Nov 16, 2015

[Movies] Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)

The Mission Impossible movies more often than not feel like Tom Cruise's efforts to make James Bond style movies without being all British and stuff. Time and time again the biggest complaint about these movies has been how it was all about Cruise and not so much about a team of specialists working together as was the spirit of the original TV series. But don't get me wrong, they're still pretty entertaining in their own way.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is the latest installment in the series and a testament to Cruise's continued efforts to stay in shape and somehow do most if not all of his stunts even at his age. Kudos to him and all for the sort of discipline that needs to go into such work, but man it still gets a little freaky when you really think about the fact that he's over 50 years old.

As far as the different MI movies go, this one didn't feel quite as fun as some of the prior ones. Or maybe it's starting to feel rather formulaic to the point of being ridiculous.

Synopsis: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is the fifth movie in the Mission: Impossible movie franchise. The movie was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who has a bit of a lengthy history of working with Tom Cruise.

The movie starts with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) being rather determined to confirm the existence of the Syndicate, some sort of internationial criminal consortium that seems to be active worldwide and yet has escaped notice by intelligence agencies like the C.I.A. Just when he feels he has some solid leads to bring to his superiors, he is actually captured by the Syndicate and is set to be tortured for information. However his escape is aided by a member of the Syndicate who also seems to be a former MI6 agent, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson).

Elsewhere, CIA Director Alen Hunley (Alec Baldwin) manages to maneuver things in such a way that he gets the Senate to vote to disband the IMF and fold its operatives into the C.I.A. command structure. And while Ethan has managed to escape from the Syndicate for now, without the IMF he's pretty much a rogue agent without support. Of course this won't prevent him from reaching out from his former IMF colleagues in order to aid in his investigation of the Syndicate.

First, Tom Cruise is super scary. That first scene with him shirtless and being tortured made it very, very hard to believe that he's 53, and in a very good way. But at the same, a number of the scenes felt a little self-indulgent like the whole movie was a way for him to show off and present just what he is capable of.

Rebecca Ferguson felt like an unusual choice as Ethan's sort of Bond girl style love interest. She's a competent enough actress I'm sure, but the way they had her act in this movie felt a little off. There was the effort to be calm and professional or whatever you expect from an American view of MI6. Putting her together with Tom Cruise didn't exactly result in good on-screen chemistry, which again took away from things.

On the plus side, the movie did have some very clever fight choreography throughout the movie. There were a good number of moments that had our various actors seem lime the were dancing as they had to fight without disrupting an opera and all the other fun bits worked into the movie. Seriously, those moments were absolutely brilliant and that helped keep the movie going well.

But then you have the trope-y moments like the big "heist" style operation in the middle of things that sort of becomes the focus of the movie. We've had such scenes in pretty much every movie and this one still had to keep that involved in things. We have Ving Rhames being Ethan's long distance support as he grumbles over whatever else he's juggling at the same time as the operation. And you have lots of moments of Ethan being intensely involved in the woman who could either be a friend or a foe but that won't be clear until the end. It has gotten a little silly over the years.

I am glad for the likes of Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner being involved in this movie. Sure, we expect Pegg to be funny given his history as a comedic actor, but then you also have Renner being an unusual source of comic relief despite being the Field Operations Director for the IMF. In the long run, it still worked, and I was glad for it.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is a decent action romp and has its share of good points and bad points. However we could probably stop this franchise before it gets too tired of its own cliches and movie on to other ventures. And so the movie gets 3.5 crazy mission moments out of a possible 5.


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