Movie Review: Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

“Desperate Times. Desperate Measures.”

1 Stars
Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)

Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)


Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner

Synopsis: While on the run from the CIA, Ethan Hunt endeavours to locate and retrieve an electronic ledger containing the names and details of agents belonging to the shadowy crime organisation The Syndicate.

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Aping the James Bond formula which clearly provided more of an influence than the ’60s TV show from which it takes its title, Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation opens with a stupendous action set-piece which sees Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise – Jack Reacher, Oblivion) clinging to the side of a cargo plane as it takes off with a load of toxic nerve gas on board.   In a nearby field, his sidekick, Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg – Man Up, Absolutely Anything) bumbles amiably as he tries to remotely open the plane’s door so that Hunt can climb inside.    Meanwhile, in a room many miles away, IMF Agent Brandt (Jeremy Renner – Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, American Hustle) frets impotently, and from high on a mast in God only knows where, Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames – Pulp Fiction, Piranha 3D) enables Benji to open the troublesome door by performing some high-tech wizardry.   With a few minor variations here and there, that, after a blisteringly exciting credits sequence, is pretty much how the rest of the movie plays out.   As Rogue Nation is the fifth film in the Mission Impossible franchise, we have to assume its a formula that works well, so you can’t expect Chrstopher McQuarrie and his team to fix what ain’t broke, but it all becomes a little, well, dull, after a while.

Within a few more minutes, Ethan is in the clutches of the shadowy Syndicate, a criminal organisation committed to creating social disorder and political chaos around the world.   He’s aided in his escape from them by Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a disavowed MI6 agent, but is forced to go on the run because CIA director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin – It’s Complicated, Concussion), who has succeeded in having the IMF disbanded, believes Hunt has gone rogue and ordered his capture, dead or alive.  Enlisting the aid of Benji and Ilsa, Ethan decides that the only way to stop the Syndicate from creating further havoc, and to prove his innocence, is to get hold of a well-guarded and encrypted ledger containing the names of all Syndicate agents.   Cue iconic music…

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is a fun movie for an hour or so, but, after that, watching it’s a bit like watching Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow, except instead of ‘live, die, repeat,’ we’re faced with ‘set up action scene, show action scene, repeat.’   Eventually we arrive at a point where we’re crying out for a just a little more plot, please, or at least some human interaction which doesn’t involve the driving of vehicles at insane speeds or the firing of weapons.   Chief villain this time is played by Sean Harris (’71, The Goob) who, it has to be said, possesses the kind of face made for playing bad guys, and makes a chilling foe for Ethan and his crew, even if he isn’t really given that much to do.    In fact, the Bond team must be kicking themselves for not nabbing him first.   Fans of the TV series will be pleased to learn that Rogue Nation has plenty of gas seeping through air vents and head masks being ripped aside, and the action scenes really are exquisitely staged, but what starts out as a thrill ride ultimately falls flat.

(Reviewed 6th July 2016)

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