Directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Simon McBurney, Hermione Corfield.
THE PLOT: With CIA chief Alan Hunley (Baldwin) determined to disband the Impossible Missions Force, the independent espionage agency’s no.1 operative, Ethan Hunt (Cruise), is just about to uncover the sinister and highly secretive international terrorist organisation known as The Syndicate when he’s captured and quickly framed as a rogue agent. With a little help from undercover agent Ilsa Faust (Ferguson), Hunt escapes, and with the CIA on his tail, he sets out to prove the existence of The Syndicate – and, more importantly, bring down its leader, the lizard-like Solomon Lane (Harris). But, who to trust…?
THE VERDICT: Hitting the ground running, and pretty much never slowing down for its slightly-too-long 131 minutes, once again, Tom Cruise tries the Trojan Horse approach back into box-office glory, after the superior Brad Bird-directed Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol in 2011 gave the former multi-plex messiah his only true box-office hit since, well, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III in 2006. So, he must be pretty damn happy to have a franchise to hide in, ROGUE NATION continuing the last MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE trick of making Cruise part of an OCEAN’S 11 crew rather than a Bond alone.
Which is not to say that you don’t get plenty of bang and gadgets for your buck here, the Mission: Impossible franchise being far more Pierce Brosnan than Daniel Craig as it chooses the ridiculous over the sublime on the bowtie-is-really-a-camera front.
The increasingly harangued-looking fanboy Pegg does his Pegg thing as bumbling computer geek Benji, whilst Renner, Baldwin and Rhames pretty much do Renner, Baldwin and Rhames. The only notables are the great Sean Harris (HARRY BROWN, RED RIDING, DELIVER US FROM EVIL), who once again does a perfectly chilling everyday Clockwork psycho, and Swedish newcomer Rebecca Ferguson, solid as the seductively quadruple-crossing killer queen.
Serviceable rather than remarkable, ROGUE NATION should keep Cruise’s hopes of winning another title fight some day alive and kicking. For another few years.
Review by Paul Byrne

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Review
Review by Paul Byrne
  • filmbuff2011

    For a 19-year-old movie franchise based on a 1960s spy TV series, Mission Impossible shows no signs of slowing down. The upcoming The Man From U.N.C.L.E. has hopefully paid attention to the magic formula, which works like a familiar but well-oiled machine in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Having left a trail of destruction in Ghost Protocol, the bigwigs in Washington D.C., headed by the CIA’s Hunley (Alec Baldwin), want the IMF to be liquidated. When Ethan (Tom Cruise) follows the trail of some WMDs to a London record store, he’s confronted by Lane (Sean Harris), a phantom agent who previously worked for MI5 and has now gone rogue as part of an organisation known as The Syndicate. It’s an anti-IMF, designed to hunt down and kill IMF agents. Now rogue agents of their own, Ethan and his team, including Benji (Sean Pegg), Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Luther (Ving Rhames) find themselves without an official mission. So, they investigate the movements of a slinky and highly skilled lady known as Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) who has ties to Lane and The Syndicate. Is she a double agent playing both sides off against each other… or is there a more sinister agenda going on in the corridors of power? Rogue Nation barely gives you time to settle into your seat and enjoy your popcorn, as it begins straight away with its signature stunt and poster image – the sight of Tom Cruise clinging onto an actual plane fuselage as it climbs into the sky. No CGI / stunt doubles were used – just a digitally removed wire. Ever the trooper, Cruise did the scene multiple times – each take lasting some 45 minutes – beat that, Daniel Craig. It’s a sure enough sign of his commitment to this franchise, which he also produces. For this fifth instalment, he’s brought on his Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie, who also co-wrote the story with Drew Pearce. It trots out the tried-and-tested hallmarks of the franchise – exotic locations, femme fatales, masks, characters with hard-to-pin down motives, death-defying stunts and a welcome dose of humour. But it’s all done in a way that keeps it feeling fresh and relevant. As with the Alien franchise, bringing on a different director each time gives it a different perspective. The perspective here would be: trust no one except those closest to you. Looking fit and still able for the fast-paced action, fiftysomething Cruise breezes through the role with his trademark charm. The seductive Ferguson is impressive – we’re never really sure whether she’s going to kiss or kill Ethan. Harris, speaking with a slightly irritating nasally voice, is a little bit bland for a villain of a SPECTRE-like organisation but he does at least have a physical onscreen presence. McQuarrie stages the set pieces with visual precision – a dive into a secure underwater computer terminal is tense and a breakneck motorbike chase in Morocco leads to some major metal car-nage. There’s so much to enjoy here, for fans of the franchise and general viewers. Longevity is the key to summer blockbuster franchises and Cruise is already talking up a sixth film. Long may it continue. ****

  • emerb

    “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” sees Tom Cruise back as Ethan Hunt for the fifth installment in this popular action film franchise. Directed by Christopher McQuarrie and co-starring Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin and Rebecca Ferguson, this entertaining and gripping action movie finds the surviving members of the Impossible Missions Force trying to neutralize an insidious global threat. At the same time they have to contend with the US Government which is intent on forcing their group to shut down.

