Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Written by: Christopher McQuarrie, Bruce Geller
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris
Runtime: 131 min
With the IMF disbanded, and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, the team now faces off against a network of highly skilled special agents, the Syndicate. These highly trained operatives are hellbent on creating a new world order through an escalating series of terrorist attacks.
Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with disavowed British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), as the group faces their most impossible mission yet.
I am resuming my reviews of the Mission: Impossible franchise, anticipating the release of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which comes out today. My thoughts on Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible II, Mission: Impossible III and Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol are already written, and you can click on the titles to read my reviews for those movies. After a massive decline in quality from M:I-1 to M:I-2, MI:-3 resuscitated the saga and Ghost Protocol elevated it to a whole other level. So, is Rogue Nation going to be able to keep this exponential improvement or is it going to fall under pressure?
Christopher McQuarrie is able to create a film with the best qualities of its predecessors. The high levels of tension and suspense of M:I-1 and the non-stop action of M:I-3 are very well-balanced in Rogue Nation, which makes it another success inside an already fantastic saga. The action continues to be the highlight since Tom Cruise's mission apparently is to try and perform as many death-or-life situations as he can.
The plane sequence is riveting, the underwater set piece is (literally) breathtaking and the chasing scenes, whether on foot or by car or by a motorcycle, are incredibly exciting. McQuarrie directs the hell out of those scenes with an unique camera work, some beautiful cinematography, and seamless editing. The score is once again brilliant and it helps giving me some goosebumps.
The screenplay is captivating and it finally has another decent villain to rival with Philip Seymour Hoffman of the third installment. Sean Harris portrays Solomon Lane and, even though Lane isn't exactly an extremely well-written antagonist, at least he has clear motivations and a lot more screentime than other villains throughout the series. Still, he could have been better explored.
The new additions to the cast are sensational. Rebecca Ferguson brilliantly interprets Ilsa Faust, who has some great development along the runtime. Alec Baldwin (Alan Hunley) is also a great addition to the saga. I love that they decided to use Ving Rhames' character, Luther, more in this movie. He only had a tiny bit at the end of Ghost Protocol, so I am delighted to see him back on screen with his fantastic humor. Simon Pegg (Benji) is also becoming one of my favorite characters and Pegg proves that he can also accomplish some great dramatic scenes besides the frequent comic relief moments.
Finally, Jeremy Renner(William Brandt) continues to be an awesome actor by portraying a possible substitute of Ethan Hunt in the future of the franchise (even if I doubt that Renner would do all the crazy stuff Cruise does). Obviously, Tom Cruise is the standout with all of his jaw-dropping real stunts that most people don't even believe they are actually true. I bet that at least 7 out of 10 people that watched this movie at the time of its release, didn't believe for a single moment that the airplane scene was real ... This is saying a lot about the quality of the stunt team and the unbelievable courage of Cruise. Please, never stop doing this!
My only big issue with the movie is its pacing. Even though it gives more time for the audience to rest between action sequences, it becomes too much espionage exposition and it slightly becomes a bit boring. The tone is well-balanced, but the pacing really does not help at all the overall flow of the film. This aspect plus the not-that-great villain bring the movie a bit down for me but it is still right among the best in the franchise.
All in all, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation provides the entertainment that the audience expects from it. Tom Cruise proves once again why he is an icon in action movie history with mind-blowing stunts and McQuarrie is able to elevate the levels of tension and suspense in the already fantastic action set pieces. Beautiful-looking and with a perfect score, a captivating story and a brilliant cast, filled with compelling characters. Definitely, one of the best of the saga.