Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – Review

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Starring: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie

The IMF has been disbanded as a result of its recklessness and Ethan Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) whereabouts are unknown. Hunt believes he can prove the existence of the ‘Syndicate’, an ‘anti-IMF’ organisation responsible for orchestrating terrorist attacks and coups across the globe. Pursued by the CIA, Hunt seeks to recruit his former team and track down the man at the head of the Syndicate.

Following 2011’s excellent and franchise renewing Ghost Protocol was always going to be a difficult task, however director Christopher McQuarrie has succeed in creating the best Mission Impossible movie yet.

The problem with Ghost Protocol was that it hit its climax with the stunning Dubai tower scene and then seemed to fall flat. Not the case with Rogue Nation. The expected climax that was teased in the trailer of Tom Cruise literally hanging of the side of a flying plane, is just one brilliant scene of many. Pick any point of Rogue Nation and it could be your favorite: from the expertly choreographed assassination intervention at the opera, to a suspenseful and  heart-pounding underwater infiltration, to the adrenaline pumping high-speed motorcycle chase – Rogue Nation thrills from beginning to end.

Cruise, now 53, shows no signs of slowing down. His enthusiasm and  commitment to practical stunt work automatically injects a bolt of adrenaline and realism into any action franchise he touches. He is truly one of the last few true ‘movie stars’.

A usual Tuesday afternoon for Cruise.

Cruise’s cohort are also excellent. Pegg, now established as a staple character in the MI franchise brings the comedy as expected, but also delivers when it comes to more dramatic scenes.  Renner and Baldwin play of each other well, delivering quick one-liners. Baldwin is also well utilised with more meaty scenes for his character than expected. Likewise, Ving Rhames has a far larger role in Rogue Nation, acting as a protective influence over Hunt.

However the scene stealer of Rogue Nation is by far the relatively unknown Rebecca Ferguson. Ferguson brings a perfect balance of femininity and  assertive confidence to her role as disavowed British agent, turned Syndicate operative, Ilsa Faust. At no point does Ferguson need to adopt masculine tropes to be believable as an agent who can overpower her male counterparts. I expect we will see much more of Ferguson in the future.

Keep your eye on Rebecca Ferguson

With the exception of Phillip Seymour Hoffman in MI:III, the villains in the Mission Impossible franchise have always been lackluster. Unfortunately this is again the case in Rogue Nation. Sean’s Harris’ character, Solomon Lane, as the head of the Syndicate, is never quite menacing enough, nor physically imposing enough, to come across as a true threat, and his lack of character development make his motivations seem cliche’d. The movie is also a tad too long, as concentration begins to waver in the final act.

These criticisms however, are relatively minor in what is otherwise a near perfect action-thriller. Rogue Nation successfully blends the best elements of the first Mission Impossible and Ghost Protocol, creating a balance of suspenseful espionage and double agents, with adrenaline pumping action against a backdrop of huge set-pieces. This is enhanced by an enthusiastic and committed cast, making Rogue Nation one of the most enjoyable films of the year. Check it out.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

 Pick up the blu-ray here.

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4 comments

  1. I totally agree. Especially about Rebecca Ferguson
    She was shining high light in this movie. As a woman I have grown tired of these stereotype female characters, that act strong in the beginning, just to fall apart in the middle and to be saved in the end by the male protagonist. I really enjoyed how Ilsa was portrayed as a strong woman, that knows her business and does not need to be saved. In the fight scene near the end, I was waiting for the movie cliche to come true and Tom Cruise rush in to help her. So I was positively surprised, when that did not happen, but she instead resolved it on her own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment Julia, that’s a great point. Likewise, there was no eventual romantic relationship between her and Cruise which was refreshing. Usually with strong female characters there also has to be a scene where she puts her skills on ‘display’ in order to convince her male counterparts to take her seriously. That wasn’t really the case in Rogue Nation, which was great. All the characters accepted at face value that she was a serious threat.

      Like

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