you Chris, it’s great to have these films to escape to, every now and again. They seldom stay with me, but the pump of adrenaline I get when sitting in front of a big screen, watching Tom Cruise risk his life for my entertainment value, is hard to deny.

      It’s great news that McQuarrie is returning, he did a fine job. He’d be the first director to work on more than one film, so far in the series too, so they’re obviously very happy with him at the wheel.

    • jimbelton says:

      Interesting. I also preferred it to Spectre. I can’t put my finger on what was wrong with the Bond film. The parallels between the two are striking, but somehow, Rogue Nation came off as both truer and funner for me.

  2. Lloyd Marken says:

    Yeah real example of style over substance. While I think the original is the only real complete film I have to say I really liked this one. I’m interested to know what was the stand out set piece for you Gareth? It is the opera house for me. My God Rebecca Ferguson, what a star making turn.

    • garethrhodes says:

      I’d have to go with the road chase, as a point of pure adrenaline. The opera house was magnificent, though, and perhaps more fun. You’re right about Ferguson, I loved the way they wrote her in, as the equal to Ethan. The series needed that.

      • Lloyd Marken says:

        Yeah it’s a great car chase. Bond could learn a thing or two given that chase in Spectre. :-/ Have you seen Jack Reacher? That also has a great car chase with Cruise.

  3. princessennui says:

    I felt the same way when I watched it a month or two ago. I wasn’t entirely excited about the movie, but Tom Cruise (and the rest of the cast) carried the hell out of the movie. I was impressed even though, as you pointed out, its been done before.

    • garethrhodes says:

      It’s just better to lower your defences and submit to the hit of pure adrenaline. Over time, these movies won’t last to be seen as all time greats, but this one especially, is so potent in terms of what it offers in thrills and spills. Great to hear from you. 🙂

  4. Mattamatix says:

    Great review, really like the way the way you write.

    The motorcycle sections were a true spectacle.

  5. Great review. I’m glad that the MI franchise is still going on strong and hope that Ferguson will return for the next one. I still love the climbing on the outside of the building in Ghost Protocol.

  6. filmfunkel says:

    So, assuming they Roger Moore Cruise out of the franchise – but keep the franchise – who do you think will play the new Ethan Hunt?

    • garethrhodes says:

      Blimey, it’s mission impossible to think of anyone else doing it the way he does it. At a push, and because he’s SUCH a tough act to follow, I’d do a gender flip and give to a woman. Maybe he can go out in a blaze and hand over to Rebecca Ferguson in the next one.

  7. movieblort says:

    Glad that someone else found as it entertaining as I did. I had a lot of fun with this film, and I think a lot of people were too quick to dismiss it.

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