Movie Review - Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
A gambler is a person who engages in an activity or venture with no knowledge of the outcome but who bets that he can guess it. This is the definition of risky behavior, except the problem arises when you walk into things blind or unprepared. The conclusion, therefore, has to be the opposite where Ethan ends up engaging in an activity where he absolutely knows the outcome because he's pulling the strings and controlling the variables.
Tom Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt, an agent of the IMF organization. He's like an American James Bond but is more designed to do death-defying stunts to accomplish extremely bold missions of gathering intelligence in order to stop terrorists or other enemies of state. He's well-trained in martial arts, ballistics and acrobatics.
Simon Pegg co-stars as Benji Dunn, a member of the IMF team and now a close friend of Ethan. Benji is particularly skilled in computer technology. He's a really good analyst and has risen to become Ethan's right hand. He's also this film's comic relief.
Jeremy Renner also stars as William Brandt, a member of IMF who has been taken out of the field and is more involved with tactical support. He now hangs back and monitors missions. He's called to testify in front of a Senate panel, as the CIA director Alan Hunley, played by Alec Baldwin, insists that IMF be shut down and that Ethan be arrested.
The hunt for Ethan hunt by the CIA isn't really depicted. The majority of the film is about Ethan hunting a terrorist named Solomon Lane, played by Sean Harris. Solomon leads Ethan into a trap and instead of killing him, Solomon wants to use Ethan for some unknown reason. It's up to Ethan to exonerate himself to the CIA and stop Solomon's plan whatever it may be.
Rebecca Ferguson co-stars as Ilsa Faust, an agent with the British government whom one isn't sure is a good girl or a bad girl. In terms of training and capability, she is the equal to Ethan Hunt, but from beginning to end, Ethan is kept wondering if he can trust her or not.
Pivoting around this sole, female character, McQuarrie crafts a highly-skilled thriller and a very energetic, action film. It globe-hops as well as any other. It's paced excellently, and the set-pieces are occasionally clever and edited smartly.
It's the best action film of the year. It's elevated above the dumb and over-sentimentality of Furious 7. Its characterization, depth and relevance is brimming more than Mad Max: Fury Road. It doesn't necessarily escape the nostalgia and retread nature of Jurassic World, but its acting and writing are miles above.
If it fails in any regard, it fails in not surpassing the previous installment in this franchise. This film is not better than Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, and for no other reason than the action set-pieces here are not as impressive as in the prior Ethan Hunt adventure. The opening stunt, while demonstrating Cruise's thrill-seeking bravery, doesn't integrate into the plot. It exists only as an empty show-piece.
The Opera House sequence in Vienna, Austria, is great, and the under-water sequence at the Power Plant in Casablanca, Morocco, immediately followed by an ultra, high-octane, motorcycle chase, is one that I will probably remember for a long while if not forever. However, none of it trumps the center-piece of Ghost Protocol, and that is the Burj Khalifa.
Four Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for action and violence, and brief partial nudity.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 11 mins.