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Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation
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by alejandroariera

"Your mission Mr. McQuarrie, should you accept it, is to improve a franchise"
4 stars

“Mission: Impossible” is that rare Hollywood franchise that improves with each entry. The original “Mission: Impossible,” directed by Brian de Palma, built an incomprehensible plot about the theft of a computer file with the names of America’s top secret agents around the film’s massive action set-pieces. Its sequel, directed by John Woo, featured all of the filmmaker’s trademark visual style (balletic slo-mo gunfights, pigeons flapping their wings also in slo-mo before all hell broke loose) without any of the poignancy or dramatic heft of his best Hong Kong-set films.

The series settled into its groove with the J.J. Abrams-directed third film: it featured a truly nasty villain played by the much-missed Philip Seymour Hoffman, a far more coherent plot, and some more character development. The fourth film, “Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol” directed by Brad Bird, was a blast: it showcased one of the most memorable action sequences of the franchise (Tom Cruise climbing up the exterior of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, followed by a car chase in the middle of a sandstorm), a solid post-Cold War plot that included nuclear war codes and the destruction of the Kremlin and it took full advantage of Simon Pegg’s comedic chops as Ethan Hunt’s bumbling technical whiz Benji Dunn.

Directed and written by Christopher McQuarrie, the first writer in the series to also sit in the director’s chair, “Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation” synthesizes elements from all four previous films and adds a dash of Hitchcock and such 70s paranoid thrillers like “Three Days of the Condor” to the mix for good measure. The result: a far more grounded, exciting, dark spy thriller. McQuarrie pays as much attention to character motivation and interaction as he does to the action sequences…far more than his predecessors ever did. He pulls this world of super spies, high speed chases and death-defying stunts back to earth.

McQuarrie wisely dispenses with the film’s big, and much publicized, setpiece as the film opens: Hunt (Cruise) runs after a gigantic cargo plane carrying a deadly gas piloted by Chechen rebels. Hunt hangs from the plane’s door as it takes off while Benji desperately tries to hack into the plane’s computer system. Stunts such as this one, and the recent leveling of the Kremlin, lead CIA director Alan Huntley (Alec Baldwin) to petition Congress to disband the IMF and absorb its members into the CIA’s rank and file. At the same time, Hunt is taken prisoner by members of The Syndicate, a terrorist organization founded by former British agent Salomon Lane (Sean Harris). Hunt manages to escape thanks to double agent (or is she?) Ilsa Faust (Rebeca Ferguson).

Ilsa may be Hunt’s romantic foil but she is no ordinary Bond girl bedazzled by 007’s misogynistic charm. She is Hunt’s equal in every sense: a professional who will risk everything to complete her mission. Their potential, unrequited romance is at times playful, coy (although the script conveniently ignores the fact that Hunt is still married).

With the IMF dismantled and Hunt a, pardon the pun, hunted man, The Syndicate decides to ramp up its plans for world destabilization. Hunt has no choice but to go underground and undercover to stop them and recruits Benji to the mission. The Syndicate has targeted the Vienna State Opera for their next strike: what follows is an intricate, exhilarating sequence that manages to quote Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps,” “The Man Who Knew Too Much” and even “To Catch a Thief.”

Hunt and Benji join forces with Ilsa to retrieve a computer file from a compound in Morocco which requires Hunt to dive into the compound’s underwater hard drive while holding his breath for three minutes. And like “Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol”’s aerial stunt, this sequence ends with a high-speed chase down Morocco’s streets and main highway. The chase may not be as over the top as “Fast and Furious”’s recent foray into the spy genre but they do possess a vitality, a rejoicing in the sheer pleasure of watching vehicles do what they were supposed to do without defying the laws of gravity.

There are shooting and fights a-plenty in the film’s third act, but equal attention is paid to the chess game played between Hunt and Lane. The interaction between both, the sheer cerebral heft of it, makes the film the closest the franchise has ever been to its original televised source. Yes, you can end an action film without blowing buildings up and without gratuitously referencing the tragic events of 9-11.

While “Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation” is another showcase for Cruise’s action hero chops, McQuarrie’s script and direction also gives the star the opportunity to bring to the role the dark undertones that have shaped some of his best performances. It is clear that, after collaborating with Cruise on several films, McQuarrie knows what makes his star tick and here he takes full advantage of the actor’s strengths.

While Pegg has previously delivered the obligatory comedic touch to the spectacular proceedings, here he delivers a far richer performance. His character is now an equal partner to Cruise’s Hunt and as such, Pegg brings a lightness of touch to the role without undermining his character’s new found courage. Sean Harris plays Lane with the quiet, menacing gusto that characterized the Bond villains of the Connery era. Too bad for Ving Rhames, though: what once was a pivotal character in the series is pretty much sidelined in the film.

Like “Mad Max: Fury Road” before it, “Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation” stakes a claim for the vitality and relevance of the old-fashioned, physical, at times risky, but always organic action sequences of yore. They both show that there’s room for brains as well as brawn, that there should be no such thing as mindless entertainment.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=27488&reviewer=434
originally posted: 07/29/15 15:09:56
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User Comments

2/12/17 morris campbell good entry in the series 4 stars
12/14/15 Langano Same old, same old. 3 stars
10/04/15 Alex S Great female companion but other than a few scenes, this movie felt forgettable :/ 3 stars
10/04/15 G. Fun and Rebecca Ferguson was a great addition to the cast. 4 stars
9/09/15 Terror Same shit over again. Nothing new 1 stars
8/27/15 Laura I think I expected more, after seeing the last one. Good movie still. 4 stars
8/08/15 Koitus Good movie; awesome m-cycle chase scene. And kudos to Rebecca! Hopfully she's rising star 4 stars
8/06/15 Tony Brubaker I want to bugger Rebecca Ferguson. 5 stars
8/04/15 mr.mike While it's good, a bit of been there-done that is starting to creep in. 4 stars
8/01/15 Bob Dog Tom Cruise rocks / Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation sucks 1 stars
8/01/15 The rock Tom cruise and mission impossible sucks 1 stars
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  31-Jul-2015 (PG-13)
  DVD: 15-Dec-2015

  30-Jul-2015 (12A)

  DVD: 15-Dec-2015

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