Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation

Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation

(Christopher McQuarrie, 2015)

Rating: 3.5/5

Reviewed by Dave Lancaster

: Like the finest Bond films, Mission Impossible 5 thrills and charms its audience into submission. A wonderfully old fashioned action blockbuster.

There's a gift of rejuvenation that runs through the Mission Impossible franchise. So much so that it doesn't even really feel like a franchise anymore. It feels odd to say that this is the fifth film in the series when it feels so fresh, inspired and separate from the four that preceded it.

Perhaps it's the magic of megastar Tom Cruise who appears to have stockpiled Hollywood's elixir of youth to ensure that with a few bumps and sofa jumps along the way he can do no wrong when it comes to box office performance.

Rogue Nation is yet another hit for Cruise but this is the first Mission Impossible film that doesn't seem to be dominated by him. The plot - that sees the IMF dissolved and its members broken up and played against each other from afar - results in a more ensemble feel and gives co-stars Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames and Alec Baldwin their own slice of the pie. In fact, it's got stars and action scenes in abundance. Less "brace yourself", more "belt and brace yourself".

The film's most famous action sequence (and subject of pre-release hype) involves Cruise clinging onto the side of a real plane as it really takes off with no safety net below. But even that is throwaway, like a James Bond opening title sequence. It's of little consequence to the rest of the film other than to ensure that the audience doesn't fidget.

There are other well executed action scenes (and a lovely De Palma cum Argento style opera sequence) that keep the thrills coming but you can't help but feel like the opening moments should've been saved for a finale. Far less impressive is the film's obligatory 'break into a ridiculously well guarded base to steal something' sequence thanks to some seriously dodgy water effects that look straight out of a 1990s videogame.

Also failing to deliver anything particularly memorable is the film's whispery villain (Sean Harris) but keeping the whole thing running smoothly is writer and director Christopher McQuarrie who also guided Cruise as Jack Reacher back in 2012. His Oscar winning script for The Usual Suspects back in the 1990s is echoed here with the hotbed of conflicting characters and ever increasing espionage.

All in all, it feels like five films in that the Mission Impossible franchise has found its feet and has decided to run faster and more gleefully than any of the genre's other competition (other than James Bond). Cruise isn't tiring; he's inspiring.

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