‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’ Review: Ethan Hunt Goes Rogue

Posted in The Screening Room by - August 01, 2015

Arguably the franchise most associated with Tom Cruise, the Mission Impossible films have maintained a strong following by consistently upping the ante, giving audiences interesting twists on the spy genre, and providing excellent casts. Rogue Nation changes the formula a bit by making the IMF a target of an investigation but keeps the core items that made all the previous films successful. It also reunites Tom Cruise with Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie, building on their excellent debut together.

Rogue Nation follows our IMF friends as they are investigating the mysterious Syndicate, a rumored organization comprised of various international agents who were presumed dead or missing. The United States government has broken up the IMF due to their unorthodox methodology and doubts the Syndicate’s existence while Hunt leads them on a wild goose chase. The Syndicate is an interesting foil for the IMF since they provide a level of danger that rivals Hunt’s own expertise and have vast resources at their disposal. Joining Tom Cruise’s Hunt are the returning Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames (the only actor other than Cruise to appear in all the films), and newcomers Alec Baldwin as the CIA director, with Rebecca Ferguson playing the Syndicate assassin, Ilsa Faust. 

The first half of the film has the patented Mission Impossible set pieces, with the most notable being an underwater server fracas that truly has you gripped to the edge of your seat as the seconds tick down. Tom Cruise brings his intensity in another excellent performance, with Rebecca Ferguson’s breakout role another highlight. Her constantly shifting allegiances make her difficult to figure out but she is every bit Hunt’s equal, making their pairing an effective one. The rest of the cast does a solid job, especially Simon Pegg’s constant source of comedic relief to add some levity to the dire events occurring throughout the film.

Sean Harris plays the the big bad, Solomon Lane, and while his performance is quite unnerving, I never felt he was truly an unbeatable foe for Hunt. He was more brain than brawn, but seeing him in the field a bit more would have made him a more menacing villain. However, his raspy voice and unsettling look made him memorable. The only real complaint with Rogue Nation is that the villain’s logic for assembling the Syndicate is flimsy, and the constantly shifting motives of certain characters makes it difficult to understand who is pulling which strings, leading to some convoluted narrative in the latter half of the film. 

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is another strong entry in the franchise, proving that there is a lot of life left in the IMF crew, and Tom Cruise is still one of the transcendent action stars of the present. Full of large set pieces, a memorable cast, and intriguing plot, Rogue Nation demands your attention, fitting nicely as a summer blockbuster with some actual depth.

Final Say: Watch It

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He's a native Texan (YEE-HAW) who loves everything Michael Bay has ever touched. When he's not blogging, he's working on his mobile app, BoxHopp, or tinkering with his fantasy football lineups.
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