Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, is the fifth installment in the popular Mission: Impossible film series. The movie stars Tom Cruise, who reprises his role of the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) agent Ethan Hunt, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, and Alec Baldwin in the pivotal roles. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is co-produced by J. J. Abrams, David Ellison, and Tom Cruise himself. The movie takes us on yet another global adventure--from Vienna to Morocco to London--as Hunt and team try to bring down an international criminal organization called the 'Syndicate'.
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation begins with Hunt getting one-upped by the Syndicate just when he thinks he is very close to nabbing them. Although, Hunt barely manages to escape their clutches thanks to some unexpected help from an undercover MI6 agent, the CIA disbands the IMF while declaring Hunt a rogue agent. Hunt is on the run, hunted by both the Syndicate as well as his own. His only hope is his old IMF team members: William Brandt, Benji Dunn, and Luther Stickell. Together they must succeed in stopping the Syndicate criminal mastermind Solomon Lane from executing his evil master plan and in proving the IMF's indispensability to the CIA.
"Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is a lot closer to the 007 films of yore than the most contemporary James Bond films"
The movie is essentially a throwback to the first two films of the MI franchise--Mission: Impossible (1996) and Mission: Impossible II (2000). Also, the influence of the classic James Bond films cannot be overlooked. As a matter of fact, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is a lot closer to the 007 films of yore than the most contemporary James Bond films, which, because of their over-dependence on the plot elements, lack not only in action but also in style and adventure. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation doesn't have a dull moment; it is as mainstream and as commercial as one would expect an 'MI' movie to be. And, to McQuarrie's credit, the screenplay and the direction are both topnotch for a film of its kind.
While doing justice to the regular characters of the franchise, McQuarrie surprises us with a few new ones: Ilsa Faust (played by Rebecca Ferguson), Solomon Lane (played by Sean Harris), and Alan Hunley (played by Alec Baldwin). While Harris plays the part of a criminal mastermind with great subtlety, Baldwin displays his characteristic swagger while essaying the part of a no-nonsense CIA director. But, it is Ferguson who steals the show while playing the enigmatic caricature of a kick-ass femme fatale. Among the regulars, Cruise and Pegg outshine the rest. While Pegg makes yet another memorable outing as the geeky field agent, Cruise picks up from where he left in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011). At 53, Cruise looks fitter than ever and is able to pull off stunts that men half his age would think twice before attempting. His chemistry with Ferguson is a major highlight of the movie.
"At 53, Cruise looks fitter than ever and is able to pull off stunts that men half his age would think twice before attempting."
Overall, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation can be seen as an emphatic continuation of the 'MI' legacy. The movie also comes across as the best action flick of the year, thus far, with the possible exception of George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Among several adrenaline-pumping action sequences, the riveting bike chase sequence, filmed in Morocco, which brings back memories of the famous bike chase scene in Mission: Impossible II, remains head and shoulders above the rest. Another sequence which deserves a special mention is the one wherein Hunt jumps on to a moving airplane about to takeoff from the runaway. The movie is technically brilliant: be it cinematography, music, or editing. The cinematographer Robert Elswit deserves a special mention for capturing the night beauty of the city of the present-day Vienna (the eerie beauty of the city has been earlier captured in films like The Third Man and Letter from an Unknown Woman). Another highlight of the movie is Joe Kraemer's musical score that incorporates Lalo Schifrin's thematic material from the television series, thereby oozing with a kind of retro feel. The movie certainly has its share of flaws and inconsistencies but then the willing suspension of disbelief does have its rewards. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is a must watch for the action movie enthusiasts as well as for the fans of Tom Cruise.
A version of this article was first published at A Potpourri of Vestiges