A Film review of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
I am not a Tom Cruise guy. I haven’t been since that really odd display of possibly manufactured emotion on Oprah back in 2005 regarding now ex Mrs. Cruise. I continue to be turned off to this actor when more stories regarding Scientology’s handling of its highest ranking member break through to the normal news cycle. Despite whatever personal distaste I may have for him, I cannot deny his ability to flex the full muscle of an undeniable Hollywood star and its ability to propel any film into the upper atmosphere. Granted, Cruise hasn’t exactly been setting box offices on fire recently with nice successes that seemed to have had much more potential: Edge of Tomorrow (2014), Oblivion (2013), Jack Reacher (2012) and Rock of Ages (2012). Still, Mission: Impossible is Cruise’s franchise, and he knows how to make Ethan Hunt wow audiences with irrational stunts, epic set pieces and strenuous physical excursion for the screen. No one in Hollywood runs better on film than Tom Cruise.
Rogue Nation is another fine addition to the Mission: Impossible saga that makes no attempt to bite off more than it can chew in the action genre. There may be a slight bit of commentary regarding the state of global security in there, but for the most part, it’s (still) all about Ethan Hunt saving the world by kicking butt (with some help from his friends). This being the fifth film in the franchise and seeing more familiar faces doing the same things they’ve done before makes the story feel all too familiar. Paramount certainly hopes familiarity breeds reliability (at least in terms of ticket sales), which certainly seems to be the case so far as Rogue Nation is poised for a strong global run after an impressive opening weekend at the domestic box office. As entertained as I was by the constant onslaught of visual stimuli, I feel that Ethan has come to full fruition as a character and has no more “story” in him beyond mentorship. Come to think of it, I wonder why we haven’t seen Hunt step into that role by now even if the powers that be haven’t deemed the very worthy (but often passed over) Jeremy Renner as next focal point for the franchise. MI still has some fuel left in the tank so long as the next installment takes a long, hard look at going to new places plot-wise; perhaps even the possibility of Ethan actually losing for once.
I honestly don’t care what percentage of the stunt work, driving, combat, etc. may or may not have been actually done by Tom himself because it all looked terrific!
The shear variety of the types of camera angles at work, underwater sequences, dynamic tracking for car chases and of course the intro plane sequence ensures the audience only brief breathers to catch up on some exposition.
Tom Cruise is Ethan Hunt in every way. He brings the intensity and he brings the enthusiasm. But he also needs more to do than always beating the bad guy.
Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames are reliable sidekicks. Jeremy Renner is woefully underused. Alec Baldwin has some slick cameos. Watch for Rebecca Ferguson to become a major player in Hollywood films to come! Oh my, Sean Harris. Did they ask you to be another bland, uninteresting villain with zero passion and expression?
The reliable remixes of the classic MI theme are always welcome if not a bit repetitive. Unfortunately, Hans Zimmer isn’t walking through that door.
Everything seems to sound as if it should, but nothing spectacular is occurring here.
“Moving” = 26/33
Some of the more fantastic stunts like “the plunge” underwater sequence and multiple car cartwheels were brought to you by some very fine CG work.
The focus on practical effects in this film is ever apparent. The best examples of these were car chases, collisions and crashes. Explosions weren’t particularly impressive.
I understand that spies need to blend in with the crowd, but that also means designers can’t get crazy with characters’ looks. Everyone’s look fit their characters well enough.
Hair & Makeup
Ethan Hunt certainly takes a beating in this film. I only wished that it looked like everyone else was afforded that same opportunity.
London and Vienna were presented with prototypical European lavishness while Morocco gives the audience a nice dusty contrast.
There’s some very good set design going on from court rooms, to concert halls as well as secret bunkers and tech centers.
“Picture” = 25/33
The Impossible Mission Force faces off against its version of James Bond’s “Spectre” called “The Syndicate.” Meh.
Spies figuring out what they are fighting for and why it’s worth it after they seem to get burned by their allies is an interesting internal conflict. Fighting each other seems slightly less so in this film.
Neither surprising, nor satisfying. Anyone who has seen a Tom Cruise film (let alone a Mission: Impossible film) can project the ending.
Every character plays off of Ethan’s charisma quite well, while Benji grows an unexpected pair. Solomon Lane is too cryptic to be menacing though.
So Ethan has to save the world from what? Bad people doing bad things with a ton of money? And why is this syndicate so bad ass? It’s all bit too muddled. Or is it too boring?
Ethan is a super cool super spy. Ilsa is a super hot, undetermined ally or enemy. Solomon is a garden variety villain.
I can sympathize with the frustration that comes with a seemingly no-win situation. I can also get with not wanting to expose one’s friends to unnecessary risk. I don’t understand wanting to turn someone to your side only by showing them up with no attempt at bribery and not directly threatening their lives at any point.
“Story” = 19/34
Overall MPS Rating: 70/100
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is a very entertaining, action heavy, cinematic adventure that’s equally compelling to Tom Cruise fans as well as casual action film fans. If you’re looking for some solid popcorn outside of the super-hero game, check this out at your local cinema. Don’t even think about springing for IMAX or REAL 3D tickets, though.