Matt’s Movies: Mission Impossible, Rogue Nation

Matt gives 4 out of 5 stars to long running action series' improbable success

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Matt Chouinard, Film Critic

Action Franchises are always a profitable bunch, which makes it easy to make more and more of them. The only question is whether they are simply entertaining mindless action, or actually well put together movies deserving of critical praise. Most franchises eventually strike out with one or two times over the course of these continuing stories, which is why it should be noted that the Mission Impossible franchise has been able to continuing going strong throughout its entire run of movies, with every one of its films bringing something new to the table and deserving praise in some regard. This trend is on full display with the franchise’s newest film, as Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation is another solid entry to the action genre, providing intelligent action as well as fun for everyone involved.

Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation, directed by Christopher McQuarrie, continues to follow the exploits of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team of IMF operatives, including Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames). The Chief of the CIA, Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) has recently shut down the IMF for their reckless behavior, leaving Hunt out on his own to carry out his next mission, which involves taking down the mysterious organization he has been tracking known as the Syndicate. They are a nation of rogue operatives run by a deadly leader (Sean Harris).

One of the most impressive things about the Mission Impossible movies is the way they transition from director to director, never having anyone direct multiple films in the franchise. Having a new director every time enables each Mission Impossible film to carry its own slightly different tone and helps to keep the stories fresh. This time out Christopher McQuarrie presents an action movie that is a little more grounded in reality than past entries, with a stronger focus on maintaining a good storyline. The plot for the movie is very good, following a central storyline that is both intelligent and quite fun. The premise allows for many exciting scenes of espionage and some twists, particularly involving a double agent who’s true allegiance is unknown (Rebecca Ferguson). All this occurs while still being able to incorporate more than a few fun action scenes involving Ethan being placed in extraordinary situations and tasked with prevailed when the odds are against him. The combination works well and while the action is at times sacrificed for story the final product is still one to be enjoyed.

The acting in the movie definitely takes a back seat to the story and action, but pretty much everyone involved plays their role well. Tom Cruise is right back at it, showcasing the charisma and enthusiasm that has made Ethan Hunt famous. His dedication to the role is unparalleled, as he continues to perform his own incredible action stunts despite being over 50 years old now. Everyone else brings something else to the table, providing for a well-rounded cast of characters. Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames provide some humorous dialogue and bring real personality to their tech guy characters. Jeremy Renner gives a great performance as one of the higher up executives in the organization tasked with trying to reign in the team’s outlandish plans of action. He amuses with his wit, intelligence, and often pessimistic outlook. Alec Baldwin and Rebecca Ferguson also bring a lot to the table as new additions to the franchise. Alec Baldwin’s role is small but he plays it really well, and Rebecca Ferguson becomes a scene stealer with her excellent performance as a mysterious operative.

While the story and humor are very good, there are weak spots to the movie as well. The amount of action in the movie is less than most of the other Mission Impossible films, which is fine because of what it is trying to accomplish, but will be seen as a slight disappointment to some. Also, the cinematography for most of the fight scenes is very fast and sometimes come off as a bit muddled. The fights are still enjoyed, but sometimes hard to really follow. Finally, the ending is a little anticlimactic, with the final sequence providing less of an exciting payoff than would be hoped for in an action movie of this grand scale. The journey to get to that point is an entertaining one though, and as a whole the story succeeds.

Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation is a solid and very entertaining action movie that incorporates intelligence and humor into a cool spy storyline. It’s not all action all the time, but it is enjoyable from start to finish. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone, especially fans of the action genre.