On the hunt for the elusive ‘Syndicate’ in London, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise, admirably unfatigued) realises that they’re onto him, and not only that, they’re three steps ahead of him at his own game. At the same time, the C.I.A. (led by Alec Baldwin, terrifically uptight) have reached the end of their tether with the unorthodox methods and messy results of the IMF, leading them to shut them down. Which leaves Ethan with no support, hunted, and seeking the head of the terrorist organisation, hoping to shut them down before they shut him down. Mission Impossible, indeed.
I’ve seen the first three of the Mission: Impossible movies but not the critically acclaimed Ghost Protocol, which is a shame because I love me some Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg. Fortunately, they reprise their roles in Rogue Nation, and with some aplomb. Renner is the king of finely walking that thin line between surly and charismatic (and look how pretty!!!), and Simon Pegg, whilst he appears in a few too unfunny ‘comedies’ for my liking, was born to play the comedy sidekick that he does here, and the bromance between him and Cruise carries extremely well on screen. In another Summer action blockbuster I watched a few weeks ago, Ant-Man, Michael Peña served a similar role, and he, too, lit up the screen whenever he was on. It’s no coincidence that I was amused and entertained by M:I5 and Ant-man throughout.
The story is, as with Fast and Furious 7, flimsier than a Victoria Secret bikini and a barely-veiled excuse to line up noisy action sequence upon action sequence. But, as with F&F7, the action sequences themselves are so thrilling, and so textured, so bombastic, that as soon as the film started and we were launched into Cruise jumping onto a moving plane, I was just hooked.
The introduction of Rebecca Ferguson as a British undercover spy who Hunt may or may not be able to trust, was an inspired piece of casting: at 31, she’s still great to look at (dat lime green dress at the opera), but she’s considerably more experienced than the naïve ingénue, and as such, much more believable in her kick-ass role. The fight scenes where she and Cruise collaborated to beat up the baddies were incredibly satisfying. A cameo by Tom Hollander as the Prime Minister also made for a diverting watch.
Overall, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation raised the bar for action films; I wasn’t able to keep my eyes off the screen. Excitement buzzed in every frame, from an adrenaline-pumping motorcycle chase, to Cruise jumping into a security system immersed deep underwater with only 3 minutes worth of oxygen and an extremely tense finale sat around a London cafe. Furthermore, whilst in the three M:I movies I’ve seen, I definitely didn’t doubt Hunt’s dedication to the cause for defending his country, a pleasant addition in Rogue Nation was the lengths he went to to protect his friend Benji.
I know I’ve already used the word ‘bromance’ in this review, but the bickering and banter between Cruise and Pegg was a delight to watch, and added some much-needed levity between all the life-risking.
I’ve namedropped a few 2015 action movies in this review, so one more can’t hurt. Sam Mendes’ follow-up to his last James Bond movie, Spectre, is out in October, and the trailer has me salivating, not least because the movie boasts the rather beautiful Léa Seydoux playing a doctor. If that lives up to the previews, then 2015 is going to be the most illustrious year for action movies since… I don’t even know when. Thrilling stuff!