Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris

Rated: PG-13 (sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity)

Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.

 

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

By Matt Greene

“I’ve heard stories about you, but they can’t all be true.” It’s understandable for someone within the “Mission: Impossible” universe to say this, skeptical of the many adventures of Ethan Hunt. In what may be the most consistently exciting franchise ever, he has been thrown onto a moving train, leapt between two skyscrapers, and scaled the tallest building the world, and that’s only a few of his escapades. With Rogue Nation, the high-octane stunts-extravaganza is continued with operatic skill and thrill. What should be just another generic spy film is made cheer-worthy through crowd-pleasing action and loads of slick fun.

Much of the success rests on Cruise’s shoulders. He is easily one of the most committed stars in Hollywood, continuing the wonderful 2015 trend of practical effects, doing many of his own stunts. Our hearts pound because we sense the very real danger these people are in. Though Rogue Natiion may not have the single greatest combat scene in the franchise, it gives you the most bang-for-your-buck, rarely letting up long enough to let you catch your breath. When it does slow down, the tension is often cut beautifully by the cast, whose comedic beats between the excitement bring a nice respite.

Otherwise, when the movie quiets down, the specifics of the plot and the not-intended-as-comedy dialogue drag a bit. Some mild cutting of superfluous scenes, specifically when focused on the weak villain and when unnecessarily objectifying the one woman, would’ve helped with the over-length. Mostly, though, the visuals, humor, stunts, and brilliantly iconic music kept me smiling throughout. Your mission, if you choose to accept it: see Rogue Nation.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

By Cole Schneider

The Mission Impossible machine delivers as much consistent fun as any franchise today. It’s everything the Fast and Furious franchise tries to be. Each episode in the action serial has been essentially the same. Each has Tom Cruise. Each has the same narrative beats (internal strife, spy stuff, mystery elements, more spy stuff). Each has a mission that turns out to be more improbable than impossible.

The difference has been that each has been helmed by a different director with different styles and strengths. Some of the biggest names in the game have been in charge: Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams, Brad Bird, and now the most untested of the group, Christopher McQuarrie. He doesn’t (yet) have the name recognition the others do, but he nonetheless brings his own style to the movie. The dialogue in this 5th MI film is the sharpest of the series and it’s no surprise it comes from the Oscar-winning writer of “The Usual Suspects”. The visuals are crisp too, with some of the most assured action sequences of the year.

“Rogue Nation” is great, though, mostly because of the mainstay. This is Tom Cruise’s movie. He’s a weird dude, but he’s a helluva movie star. His commitment to his stunts is unparalleled in today’s Hollywood, his charisma oozes confidence and wit, and he embodies MI’s Ethan Hunt far more than Sean Connery, Roger Moore, or Daniel Craig ever embodied James Bond. McQuarrie and supporting actors Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, and Simon Pegg are great, but this is Cruise’s movie and he owns every scene.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

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