Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation
This: It’s just wonderful to go into a movie with no preconceptions or expectations and to be pleasantly surprised. Despite its serialistic title, Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation manages to stand very well on its own.
To get you up to speed from the old TV show, Jim Phelps died in Mission Impossible 1. At that point, Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) took over as the principal agent of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF). You know the drill, they do impossible missions.
In Rogue Nation, IMF is being transferred to the CIA by Secretary Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin.) His reasoning is that the special team is simply outdated and really reckless, having barely foiled a plot to sell nerve gas to terrorists. So the head of IMF, Agent William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) reports to the Secretary who wants Ethan Hunt brought in for questioning.
Ethan is actually tracking down a terrorist group called (get ready) the Syndicate. More on this ultra-original name later. Ethan‘s only clue is a drawing of a villain who almost kills him. (Evidently Ethan has a really photographic memory.)
Since IMF is shut down, Ethan is officially rogue and must secretly track the mysterious villain and the Syndicate by secretly getting the help of his IMF team.
Ok, this plot, complete with an evil group called the Syndicate and the agent gone rogue, is so overused that it’s become cliché in the world of espionage movies. The fun of Rogue Nation is that it takes this cliché and piles more clichés on top of it, creating a fantastic suspense movie through excellent acting and filming.
So, we have the classic Espionage-during-an-opera sequence, where Ethan is fighting for his life above a Viennese production of Turandot. The music is beautiful and the action is just as well-orchestrated. This sequence leads to another sequence, and another, and you get the idea. In a classic car chase scene, we don’t just get a car crash, we get a car flipping end over end with the riders in air bags until it comes to a stop. There are robotically mind-controlled people, a beautiful deadly mystery agent, and best of all, the whole Mission Impossible team complete with Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) in a cocky fedora.
I haven’t had so much fun watching an espionage movie in a long time. Simon Pegg as the computer specialist of the team gives a perfect touch of high tech to IMF, just like in the TV show. Heck, the opening sequence with Agent Hunt walking through the city with the title coming up ‘Starring Tom Cruise” makes you feel like you’re watching the TV show.
But amazingly, none of this is overdone. The fedora is worn at just the right angle, the Syndicate is cruel without being silly or overly seedy, and Alec Baldwin even uses the words “wanton mayhem” to describe the team’s recklessness, but it all just comes off for some reason.
And Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt has a way of using a gesture or an expression, even the tensing of a jaw muscle in one scene, to let us and his cohorts know that something is up. Also his wild-eyed look is even scarier in middle age, sort of like Clint Eastwood.
All of this makes Rogue Nation a perfect summer movie, and with little profanity and no steamy gratuitous sex scenes, leaves us to enjoy sophisticated espionage, just like old times.
Rogue Nation is rated PG-13 for knife fights, tranquilizer darts, a pointless killing, and wanton mayhem.