Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) Director: Christopher McQuarrie
“Hunt is uniquely trained and highly motivated, a specialist without equal, immune to any countermeasures. There is no secret he cannot extract, no security he cannot breach, no person he cannot become. He has most likely anticipated this very conversation and is waiting to strike in whatever direction we move. Sir, Hunt is the living manifestation of destiny—and he has made you his mission.”
Mission Impossible has proven itself to be that rare franchise which only gets better with age, and Tom Cruise’s image as a slightly unhinged celebrity (cue the scientology memes) has somehow continued serving his status as the leading action star of the 21st century. And the fifth Mission Impossible installment is no exception –here, we see Tom Cruise dangling off the side of an airplane as it takes off, plunging hundreds of feet into a swirling whirlpool, nearly drowning, and whizzing around in a high-octane motorcycle chase. This series has managed to overcome modern trends with regard to unending zombie franchises which inevitably grow stale and lift the modern action movie out of the doldrums and away from the likes of the Fast & Furious franchise.
In Rogue Nation the future of Impossible Missions Forces (IMF) hangs in the balance. There is now increased scrutiny come over the IMF as CIA Director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) seeks to shut down William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and the whole IMF division. Meanwhile, contra skepticism within the CIA, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is busy trying to prove the existence of a shadowy organization known as “The Syndicate” filled with rogue operatives. Along the way, he is forced to go into hiding and evade capture by the CIA. He meets a covert double agent named Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a twisted torturer known as “The Bone Doctor” (Jens Hultén), and the head of the Syndicate Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). The film takes us from Havana to Casablanca and we are treated to a classic Hollywood opera house shootout (perhaps a nod to Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much), an intense underwater ploy to steal a disk containing details on the Syndicate, and a kidnapping of the UK Prime Minister. The many twists and turns bring Ethan Hunt back together with his old IMF team of Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) as they dramatically hunt and capture Solomon Lane in a gratifying conclusion for the fifth Mission Impossible film.
As with Ghost Protocol, I thought Rogue Nation was another surprisingly compelling movie, a rare achievement for a 21st century action flick. With flashes of Jason Bourne’s ingenuity, James Bond’s theatrics, and Jack Ryan’s everyman heroism, Ethan Hunt’s Mission Impossible is a terrific rollicking thrill ride.