Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – 4.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

mission impossible rogue nationMission Impossible: Rogue Nation – 4.5/5 – There’s so many things that draw people to a film that is deemed to be action oriented.  There is an expectation that it will be filled with a lot of explosions, stunt, car chases and hand-to-hand combat.  In most of these films, there is a lacking of any good characters, dialogue and story. Every once in a while, there’s a film that breaks the standard experience and present itself as not only a summer blockbuster, but one that defies possibilities and injects a strong story, characters and spy oriented themes to make it a great summer blockbuster.  Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation gives you a lot of great sequences, but goes beyond the amazing visual eye candy is a film with character/story drama that will put you on the edge of your seat.  This is one of the best action films of the year, and one of the best in the series.

Premise: On his most impossible mission yet, Ethan Hunt and his team must eradicate the Syndicate while also being ‘on the run’ from the CIA. With their backs against the wall with this most formidable foe, will Ethan and company be able to save the world once again.

In the lead role of Ethan Hunt you have actor Tom Cruise.  After four movies you would think he would just be doing the typical thing actors do; ‘phoning it in’.  At his age and this point, it is expected, but he doesn’t.  You are proven wrong and verifiably so.   Mr. Cruise as Ethan Hunt shows he has become fully integrated in this role in this fifth installment.  He presents a very harden but conspicuous person; someone who seems to be on the edge of losing his mind but also knows there is something evil hiding in the shadows (in this film).  Caught up in one of the craziest mission of his career, Ethan Hunt must prove that a ‘rogue’ Syndicate exist; but also must do this while being ‘hunted’ by his own government.  What makes this role one of his best to date (in the series) is he has full command/ believability in this role.  He shows his top tier like skills as a IMF agent while also showing humanistic flaws in both his mental capacity and wit.  There is (on the surface) a sense of insanity in his action, words and interactions; but also a sense of purpose with his decisions.  He leaves in question whether or not he can actually foil the plot without losing everything in the process.  When it comes to the rest of the cast, you have familiar faces with some new ones, including the villain:

Jeremy Renner as William Brandt

Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn

Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust

Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell

Sean Harris as Solomon Lane

For the returning cast (Renner, Pegg and Rhames), they fall into their roles seamlessly.  Being mostly supporters to the ‘overall’ Ethan Hunt vs. Syndicate storyline; they do enough to add flavor comedy, suave and spy intricacy in this film.  They help prop up the story, and show you purpose of the story within this film.   With the new cast, there are typical side characters with a couple of standouts.  That will be the female lead Ilsa Faust and the villain Solomon Lane.  Rebecca Ferguson is in the female lead, and she is a breath of fresh air.  Not only does she provide a strong female character, but one that is a formidable ally and foe to Ethan Hunt.  She is a double agent; one that is playing both sides.  You never know which side she is truly allied too.  This creates a great dynamic between her and Ethan Hunt, knowing that there is many layers of trust that is a double edge sword.  Not only is the dynamite relationship believable and raw; but she is also a formidable agent when it comes to the action.  Quick, suave and all around dangerous, you definitely are cautiously rooting for her when she is face to face with certain characters.  Sean Harris does a great job as the villain Solomon Lane.  He adds a depth of sophistication that pushes the cliche ‘action’ villain out the window.  He’s someone that lurks in the shadows while also being one step ahead of our protagonist.  His smarts create a sense of true villainy.  You see that he is beyond a ‘standard’ evil, someone that has purpose in the actions he takes.  This creates a sense of raw fear that there might be actual truths to his mission.  This layer creates another dynamic for the film that is layers the spy story.

The direction gives you the basic outline of any typical action/spy film.  You have:

First Act – ‘Big action’ prologue leads into Introduction of protagonist, antagonist and story elements

Second Act – String of action sequences while revelation of extra characters, story elements and ‘good vs. evil’ type of scenario

Third Act – Revelation/twist revealed, Spy/action elements upped intensity.  Final confrontation with villain with absolute/rhetorical ending

As mentioned, this film plays along the basic outline of the previous films.  Even in its generalization, it does break the mold from the previous films as well.  There is a sense of ‘dire situations’ even from the first scene.  Along the paralleling sense of story and characters, the action sequences and set-pieces flow with great fluidity.  The pacing of this film is probably the best I have ever seen in an action film to date.   As the film moves between the action oriented themes and the ‘story’ elements of Ethan Hunt unraveling the truth behind the Syndicate; you see mastery in the direction, molding one element with the other.  The action is as important as the story, and vice versa.  As Hunt is ‘on the run’ again from his government (with IMF disbanded by the CIA); he has to not only fight against his most formidable foe in Solomon Lane, but also fight to prove his innocent and truth against his own government.  As he falls deeper into this rabbit hole of conspiracies, he enlists former agents along the way, while also having to form a ‘shaky’ alliance with Mrs. Faust.  This adds ‘depth’ to the layers of the action and the story, while also weaving a great web of conspiracy found in any great spy film.  As more evidence unravel and truths become certain, Ethan Hunt sets out a daring/intricate plan that will either end with a ‘pseudo’ end of the world scenario or (out of his insane thinking) will play right into his hands and reveal the truth of Syndicate to his government and the world.   The final act is a great mixture of action, spy thrilling intensity and overall ‘spy vs. spy’ scenario.  As convoluted as some of the story elements become, the climax is one layered chess game, one that sheds truths and flaws in both Hunt’s and Lane’s goal, while playing against a visual mastery of action, drama and characterization.  Once you get to the finale, the climax captures the essence of what it means to be on the edge of your seat.  You might be curious of the Ethan Hunt’s actions, but the unpredictable nature of his choices throughout the film keep you from actually predicting what will happen in the end.  When the epilogue roles, it is great ending to what is a masterpiece of an action blockbuster.

The cinematography is great eye candy combined with realistic places.  The visuals are a great combination of luscious and aesthetic feelings.   From the amazing exotic locales to the claustrophobic urban landscapes, you’ll never have a dull moment, visually.  The score is the ‘iconic’ musical theme placed against ‘intense’ orchestra music.  The familiarity doesn’t dull the experience.  It enhances it as being a stand out of its own kind.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is that Summer Blockbuster that has all the flash and pizzazz, but goes further with an enticing premise, story and characters.  Themes are strong, tone is heavy and the pacing is precise.  If you’re looking for that great summer experience, with some really good characters and story this is one for you.  Tom Cruise is at his finest in this film.  A bravo experience, as you will be on the edge of your seat till the end.

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