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