Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is another successful entry into the long-running franchise. There are some fun nods to the original series and previous films, yet makes a mark in its own right. Tom Cruise once again is incredible with his stunt work and the villain this time around was at least devious enough.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Thriller
Paramount | PG13 – 131 min. – $39.99 | December 15, 2015
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
With the exception of The Fast and the Furious franchise, it seems the Mission: Impossible movies have only gotten better. The fifth entry, based on (or inspired by at this point) the television series that aired from 1966-73 (and 1988-90), is once again a great action-adventure that melds the espionage subgenre with Hollywood action set pieces that rivals any of the more recent James Bond films and in some respects, are far more thrilling.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation picks up some time after Ghost Protocol with Ethan Hunt (TOM CRUISE) hunting down the elusive and mysterious organization known as The Syndicate. The opening scene, which is the centerpiece of every trailer, has Hunt hanging off of a flying cargo plane attempting to stop canisters of saran gas from getting into the hands of terrorists. Hunt succeeds in epic fashion but not without ruffling some feathers.
It’s not the best timing as back home in Washington D.C., Alan Hunley (ALEC BALDWIN), head of the CIA, is testifying before a Senate committee about the activities of the IMF from the crashing warhead (from Ghost Protocol) and going back to breaking into CIA headquarters nearly 20 years ago and more currently, Hunt on a personal mission to find the head of the Syndicate which Hunley believes does not exist, and implores the committee to disband the agency and fold its agents under the direction of the CIA and uses all of its resources to track down and capture Hunt.
But Hunley isn’t the only one after Hunt. When Hunt goes to receive his latest mission, it was instead a ruse by the leader of the Syndicate, named Soloman Lane (SEAN HARRIS), and he’s trapped in a booth and gassed. He awakes in a dungeon about to interrogated by disavowed MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (REBECCA FERGUSON) but she saves his life from a brutal thug working for Lane. He manages to escape and goes underground while Faust returns to Lane as she’s working undercover… or is she?
We fast forward six months and Hunt continues his global tracking and conspiratorial connections with various events involving the murders of thousands of innocent civilians. He reluctantly recruits the aid of Benji Dunn (SIMON PEGG), unbeknownst to Benji himself, to help in his quest to find Lane, flying him to Vienna for an opera where Hunt believes Lane will be attending. There, it’s apparent the Syndicate has something planned involving the Austrian Chancellor with several assassins attending including Faust herself. After some literal high-wire acts, and barely escaping, the Chancellor is still killed and Hunt, being seen in the area, is blamed.
Hunley for his part hasn’t stopped looking and William Brandt (JEREMY RENNER) does what he can to help Hunt. Working with Luther Stickell (VING RHAMES), they attempt to stop the CIA now intent on just killing Hunt utilizing their “Special Activities Division.” The worldwide adventure begins going from Vienna to Paris to London with double crosses, shadow agents, conspiracies and all the good stuff of any reputable spy flick.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is probably the most complete of the M:I series, though from a fun factor I thought Ghost Protocol was better. However, Rogue Nation had a better plot, a slightly more devious and memorable villain thanks to the casting of Sean Harris, though not surprisingly he doesn’t hold a candle to Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Mission: Impossible 3. What I also enjoyed was seeing the core group, sans Paula Patton unfortunately, back together including Ving Rhames who makes more than a cameo has he had in GP.
And of course, Tom Cruise, now pushing 50, looks as good as ever and still performing his own stunts which were also the standouts in this entry. Although visual effects were still used, seeing Cruise actually hanging onto a plane is amazing add to that the underwater sequence, it would’ve been easy to used effects as a crutch but instead it amps up the thrills to epic levels. The film also features chase sequences that the Fast and Furious franchise could only imagine to conjure up.
The supporting cast is also strong. Obviously returning are Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and, as mentioned, Ving Rhames. The team dynamic was one of the stronger suits of the series and kind of missing with the sequels and Rhames presence was missed in Ghost Protocol. But now with three returning to the fold, it seems to be gelling a bit more and hopefully Rebecca Ferguson (reportedly the studio has an option on her contract), makes a return for the already announced Mission: Impossible 6 set for release in 2017.
One of the highlights beyond the actors and gadgets, which are limited this go around it felt, is the stunt work. Yeah, you do have the plane sequence but I was impressed with the chase sequences. We’ve seen Cruise on a motorbike many times but how McQuarrie filmed the scene was amazing taking audiences into a first-hand view as the bikers race in and out of traffic (CGI’d as I learned in the BTS featurette), it’s thrilling and a new way to shoot something that has been done countless times be it Mission: Impossible or any number of the James Bond films.
Tom Cruise reunites with Christopher McQuarrie following Jack Reacher and Edge of Tomorrow and it’s apparent the pair have a connection, each knowing how to up the ante without going to absurd levels of disbelief (as much as I love the latest Fast and Furious movies, they are getting ridiculous) or making Hunt into a super-human being and instead a determined secret agent. Does it get close to the edge of believability? Sure, but the series hasn’t quite jumped the shark, though that is a concern.
In the end, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is a solid entry into the long-enduring series that continues to get better with each entry and Tom Cruise keeps chugging along not showing his age and takes the series up another notch both in terms of story but stunts. If you’ve lost track of the franchise, it is well worth checking out.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.5/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Inside is a DVD Copy and a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Audio Commentary – Co-Writer/Director Christopher McQuarrie and Producer/Star Tom Cruise sit down for an entertaining but informative track. If you haven’t listened to any of the other commentaries with Cruise (MI3, MI:GP, Jerry Maguire) you should do so as he does bring a lot to the table.
Lighting the Fuse (5:57; HD) is background on the origin of the story and Cruise bringing McQuarrie onboard for this installment.
Cruise Control (6:33; HD) – Here is an interview with Tom Cruise, as well as others, as producer, and his enjoyment making the Mission: Impossible films and his involvement with the production.
Heroes…(8:06; HD) examines the comradery of the team and their friendship and features interviews with the cast (including Cruise, Pegg, Ferguson, etc) and crew.
Cruising Altitude (8:23; HD) breaks down the signature scene and how it was shot.
Mission: Immersible (6:45; HD) looks at how the underwater sequence was accomplished.
Sand Theft Auto (5:35; HD) delves into the chase scene, giving a behind-the-scenes footage on how certain angles were accomplished.
The Missions Continue (7:08; HD) talks about the duration of the franchise and the connectivity with one another and points out some cool easter eggs thrown in Rogue Nation.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
|Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is released onto Blu-ray from Paramount presented with 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec) and shown in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio. Not surprisingly, the picture looks incredible with incredible colors, excellent detail throughout and no signs of artifacts or aliasing. Darker scenes also look good with appearing to be overly crushed.|
AUDIO – 5.0/5
|Not to be outdone, and thankfully, we get a Mission: Impossible movie with the new Dolby Atmos track which converts to TrueHD 7.1 for those receivers unable to decode. Either way, the sound is amazing with great depth and incredibly dynamic during the numerous action sequences to the lower levels for those quieter moments with dialogue making use of the center channel. Also well done, and utilizing each channel, is the score by Joe Kraemer (Jack Reacher) taking on the theme this go around.|
OVERALL – 4.25/5
Overall, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is another successful entry into the long-running franchise. There are some fun nods to the original series and previous films, yet makes a mark in its own right. Tom Cruise once again is incredible with his stunt work and the villain this time around was at least devious enough whereas the others, sans PSH in MI3, were bland. The Blu-ray released by Paramount is a bit basic in the features department but the video and audio transfers are both top notch.
Brian Oliver a.k.a. The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.