The Mission: Impossible franchise has had something of a resurgence over the course of its five films. The first film in the series was praised for its thrilling action and commanding turn from Tom Cruise.
The following two films failed to recapture what made the original such a hit, despite being popular at the box-office. 2011’s Ghost Protocol ensured the franchise still had a pulse and four years later Cruise returns in Rogue Nation. But does it continue the upward trend?
Series newcomer Christopher McQuarrie directs a slick if massively overlong film that is supported by the strengths of its leading stars and Cruise in particular proves there’s no limits to his prowess as an action hero.
Rogue Nation follows Cruise’s Ethan Hunt as he tries to prove the existence of a criminal syndicate, intent on destroying the hard work the IMF has done over the last films.
It’s a nice twist on a story that has been done to death in Rogue Nation’s predecessors and ensures the wheels keep turning nicely on this ever-popular franchise, though at times it can feel a little like the plot is steamrolling ahead and leaving you behind to fill in the missing pieces.
Cruise stars alongside Jeremy Renner, a cracking Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin and the ever-beautiful Rebecca Ferguson as he goes about avoiding thugs and the CIA across what feels like every country on the planet.
At 131 minutes, McQuarrie manages to cram in a lot of action and a lot of scenery and the result is a film that feels overstuffed and a little like a very expensive tourist brochure. There’s also some blatant product placement for BMW that smacks you in the face with its lack of subtlety.
This is a real shame as the action sequences are slickly shot and beautifully choreographed and the fact that Cruise does the majority of his own stunt-work gives a sense of realism not matched by many other films – there’s just too much of it.
Nevertheless, Ferguson and Cruise have real chemistry and their scenes together are positively sizzling, helped in part by an almost operatic soundtrack that punches above what the genre asks for.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Rogue Nation is its lack of predictability. There are numerous red herrings making it nearly impossible to plan where the film is going and where it is going to end – a real plus point in my eyes.
The ending is a little anti-climactic after two hours of non-stop car chases, motorcycle races and explosions but it leaves itself open for yet another sequel, which is more than likely.
Overall, Rogue Nation is a relentless film that is very well filmed and for the most part, exceptionally paced. It’s not quite up there with the original, but in sequel terms, it’s one of the best and your mission, should you choose to accept it is to go and watch it too.
Gosh that theme tune is catchy!