Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Jingchu Zhang
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…has the dubious honour of being the blandest mission yet.
Mission: Impossible is a curious movie franchise. It’s a property based on a classic TV series, a trait that usually indicates a total lack of creativity behind the scenes, and yet previously employed a diverse group of directors including Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird. Each director left an unmistakably individual stamp on their entries; for better (Bird) and worse (Woo). This makes it all the more confounding when faced with the latest instalment, Rogue Nation, which has the dubious honour of being the blandest mission yet.
Ethan Hunt (Cruise) returns with colleagues, Benji (Simon Pegg), Luther (Ving Rhames) and Brandt (Jeremy Renner) to face a mysterious global terrorist organisation called The Syndicate. Yet again the IMF is in the political doghouse for their gung-ho ways and Hunt must fly under the radar to face off against the enigmatic Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). There’s nothing particularly wrong with the shop-worn premise, and indeed the first act has a few stellar sequences (the attempted assassination during a session of Turandot at the Venice State Opera is memorable), however it’s not long before the action gets bogged down in lengthy scenes of talky nonsense and absurd plot contrivances.
That’s not to say a Mission: Impossible film needs to be even remotely plausible, but Christopher McQuarrie’s direction is so unremarkable that there’s no energy to the piece and the whole story takes way too long to unfold. It’s not a total loss; Simon Pegg is delightful as usual and Tom Cruise proves he’s still a leading man, even if he spends a baffling amount of time shirtless and exercising. Less successful is new character, Ilsa Faust (yes, that’s Rebecca Ferguson’s character name) who is basically a long-legged plot device with great taste in shoes.
We’re told, repeatedly, that the stakes are high but it never really manifests in the story and the action sequences feel overly familiar and executed with little panache. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation isn’t the worst blockbuster released this year (that honour goes to Terminator: Genisys) but it’s a rather ordinary one, that never rises far above the level of competence. It can be your mission, if you choose to accept it, but there are many superior options for your entertainment dollar.
Special features include a host of featurettes taking yoiu behind the scenes on the action as well as a commentary with Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie.