I want to hate Tom Cruise. I really do. He kind of weirds me out and I heard that he makes actors taller than him (which is just about everyone) squat slightly so they’ll always be the same height as him. Despite that, when I’m faced with movies like Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, I’m forced to admit a grudging respect for his acting skills. Despite the fact that this is the fifth sequel, and the whole series should be floundering by now, this latest installment proves that Cruise is doing the impossible. He’s making sequels that are better than the original.
Cruise returns as Ethan, a man working for IMF, the Impossible Mission Force. The problem this time is that Hunley (Alec Baldwin), the director of the CIA, thinks that the entire department is unnecessary and shuts it down. Despite his unemployed status, Ethan still has buddies like Luther (Ving Rhames), Benji (Simon Pegg), and Brandt (Jeremy Renner). With their help, he decides to continue his pursuit of the Syndicate, and its evil shady leader Solomon Lane (Sean Harris).
The franchise has the same suspenseful energy that generally gives me hand sweats and heart palpitations. That’s surprising, because you’d think I’d be desensitized to that by now. But I genuinely flinched during the sideways motorcycle scene and had to look away a few times. That’s the sign of a good suspense right there, because I never flinch away from the screen.
Another strong point I’ve always found with this franchise is unlike most action franchises, they actually manage to portray females as more than Madonna saints or ‘fighting f-toys’. Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a British spy, is more than just a love interest or damsel in distress. She’s a show stealer in her own right.
Tom Cruise manages to still come across with the energy of a much younger man and he’s in rare form in this movie. I have to say, the only time I like him is during the Mission Impossible movies and he has not let me down yet. When he does these movies, he stops being that creepy scientologist guy, and instead oozes charisma. In this one, he was pure magic.
Mission Impossible is a franchise that respects the genre. Unlike other action franchises, (James Bond comes to mind) they don’t force complicated storylines and plot twists. Instead, they keep the story simple and deliver exactly what action fans want. Pure escapism.
Sean Harris with his strangely raspy voice is the perfect villain. Alec Baldwin brings back shades of Jack Donaghy with his corporate portrayal of the most powerful man in the CIA. None of the actors in the movie laid down on the job.
Mission Impossible continues to be both commercially and critically successful because they respect their formula and they stick with it. I don’t want to have to rewind to figure out what the heck is going on in an action movie. I want to watch explosions and people getting beat up. Mission Impossible delivers without trying to get too cerebral. Because of that, I have to give this one a worth the watch.
WE GIVE IT: 4.5 STARS!