Movie Review 'Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation'

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I can’t help but to use cliches in yet another innovative thrilling high-energy adrenaline pumping action-packed summer blockbuster done right Mission:Impossible installment.  That’s right people, screw hanging on to your seat because you’re going to need to strap yourself in.  Rogue Nation does it right with countless practical stunts and nonstop top-notch action that keeps your heart pumping until the credits roll.  This might take the summer spot for best big-budget flick of the year!

Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION by Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions
Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION by Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions

It’s difficult to hold back by praise for Rogue Nation.  With action sequences on par to the best action films in the past, next to Mad Max of course, there is something to be said to eliminating most CGI fluff that has come to be status quo in big films of today.  These powerful scenes alongside strong story developments, twists and turns that still seem unpredictable, mixed with laughter and a solid plot is keeping Mission: Impossible relevant to the tough onslaught of giant action flicks in todays market.

An element that helps this film dearly is literally the sound.  Yep, the sound mixing.  Every gut punching hit, gun shot, or car smack is deafening and startling.  This can be overdone in some films feeling unnecessary, but Rogue Nation does this to make the audience feel each and every hit allowing the audience to have a huge sigh of relief at the end of each action sequence.

The media has been big to point out the number of stunt shots that Tom Cruise did himself without the use of CGI or a stunt double.  Most notably has been the opening sequence with Cruise hanging on for dear life of a massive carrier plane, which took 8 takes might I add, along with a crazy under water sequence that had Cruise having to hold his breath for up to 6 minutes.  The scene only allows for 3 minutes making the behind the scenes notes even more impressive.

While some scenes do indeed include some computer graphics, nothing appears over-the-top or unbelievable.  There are of course some items that any action film will seem perhaps at a little far-fetched, but Rogue Nation has managed to stay humble yet still just as impressive of any other movie.  Fight sequences are easy to follow with not too many cuts allowing the action to immerse the audience a little more than a crazy metal-twisting 28 shot wrestling move in Transformers. Just as I said foe some other recent movies, it’s refreshing.

While Rogue Nation incorporates twists and plot developments just as well as any Mission: Impossible, the story remains easy to follow whilst not being too simplistic.  It may be a little dumbed-downed to the highest common denominator unlike the first film in the franchise, it has enough going on to keep the audience engaged, but more importantly, entertained.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation enters screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (“Edge of Tomorrow”, “Jack Reacher”, “Valkyrie”) who has become the first screenwriter to also direct a film in the franchise allowing for a well-paced tight packaged movie.  It’s a much different movie than the first, yet much more polished and raw than the second and third films while follows a look and feel that was found successful in “Ghost Protocol”.

Ethan (Tom Cruise) and his Impossible Missions Force aka IMF are forced to go rogue as the CIA seeks out Ethan whom is now in hiding.  Ethan is able to gain his team of agents trust, which have now been forced to work for the CIA, in an effort to secretly stop a world terrorists organization, Syndicate, and their leader Mr. Lane (Sean Harris).  The team is faced with many challenges including who to trust.  Ethan must prove double agent Isla’s (Rebecca Ferguson) loyalty in order to accomplish their mission.  I’m going to leave it at that as part of thrill and appeal to each Mission: Impossible installment is the unraveling of the story.

It’s isn’t the first time we see a movie or show that went the rogue/undercover route to continue a story arc, but it is one that’s told it right.  In fact, many comic book films have gone this route including ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, but it almost seems as a necessary task or passage for a spy genre to continue on.  At a moment it may seem you may know this story all too well, fortunately Mission: Impossible is capable of enough twists and surprises leaving the “already been there done that” feeling a distant memory as the movie continues.

Returning in Rogue Nation are Ethan’s IMF team composed of tech guru Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), and O.G. Luther Stickell (Ving Rhams) who has been around since the first film.  All of them play pivotal roles that seem necessary inclusions to the film.  CIA head operative Hundley played by Alec Baldwin is added allowing for some hilarious moments and balances out the movie perfectly as never being sure if he is one to be trusted.  It’s a solid ensemble of a cast that fortunately didn’t get too complex or over populated.

Pegg’s character is able to be more than just the comic-relief as McQuarrie has written in plenty of a clever memorable one-liners for the others keeping the film level headed and far from taken itself too serious.  Even Rhams gets to have a brief monologue nearly breaking down the 4th wall of the believability of Ethan’s character.  There were many moments an audience full of laughter and post-joke clapping.  Then again, this was a screening possibly with people close to production, but it’s also important for you yourself to make light of some of the ridiculousness.

As spy and heist movies, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation has what you should be looking for.  The standard breakdown of events and obstacles for the heist to be a success is forewarned in a series of quick shots reminiscent of the “Oceans Eleven” series and those countless other heist movies before it.

Setting apart from other like-films, Rogue Nation is able to staying quick, witty, and engaging throughout the entire 2 hour 11 minute running time.  Not having a dull moment, yet not becoming a bore with redundant action, makes the latest installment stand out.  Even the biggest most advanced action sequences in todays cinema can become tiresome and repetitive showing that too much can be a downfall.  Here we see creative scenes leaving you waiting in anticipation of the next move.

Tom Cruise shooting the airplane stunt for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions
Tom Cruise shooting the airplane stunt for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions

Most notably the motorcycle/car action sequence is filled with an abundance of risky stunt move after the next with absolute brutal bailouts and cringe-worthy hits.  Along with impressive practical car stunts in a tight cityscape are numerous high-speed motorcycle stunts being as elaborate as they are, they also never come across as far-fetched.  This goes back to the practicality of everything making nearly every scene believable even though there is no possibility the actors are this capable nor this lucky to be unscathed from another vehicle.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation takes us on yet another fascinating impossible feat of wowing the audience allowing for us to put aside any qualms of Tom Cruise’s personal life and just be entertained.  Cruise is still in fantastic shape making most of us probably envious of his physique. A franchise nearly 20 years old is and still capable of being fresh.  It’s a movie that knows exactly who it is and what it’s trying to accomplish. I cannot wait for the IMF’s next mission.