"Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
For five movies now, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has been serving the Impossible Mission Force, bringing down major bad guys and foes to America, and sometimes the world. Throughout the five Mission: Impossible movies, Ethan and his team always do it in the most spectacular way possible, looking cool and slick as they hunt down the antagonists. However, I would say "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" is their coolest film yet. Not only is it slick and masterfully-shot, but writer-director Christopher McQuarrie, alongside Bruce Geller and Drew Pearce, present a fantastic spy thriller, jam-packed full of awesome stunts, amazing characters, and a thought-out, compelling story.
At the end of the fourth film. Ethan Hunt is tasked with bringing down the terrorist organization, The Syndicate, which is run by mad-man Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). However, when the Syndicate was able to infiltrate Ethan and the IMF, it is now up to him and his team, consisting of Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), and William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), who has fully joined the IMF permanently after the events of the previous film.
Even though it seems like the Syndicate is one step ahead of the IMF in every possible turn, there is one major factor that is affecting Ethan more than anything else, the beautiful and mysterious Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). Now, he must face his feelings for the beautiful agent, while also determining if she is on their side or not in this action-packed thriller that has some of the best stunt work in the entire franchise.
Cruise is just cool. There is no better way to describe him in this film. He is the guy every girl wants, and the badass that every man wants to be. He performs perhaps some of his craziest and most-awesome stunts in this film, including hanging onto the side of a departing airplane for dear life and holding his breath for a World Record of 6-minutes under water (at the time of writing this, Kate Winslet has since broken that record for her role in "Avatar: The Way of Water"). At the same time, his character is so perfectly written in this film. He wants to do everything he can to succeed and bring down the Syndicate, but his feelings for Ilsa just seem too strong. This is perhaps the first time (while it was briefly hinted at in the third installment) that we see Ethan wrestle with his feelings for two different sides of the spectrum.
At the same time, this is the best team-up we have had for a Mission: Impossible film. Rhames, Pegg, Cruise, and Renner all have fantastic chemistry with one another, and can easily play off each other so well. We also get Alec Baldwin added to the mix as CIA director Alan Hunley, who I think is an excellent addition to the franchise. They all are great together, and it simply works better than it has in any team-up so far in this series.
However, the standout character is easily Ilsa. There is something about her that just makes her so compelling. I'm not sure if it's the way she is written as a mysterious agent whose motives are unclear the entire movie or the subtle way that Ferguson plays her, but she simply is one of the best characters in the entire series. Her on-screen chemistry with Cruise is magnetic as well, both of them longing for one another but knowing it is impossible to be with one another. It's just so well-done, and I applaud McQuarrie for his beautiful writing and direction here.
At the same time, the plot is perhaps written perfectly. It keeps a steady, nice pace throughout the entire two-hour and change runtime, and keeps the viewer engaged and on the edge of their seats. I have mentioned in my reviews for the other Mission: Impossible movies that the plot seems sort of clunky and confusing for no reason, but it seems like McQuarrie and his collaborators have mastered the way to deliver a simple, yet complex plot that easily works for this movie. While it is perhaps the coolest entry in the franchise, I also think it is one of the most enjoyable, and I find myself grinning ear-to-ear every time I watch it.
The antagonist nature of Solomon Lane is also very interesting here. I mentioned in my review for "Mission: Impossible III" that Phillip Seymour-Hoffman does a great job of portraying a villain that is so heartless and evil; Harris tries to one-up him here. His role is just terrifying and very intriguing to watch. I think Harris was the perfect choice to play this character, and I couldn't have imagined anyone better to play this complex, evil character.
Bringing in McQuarrie to make this installment (as well as the future installments so far in this franchise) was a fantastic choice, as he easily delivers a fantastic spy thriller that gives fans of this long-running franchise everything they would have wanted. It's cool, slick, compelling, and tons of fun. I applaud everyone involved in crafting this thrilling spy masterpiece, and I hope McQuarrie and Cruise will come back to make even more of these films in the future.