    A phenomenal opening sequence sees Ethan Hunt (Cruise) sprint and leap onto the wing of a Russian cargo plane speeding down a runway and he proceeds to cling to it as it takes flight – an astounding piece of airborne staging. After this breathtaking opening spectacle, we move to the US where we learn that the Government, encouraged by brash CIA chief Hunley (Alec Baldwin’s) is no longer happy with Hunt and his team’s reckless risk taking approaches and they are
    working to have them dismantled and absorbed into the CIA. This move effectively paralyzes two of Ethan’s trusty cohort – top analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and tech genius turned field agent Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg). Hunt is in pursuit of a clandestine organization called the Syndicate – a shadowy
    team of terrorists responsible for a series of seemingly random disasters. He believes that a global wave of violence, civil unrest and assassinations are the work of the Syndicate but nobody seems to believe him. Finding himself on the run and alone, he is forced to go underground to track down a coldly brilliant terrorist, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), whom he suspects to be the ringmaster. Ethan moves around the world undetected and even cleverly lures out Benji to help try to thwart a political assassination that is spectacularly staged at a lavish performance of Turandot at the Vienna Opera House. It’s here he finds himself forced to team up with wildcard Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), an impressively skilled, composed but relatively untested British intelligence agent who has succeeded in infiltrating the Syndicate. It’s never entirely clear where her loyalties lie – friend or femme fatale? The next stop is Morocco where another major action sequence is a marvel of precise execution and nail biting suspense.
    Ethan is forced to swim his way into a highly pressurized underwater source
    in order to lay hands on an important computer chip that could make or break the Syndicate. Ethan trains to hold his breath for three minutes, but in the actual event, must do so for much longer. The next action sequence sees him chasing Ilsa — and being chased by the Syndicate — through Casablanca and into the desert on speeding motorcycles. We then follow a series of twists and turns, lies, deception, disguises and subterfuge. If he is to get what he wants, Lane is ultimately forced to face Ethan for the ultimate showdown.

    Despite some not-so-successful career moves, Cruise will always be embraced as the returning hero “Ethan Hunt”. Hard to believe he is now 53 and has spent two decades in the daredevil role. He looks great, acts with unassuming confidence and credibly conquers innumerable physical challenges. He gives himself to every stunt 100% and throws himself into harm’s way with energy and conviction. Cruise continues to make Ethan Hunt interesting and engaging, imbuing the character with intensity, athletic prowism and a light touch of humour. Whatever combination of stunt work and digital trickery (if any) is used, he remains as deft a physical performer as ever. There is great chemistry between Pegg and Cruise who are a delightful comedy team. Pegg comes into his own here as an indispensable and courageous member of the team and gets a few nice moments to shine. Renner seems rather sidelined by comparison but he does prove to be just as comfortable dealing with bureaucracy as he is on the
    field. Baldwin is perfect as the smooth-talking CIA chief and I love the dry wit he shares with Renner. Very well cast is sexy female lead Rebecca Ferguson (best known for “The White Queen” and “Hercules”) who makes llsa a captivating presence, a woman of unquestioned confidence and sang froid. This highly professional ravishing beauty is remarkably able to convince anybody she is on their side. She may work for Lane, may be still part of the MI6 or may be genuinely working with Hunt to to shut down The Syndicate. Together with Cruise, they have a dynamic chemistry and her ability to keep minds guessing as to her true identity is testament to her skill as an actor. Harris is chilling as the creepy, calculating villain behind the Syndicate.

    “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” is solid entertainment and comes with so much to recommend it. The absorbing plot moves along at a nice pace keeping you gripped and engaged throughout. The “Mission Impossible” movies have always been consistent performers and together with strong reviews, good word of mouth and a solid fan base, audiences are likely to pour in to see this crowd-pleasing sequel. Globetrotting adventures, breathtaking stunts, pulse-pounding chases, elaborately staged set pieces, a sharp script and a top notch cast make
    it one of the most entertaining action thrillers this year and here’s hoping we won’t have to wait too long for number six – watch this space!