“Mission: Impossible” is one of the very rare Hollywood franchises that actually gets better with each new sequel. And a compelling case could be made that “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” (opening in theaters nationwide July 31) is the best in the film series yet — and it’s absolutely one of the best films of summer 2015.
In short: After the CIA shuts down the IMF, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) becomes a fugitive of the U.S. government – which doesn’t stop him from tracking a shadow/terrorist spy group known as the Syndicate. (watch the trailer)
“Rogue Nation” is a purely fun action blockbuster for two simple reasons: it boasts some nerve-wracking set pieces and constantly throws the IMF agents into situations that appear all but impossible to solve. Hunt’s very first stunt in the movie is to hang off the side of a cargo plane as it takes off — and from here, the stunts only get more intense. And this latest “M:I” film lives up to its franchise name – each and every task in front of Hunt seems flat-out impossible … yet Hunt and his team always find a way out of an impossible situation.
While stunts and impossible scenarios are fun, the core of “Rogue Nation” is firmly planted in its espionage roots. This sequel is all about gathering intel, stealing secrets and never quite knowing who may or may not be a villain. At no point in this film does Hunt have solid footing – he’s always forced to react to threats coming at him from all directions (evil spies, the CIA and a British agent whose loyalty is hard to pin down)… all while Hunt is constantly off balance.
If there is one serious and legitimate knock against “Rogue Nation,” it’s that this sequel dips back into a familiar well that “Mission: Impossible” movies keep resorting to: after IMF is compromised, Hunt and his team must go rogue to battle a renegade spy turned terrorist. “Rogue Nation” only gets away with this retread of a story premise because the evil spy is so treacherous and IMF is not merely “compromised” by a mole or traitor — the entire organization is disbanded. But at this point, any/all future “M:I” movies must abandon the “spy-turned-terrorist pursues Ethan Hunt, who has gone rogue” framework.
Final verdict: Incredible and intense action sequences and a winding spy thriller backbone make “Rogue Nation” one of the best summer blockbusters of the year.
“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” opens in theaters nationwide July 31. The latest “Mission: Impossible” sequel is rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity