Tom Cruise once again reprises his role as government IMF super agent Ethan Hunt in “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.”
In this outing, Hunt is on the worldwide prowl for the Syndicate, an off-the-grid nefarious, rogue organization that may (or may not) be behind many of the world’s most sinister woes. Meanwhile, back in Washington, the IMF has been disbanded by the Senate due to the direct advisement of CIA chief Alan Huntley (Alec Baldwin), who can find no evidence of the supposed Syndicate’s existence.
To clear his own name and, perhaps, reestablish the legitimacy of the IMF, Hunt must become a largely one-man show, jumping from country to country, and focusing solely on finding the head of the shady Syndicate, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). And, yet, as self-sufficient as he is, Hunt does get a just a little help from his friends with his goofy, tech expert (and comic relief), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), and a martial-arts skilled, but mysterious, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who may or may not be working on the right side of the battle against the Syndicate.
As was in previous iterations of the MI franchise, “Rogue Nation” is really the “Ethan Hunt Show.” However, more so than before, the IMF as a group is marginalized, as Ethan Hunt, alone, is the IMF. Seemingly, without his lead and go-to superhuman skills, the team has nothing. As such, Cruise has created Hunt to now be part-007, part-Sherlock Holmes, and part-DC superhero.
Thematically, this is lightweight fare with the same structure of previous entries in the canon: Hunt will follow the wisp of a lead, be nearly formally disavowed by government agencies, and will (likely) find what he’s looking for. There’s nothing new under the sun here, but what remains engaging is Cruise’s commitment to non-CGI stunt work. The audience can almost viscerally feel the threat of Cruise’s potential bodily risk when he is attached to the side of a massive Airbus A400M as it takes off and sense the claustrophobia along tiny, centuries-old Moroccan streets as Cruise’s BMW squeezes through narrow spaces at blinding speeds.
Although not the best entry in the “Mission Impossible” series, “Rogue Nation” is still action-packed, superficially filling, popcorn summer entertainment with the added bonus of old-school style stunt work. “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” is rated 4 – of 5 stars.