There is something inexplicably timeless about both this franchise and it’s lead; they both just keep going and somehow it still works. Despite crossing over the dreaded half-century line since the last installment Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise still manages to churn out the hits; this one the most bombastic yet. He can’t take all the kudos however, perhaps the series could have stayed afloat with just Cruise, but what’s elevated it to new heights are the increasingly important roles it’s supporting cast play.
Rogue Nation once again includes Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg, the latter of which proving to any doubters that despite humble beginnings, he can more than handle the pressures of immense Hollywood productions. In his second outing as IMF (Impossible Mission Force) field operative Benji Dunn, Pegg is elevated from timid computer geek to a suave, fully involved contributor to the efforts to once again do the impossible and save the day. Praise must be reserved also for Rebecca Ferguson, who plays Ilsa Faust, the main female character opposite Cruise & Co. She gives a powerful performance as a deceptive British agent, and it’s truly refreshing to see a modern action film where the female lead is shown to be just as capable as her male counterparts, if not more so.
The premise of the film is fairly simple; Ethan Hawke (Cruise) has been gathering evidence to prove the existence of a multi-national terrorist cell, The Syndicate, and as he progresses further down the rabbit hole, things get more and more dangerous. The powers that be believe Hawke has been in the game so long that he’s now creating problems for himself to solve, and that The Syndicate is a figment of his imagination. Due to his renown for reckless tactics, the IMF is shut down, and Hawke becomes a CIA target. Now Hawke must take down The Syndicate both to prevent further terrorist actions, and to exonerate himself and his team. All the while the mysterious Ilsa Faust repeatedly helps Hawke, but then at the drop of a hat does everything possible to prevent him from reaching his goal.
So we’ve seen this formula before, the action/thriller genre has tried to change it over time but all the basic ideas are there:
Good Guys vs Bad Guys, some iterations:
One of the bad guys has a change of heart and helps the good guys
One of the good guys is secretly a bad guy, they inevitably get shot/fall off a cliff/get crushed by the Arecibo Radio Telescope
Good guy falls in love with bad guy, bad guy helps them then takes a bullet for them/disappears forever. Good guy becomes very bitter, a revenge sequel ensues.
More recently, everything is grey, no one knows who’s good and who’s bad, it’s all very violent.
While Rogue Nation doesn’t deliver anything particularly unexpected, it still manages to feel fresh. The variety of stunts (some of which are truly mind-blowing), and different characters that take part in the action makes for a very engaging couple of hours. Rather than being all action, it has a nice ebb and flow to it, so you can enjoy the finer plot points, but still be forced to edge of your seat when Tom Cruise is trying to hang on to the side of a military cargo plane.
Dir: Christopher McQuarrie
Scr: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin
Prd: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Tom Cruise, David Ellison, Don Granger
DOP: Robert Elswit
Music: Joe Kraemer
Run time: 131 mins
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is in cinemas now.