How often is it that movie franchises that get a mountain of sequels still offer great experiences by the fifth entry? Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation feels like a film that was made with a lot of effort to buck that trend, because the final product is one of the most enjoyable films of its type in some time, and will provide a fun time for longtime fans of the series and newcomers alike.
The plot once again follows Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), a top agent of the Impossible Missions Force. Hunt starts the film attempting to gain more information on a shadowy criminal organization known only as the Syndicate, but his probing results in the head of the Syndicate, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) capturing him with the intent of torture. Hunt gets a lucky break when one of Lane’s own agents, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), helps him escape, but finds himself without any help from fellow IMF agents, due to a skeptical CIA higher-up (Alec Baldwin) disbanding the organization.
Six months later, Hunt, who’s been in hiding, tricks his colleague Benji (Simon Pegg) into attending a Vienna opera with the chancellor of Austria in attendance, as he believes the syndicate is aiming to take out notable figures. In the process of stopping the assassination attempt, he encounter Faust again, who claims to be defecting from the Syndicate. From there, Hunt, Faust and Benji set out to obtain information on the Syndicate’s members, leading a plentiful amount of creative set pieces, from an underwater infiltration to a chase involving both cars and motorcycles.
The film succeeds both during its various action-packed scenes and downtime that progresses the story, due to great ideas and execution for the action and witty dialog for conversations. In terms of characters, Faust’s constantly shifting allegiance and trying to figure out her true agenda is enjoyable, and Hunt and Benji have some fun back and forth moments of dialog. It does feel like Hunt’s two other agent colleagues who join the action later on (Played by Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner) weren’t given a lot to do in the film’s later portion, though.
The action is where the film truly shines. Chances are that you’ve seen the incredible shot of Hunt holding on to the side of a plane as it takes off, but that’s just in the first five minutes. The scenes that follow it are either fast and exciting, like the vehicle chase, or tense and gripping, like the assassination attempt and a scene where Benji is held hostage. The only gripes are that there’s the occasional moment here and there where shots were cut a bit too rapidly, and the final confrontation feeling more subdued than the creative end of Ghost Protocol, the last entry in the series.
Even though these flaws are there, they didn’t actually come into mind until specifically setting out to look for some nitpicks for this review. Honestly, Rogue Nation is truly enjoyable from beginning to end. While it doesn’t set out to reinvent the spy action film, it fine-tunes it with great results. It’s also fine to newcomers to the series, as there aren’t really any story elements that would require knowledge of prior entries. If you like good blockbuster summer films, there is absolutely no reason not to check this out.