What makes another Mission Impossible film worth seeing almost 20 years after the first in the franchise? Cinema Siren tells you in this spoiler-free review that talks about Simon Pegg, the power of Oscar winning writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Newsome, and World Record holder Stig Severinsen, all in under 3 minutes:
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MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION is the fifth in the franchise. You’d think the whole thing would get stale and old by now, but it’s not, and i’m going to tell you why.
It’s been nearly 20 years since we were introduced to Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, leader of the Mission Impossible team. We all remember the oft-imitated and spoofed scene in the first movie where a prone Cruise had to hover inches off the floor in a harness. What a fuss it made, and ohh how far we’ve come.
Christopher McQuarrie, who cut his scriber teeth by writing and winning an Oscar for THE USUAL SUSPECTS, both shares a screenwriting credit and directs Cruise, as he did in the hyper violent JACK REACHER. He also wrote Cruise’s under-appreciated THE EDGE OF TOMORROW, subtitled LIVE DIE REPEAT. ROGUE NATION, and the entire Mission Impossible franchise, could have been called Live, Die a Fake Death, Avenge, Repeat. It’s more or less the same story, of a team of experts risking everything in a dangerous secret mission, with the help and/or hindrance of a femme fatale with Hunt taking extraordinary and exciting chances. ROGUE NATION is no different in that respect. What is different is its lighter general tone, due in large part to increased screen time for Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn, the well played and highly enjoyable pairing together of Pegg and Cruise, and co-stars Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames in most scenes, and the upped ante of insanity and the white-knuckle tension of stunts that Tom Cruise himself performs.
Simon Pegg is like cowbell. There’s no film that can’t use more Simon Pegg. McQuarrie knows this and builds a beautiful character arc for Pegg’s role as Benji Dunn, essential to which is a strong brotherly bond between he and Ethan Hunt. The only other original 1996 MI team member, Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell, is once again a welcome face to his legions of fans, balancing intensity, smarts, and sarcasm as he plays against Jeremy Renner’s straight man character William Brandt. Newcomer Rebecca Ferguson, the spitting image of a young Jacqueline Bisset, is striking as Ilsa Faust. She believably pulls off both leaping up and snapping a villain’s neck, and climbing down a drainpipe in an exquisite yellow gown.
We know because Tom Cruise is still with us that he survived filming the action sequences, but as part of hanging onto the side of a plane lifting off, they worried most of debris or a bird hitting and killing him, a very real threat. To prepare for an underwater action sequence, he studied free diving, and learned to hold his breath for over 6 minutes. (World Record holder Stig Severinsen held his for a seemingly impossible 22 minutes) As crazy as it seems, Cruise committing to doing all this makes sense.
Say what you like about his dubious personal profile in the press, Tom Cruise is impossible to not like and respect in his work in Rogue Nation. In a world filled with stunt doubles, knowing Cruise is doing all his own driving, motorcycling, free diving, and other stunts like hanging off a plane, connects you to his character and the actor himself. He makes the film undeniably exciting on multiple levels.
Mission Impossible Rogue Nation gets a B+. The only reason it isn’t an A is we’ve seen it all before. But they make more than possible to enjoy it all again.