Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
It’s been 19 years since Mission: Impossible 1 first came out. There have been 3 other sequels. And Tom Cruise is 53 years old (gasp!). All very good reasons to think that the franchise is at death’s door. But not so! From the moment the movie starts it’s clear that this is one of those treasured big-budget movies that work. You know it, and the hooting-and-whistling theatre audience does too.
This time Ethan Hunt’s Impossible Mission Force (IMF) is up against 2 adversaries: a mysterious, malicious organization known as the Syndicate (touted as an Anti-IMF), and America’s beloved CIA, which has decided that IMF is too unstable to be safe and is pushing to shut it down. Ethan is helped by a trusted group of allies – the gadget guru Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), analyst-turned-operative William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), computer whiz Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and the alluring but unpredictable Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) who may or may not be a double agent. Together, they use their martial skill, physical prowess, and the shiniest gadgets to track down and eliminate the head of the Syndicate – the villainous Solomon Lane (Sean Harris).
There are a few things that make Rogue Nation stand out.
For one, it’s got a genuinely thrilling storyline and a screenplay that plays with novel physical elements and action sequences. Writer/Director Christopher McQuarrie has worked on the script for three other Tom Cruise hits – Edge of Tomorrow (2014), Jack Reacher (2012), and Valkyrie (2008) – and seems to have the knack of writing engaging action.
The other thing that Rogue Nation has is Simon Pegg. We first met ‘Benji’ the computer guy in Mission Impossible III, and he’s worked his way into the core group since then. And for good reason. He’s hilarious! He is the perfect comic relief to slip into the middle of an epic action sequence.
On the negative side, Rogue Nation is a LONG movie (1 hour, 10 minutes) and you’ll be pretty spent by the end.
Still, the film is without doubt one of the better action blockbusters this year and has all the Mission: Impossible trademarks (e.g. breaking into a top secret vault), plus a few new twists to keep things exciting.