Though the Mission Impossible film franchise took years to take off, it looks like they’ve finally got a decent movie series going. The last three films in the series definitely feel connected. It feels more like an intentional series, rather than an odd collection of movies that coincidentally share a protagonist.
In Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation, Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, and Simon Pegg are back as a team for the third time now, with Jeremy Renner also reprising his role as William Brandt from 2011’s Ghost Protocol. The necessity of the embarrassingly-named Impossible Mission Force is being questioned by a committee of senators, and while Brandt cannot really verbally defend the organisation, Cruise’s Ethan Hunt will just have to practically prove himself. This time, the team are joined by the mysterious Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) to find and take down “The Syndicate” – a kind of terrorist anti-IMF.
Director and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie did an excellent job of balance. Some plot points (see the above-mentioned committee scenes) are borrowed pretty directly from the James Bond flick Skyfall. Similar to the Daniel Craig Bond reboot series, this might be an attempt to up the MIssion Impossible series’ realism and grittiness. But at the same time, McQuarrie keeps things light enough with humourous scenes that prove the Impossible Mission Force still don’t take themselves too seriously. The expanded appearance of Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn is a welcome change – his comic relief is always welcome, and giving him more of a “field agent” role this time was great. Even his brief appearance under one of the franchise’s trademark masks was enough to get me excited for how this role might be expanded in future movies.
The action scenes in this film are exciting and amazing, and certainly up to the standard of those in previous instalments. The car-and-bike chase, for example, is as thrilling as those in recent James Bond flicks, but thankfully slightly shorter and less elaborate. Apart from that, an old-school heist sequence provides everything you expect from a Mission Impossible film, so everything else is just a cherry on top. Also, just like in the first film, the plot is chock-full of betrayals, turns, and reveals. Unfortunately, certain scenes (I’m looking at you, underwater vault) appear to be completely computer-generated, and not very realistically rendered. While most of the film’s effects are top notch, this scene sticks out like a sore thumb.
Based on the movie’s marketing campaign, I expected slightly more from the much-hyped scene where Ethan Hunt climbs on, over, and hangs onto an Airbus A400M Atlas in flight. It’s a minor scene in the film, but it actually plays better and more dramatically in the trailer than what ended up in the final movie.
Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation is an exciting, thrilling and fun action blockbuster. It has similar flaws to most films of its genre and size, but these are excusable and doesn’t detract from the experience. Go see this with a big serving of popcorn, and enjoy the film that Mission Impossible III and Ghost Protocol promised you: A satisfying follow-up to the fun, action-packed, yet sensible and slightly cerebral series that JJ Abrams reinvented in 2006.