Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is not only one of the best films in the popular MI franchise; it also bolsters the fact that Tom Cruise is truly one of the few actors in Hollywood that can genuinely be considered as a true movie star. Cruise consistently delivers the goods to his audience based on his commitment to his characters and the film itself and Rogue Nation is no exception.
Any doubters to that observation need only watch the film’s first 10 minutes where Cruise, now famously, performs his own stunt clinging ( albeit safely tethered in real life ) to a C-180 cargo plane as it literally takes off with Cruise holding on for dear life. All this happens before the title and opening credits roll.
Second only to this summer’s earlier film, Mad Max: Fury Road, Rogue Nation proves to be one of the year’s best blockbuster movies thus far. Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie propel the audience on a wonderfully well-crafted melange of exquisitely directed set pieces that combine humor, wild stunts and breakneck excitement with equally riveting moments of dark suspense and building Hitchcock-like tension, plus a marvelous music score.
Like most Mission Impossible films, Rogue Nation’s plot is complex and labyrinthine. The basics deal with new CIA chief Hunley ( Alec Baldwin ) wanting Congress to permanently dismantle the IMF for reckless past operations. In the process, IMF leader Ethan Hunt ( Cruise ) is deemed rogue when, instead of coming in from the cold; he embarks on a seemingly solo mission to take down a ruthless organization known as “The Syndicate” comprised of ex-spies from around the world dedicated to creating worldwide havoc and subsequent Syndicate control via carefully orchestrated disasters and fake accidents. The group’s deadly leader, Solomon Lane ( played by Sean Harris ) sets up the film early as a “cat and mouse” game of wits between himself and Hunt, that’s as vengeance-fueled personal as it is professionally adversarial.
The common link between these two rivals is Ilsa Faust ( Rebecca Ferguson ) who’s either an undercover British spy sympathetic to Hunt or a protege of the evil Lane. Faust’s intentionally unclear alliances are one of the things that keep Rogue Nation’s intricate plot interesting, as well as the sexual tension between she and Hunt.
Director McQuarrie’s direction is superbly showcased in an extended and wonderfully choreographed assassination attempt during a packed performance at the Vienna Opera House that will keep the film audience on the edge of their seats. Relative newcomer Rebecca Ferguson is a striking presence onscreen and her character is as strong, smart and physically capable in a fight as her male counterparts.
Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg all return in this film as Ethan Hunt’s comrades on the Impossible Mission Force and their often intentionally humorous contribution is wonderfully entertaining as expected.
However, in the end; Rogue Nation is Tom Cruise’s showcase and, as usual, he doesn’t disappoint.