Now this is what Hollywood blockbusters are all about! Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) returns in the fifth chapter in his long-running action series that’s high on action and espionage, yet never exhausting. And, rest assured, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is no exception – offering plenty of thrilling action and enough intrigue, twists and turns to keep everyone guessing.
The film opens with an unbelievable stunt showcasing the impossible as plausible as only Tom Cruise can; dangling perilously off a carrier plane chock full of nerve gas and piloted by Chechen separatists. But this stunt is just the tip of the iceberg for the mounting problems that IMF is facing. IMF is about to become obsolete, because of the collateral damage they inflict when operating around the world. It is the last straw for the U.S. government, and besides, there’s the other covert intelligence agency, the CIA. The face behind the removal of the clandestine IMF– Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin). Hunley meets alongside William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) at a Senate hearing to decide the fate of the IMF.
Needless to say, Hunley succeeds, leaving the the former IMF operatives with little choice but to get gobbled up by the CIA. Ethan Hunt, however, follows his own agenda. Remember the amazing stunt involving Chechen cargo from earlier? Well, Ethan thinks it might be related to a string of seemingly unrelated acts of terrorism around the world, all leading back to the Syndicate – an enigmatic terrorist organization bent on chaos around the world. The only problem is that nobody can verify this group even exists, not even Hunt.
He’s the conspiracy theory lunatic trying to convince the rest of the world that there is a network of baddies trying to bring chaos to the world. Well, things start to get real when Ethan is taken hostage by the Syndicate after he comes face-to-face with the man who’s possibly behind the organization, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) in what was supposed to be a simple covert assignment briefing at a record store front.
While in the custody of the Syndicate Ethan meets the menacing “Bone Doctor” (Jens Hulten), a mysterious Syndicate operative with a propensity for sharp knives, and former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who may or may not be on Ethan’s side. With these movies you can never be sure who’s with who, or even who IS who.
Hunt, now on the lamb and working solo, continues to obsessively track down the Syndicate, hoping to bring their actions to light and take them down. Hunley, hot on his heels, attempts to bring Hunt in with the help of former IMF William Brandt. Ethan seeks help from Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), also currently working with the CIA, and secretly communicates him to obtain files on CIA operatives that that might have a connection to the Syndicate and have either gone missing or died.
Ethan sends Benji to the Austria State Opera House to tail Solomon Lane, the strange figure that Ethan ran into before he was kidnapped. In a great segment that pays tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s Royal Albert Hall Scene in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) Ethan and Benji must stop a possible assassination attempt on the Austrian Prime Minister. OK, the scene isn’t entirely a Hitchcockian rehash, though it keeps the spirit of that scene alive, bringing elements that are pure Mission: Impossible that comes together as a brilliant homage to a classic scene (musical assassination attempt and all!).
Tom Cruise is in top form and shows no signs of slowing down, or wear and tear, despite his age creeping into the mid-50s. The action scenes are precise and a damn good time, with Cruise doing what he does best – commanding the screen and doing insane stuff that you’ll start wondering what else he can do to please the audience. Who could ask for more? And don’t worry, Ving Rhames fans, he’s in this film as well, refusing to join the CIA and joins the story much later.
By the way, kudos for castling Rebecca Ferguson to the mix, who plays the captivating Ilsa with such perfection, enigma, and subdued beauty – what a scene stealer!
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation exemplifies not just what a good action film can be, but also how much fun and explosively entertaining a summer blockbuster should be. Writer and director – as well as frequent Cruise collaborator – Christopher McQuarrie constantly finds intriguing and creative new ways to thrill audiences, and the action never lets up. Rogue Nation is definitely one of the best action films this summer and one can’t help but give a resounding cheer when this exciting ride comes to an end, the applause loud enough so studios can give us more Ethan Hunt and his team in the future.