“MI: Rogue Nation” is the best one yet
The “Mission Impossible” franchise is far different from the ordinary spy thrillers or even the Bond films for that matter. For the past entries, there is a certain formula it has been following even right from the first film. Have one intense set piece after another and care little of the plot. This is very clear in the first film as most of the story is hard to follow but it depends on how well you pay attention in order to connect the dots. “Rogue Nation” is a step up as it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where it improves.
Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt and honestly, the series is nothing without him. Tom’s commitment to the stunt work really shows that no matter what hurdle his character comes across, there’s a way to achieve it. This is clear in the opening heist when Ethan finds himself hanging on for dear life to a cargo plane taking off into the air. There is something very refreshing to see a practical stunt at play and shows how brave some actors can be to ditch the blue screen. Dare I say Ethan’s character feels more like a daredevil than a spy at times but how many moments he puts this life on the life. Truly a vast improvement of the character.
Another big highlight that is worth the admission price is Simon Pegg as Benji. The tech wiz is back and more prominent than ever. What works well is Simon’s chemistry between Tom as comedy clashes with action in a beautiful yet very entertaining way. When these two banter on screen, it never drags and establishes where they stand. Benji is almost like Ethan’s conscious trying to veer him from this dangerous stuff even when he knows the only way to perform the dangerous task is to do it. There is never a moment that went by when I wished the comedy between them would end. It perfectly blends solid character depth and comedy that is better than any buddy cop movie to date.
The plot is a near improvement but I still feel less is more. A mysterious man known as the Syndicate (Sean Harris) plans to cause an uproar around the world even when he’s already doing it. Despite the amount of build up to this antagonist and a near chilling performance, I felt there should have been more scenes with him to establish the menace more. I also say near chilling because at times Sean’s voice feels like a whispery Marlon Brando that is trying to be eerie and sinister. It just came off a touch bothersome but then again, the focus is on our leads more than the problem.
Rebecca Freguson also joins the ride as Ilsa Faust, a spy that is attempting to gain back her place in the world while serving as help to Ethan. The chemistry between these two is sleek and sexier than Mr. and Mrs. Smith by how much they play off each other. One or the other knows they are in for a double cross as they try to remain one step ahead while showing how much they care for each other. As Ilsa fights for an identity, you keep asking just who side she is one while admiring the romance and how clever she can be in a tight situation.
The biggest highlight of these movies are the stunts and boy, they outdo every single one from the past films. To mark down each one would be ruining a child’s Christmas gifts the day before so I will only use one as an example. There’s an scene when Ethan and Benji have to stop an assassination at a opera house in Vienna, Austria. In a sense, the way its filmed rivals the finale to The Godfather Part III (which I feel is criminally underrated thank you very much) as the fist fights and operatic score match the action on screen. A perfect blend of art and blockbuster fun that rivals Mad Max: Fury Road.
From each action set piece that comes by and for every gadget that is seen, I never wanted “Rogue Nation” to end. In fact, the climax is far different from the usual “blow up” as we get a much quiet alternative. Some might want something to top the helicopter subway tunnel chase from the first film, but this ending works too. I won’t spoil too much but it leaves the door open for another entry than rather end with a bang and wonder how they will think of a way to top the last entry.
Let me tell you, this summer has been an explosive one and if I had to pick three movies that were the “cream of the crop,” they would be Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World and this one. In terms of which one delivered more, surprisingly this one. While I was highly satisfied with an amusement park of dinosaurs and an artistic apocalypse, I felt there was more to “Rogue Nation” that had me sold. You have great performances, a perfect balance between humor and drama along with the right amount of explosions and intense stunt work to give you the perfect summer movie. Should you choose to accept that ticket to this must see flick is on your part but I couldn’t be more happy to see a nearly flawless action film.
Posted on August 1, 2015, in In Theaters (Sort of) and tagged Action, Ethan Hunt, Mission Impossible, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Simon Pegg, Spy, Summer Blockbuster, Thriller, Tom Cruise. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.