Featuring not only the best car chase sequence this side of Mad Max: Fury Road, but also the best practical effects and stunts since the aforementioned post-apocalyptic explosion-fest, Rogue Nation is yet another fine entry in the Mission: Impossible franchise. It’s not quite as effective as 2011’s series best Ghost Protocol, which gave Tom Cruise’s ageing vehicle a welcome boost with its dazzling skyscraper action, but the formula is so well oiled by now that Rogue Nation zips by with the assured confidence of a seasoned veteran. Tom Cruise has still got it.
The action is simply quite spectacular, and whilst a much publicised, discussed and picked apart airplane stunt which sees Tom Cruise dangling from the side of an airborne jet is the poster child for the movie, that one moment alone is by no means all that the film has to offer in the stunt department. Not with Tom Cruise around, who gallantly throws himself into punch-ups whilst teetering above the stage of an opera house, and later shows baffling lung capacity for a single shot underwater sequence, which is both spectacular and preposterous.
Excellent though the action is, the script on the other hand is more of what we’ve all come to expect from a Mission: Impossible movie. Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is on the prowl for his next mission, if he chooses to accept it, and arrives at a secret IMF location to receive his orders. But – uh-oh – an international organisation of criminals know as The Syndicate is on to Hunt and takes him hostage. Double uh-oh, as in the mean time Alec Baldwin’s CIA director is busy disbanding the IMF for their perceived lack of results, leaving Hunt’s life in the hands of Rebecca Ferguson’s Bond Girl-esque Ilsa, who may or may not be on the side of The Syndicate.
It’s a plot that serves its purpose, without bringing anything revolutionary to the table. By its very nature it also sidelines much of Hunt’s expanded IMF team for large swathes of the movie, though Jeremy Renner’s Brandt has some fun moments with Alec Baldwin, and Simon Pegg excels in his comedic role as Benji to lighten the mood significantly. The relationship between Benji and Hunt is already well established by this point in the franchise, allowing the pairing to hit it off instantly – more of the same levels of interaction between Hunt and the likes of Renner’s Brandt, and Ving Rhames’ Luther would have been welcome.
Sean Harris brings the film’s big bad Syndicate head Solomon Lane into proceedings with a cool, calm and collected chill not entirely dissimilar to that of Javier Bardem’s villain in Skyfall, but he’s thoroughly outdone by the intriguing Ilsa, who flip-flops from the side of The Syndicate to the side of the disbanded IMF heroes. Rebecca Ferguson is a welcome addition to the franchise, and holds her own admirably alongside Cruise, who slots back into his role with a his standard charm and charisma.
It’s not going to shake foundations, or pull up any roots, but director Christopher McQuarrie’s Rogue Nation is without a doubt worthy of the mostly good name of the Mission: Impossible franchise.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation slots comfortably into middle-to-upper reaches of the franchise, with outrageous stunts, bombastic car chases and double-crossing galore.
This review will self-destruct in five seconds.
Rating (out of 5):