Monday, August 3, 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)

Review #1,200






THE SCOOP
Director:  Christopher McQuarrie
Cast:  Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames
Plot:  Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate - an international rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.

Genre:  Action / Adventure / Thriller
Awards:  -
Runtime:  131min
Rating:  PG13 for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity.
Distributor:  United International Pictures

IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
“Desperate times, desperate measures.”

The movie opens with an audacious airplane sequence that sees Tom Cruise hanging on for dear life outside a plane that is taking off.  That's him alright.  No visual effects or a stand-in stuntman.  His enthusiasm for doing stuntwork himself even at an age of 53 is very rare in Hollywood.  And it is with this knowledge that we as audiences find a different kind of thrill in this latest ‘Mission: Impossible’ flick. 

It is a thrill marked by fear (for Cruise's safety and well-being) which translates into awe and suspense.  This has been a hallmark of the franchise, with Cruise's continuous involvement as the main star more valuable than you think. 

In contrast, CGI-laden blockbusters owe their excitement (or lack thereof) to what is conjured up on the green screen – that is the thrill of imagined spectacle, not of visceral fear.  All these point to another M:I movie that is uncommonly tense, and a throwback to the old-school way of making big movies. 

Christopher McQuarrie, writer and director, clearly knows what the old-school way is.  After all, he was responsible for the underrated 1970s-inspired action picture Jack Reacher (2012), starring Cruise in a vintage V8-powered Chevrolet Chevelle. 

In Rogue Nation, he gives Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt a mission seemingly impossible to pull off without dire implications.  Plot-wise, it may be more of the same for someone like Ethan, but the stakes are raised terribly high, and you might think his luck would finally run out.  But he is a man of incredible faith and loyalty to his cause and friends. 

Cruise's physical performance is exciting to see, as McQuarrie throw almost every action movie staple at him, but not without elaborately devising some truly breathtaking sequences of suspense, the latter best exemplified by an underwater task that is the equal of the unforgettable Dubai skyscraper segment in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011). 

Another sequence of note involves a live opera, as Ethan tries to stop snipers from assassinating a state leader during the performance, giving me fond memories of the finale in Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956).  In sum, Rogue Nation is a reminder that this franchise still has wits and legs. 

Verdict:  Tom Cruise's exciting fifth outing as Ethan Hunt is a reminder that this franchise still has wits and legs. 

GRADE: B






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