Dir. by Christopher McQuarrie - 2 hrs. 11 min.
by Clayton Hollifield
Impossibly, these "Mission: Impossible" movies seem to keep getting better. To give a quick history of my viewership of these films, I was okay with the first, hated the second one so badly that I refused to see the third, watched the fourth only because it was Brad Bird's first live-action directorial job (and was very happy with that film), and was actually looking forward to this fifth installment. And this one delivers, at least as well as the fourth film did.
Once again, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is back on the job, trying to get his next assignment. However, he's been identified by the enemy, an organization called "The Syndicate," and is captured in a typically elaborate manner. Meanwhile, Stateside, William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) is tasked with defending Hunt's and the IMF's actions against accusations by the director of the CIA, Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin). Ultimately, the IMF is shuttered and folded into the CIA, and Hunt is on the official government shitlist, trying to solve the issue of the Syndicate without any official help.
So, let's get the big stuff out of the way. With films in this franchise, you know there's going to be at least a couple of spectacular, arm-rest-gripping scenes, and that they completely need to deliver. There are two (well, three, if you include the opening scene), and they come correct. The car chase is spectacular and wild, and there's an underwater scene that's just as gripping. So rest assured that you'll get your action fix. As far as the actors, they've eased into their respective roles. Especially so with Simon Pegg, whose exasperation with Cruise's character is a constant stream of amusement. He has a more prominent role this time around, and he's game.
Beyond that, the story does carry some intrigue. There are unexpected twists and turns, and the movie keeps you guessing all along, until you see exactly how things are going to play out. I mean, you know that everyone's up to something, and that the movie is essentially a series of reveals, and that's okay. That, along with the action pieces, are why you'd show up for a MI movie. That, and the girl, of course.
Someone get Rebecca Ferguson a towel!
Ilsa, played by Rebecca Ferguson, is up to the challenge of stringing along both Ethan Hunt and the leader of the Syndicate, and looking damned good while doing so. It's not a femme fatale situation; Ilsa has her own motives beyond romance (and there's not exactly a romance angle in MI5; there's the possibility, but Ethan always has other things on his mind). And, as the picture above shows, the nod to Ursula Andress in "Dr. No," albeit in evil black instead of white, was appreciated.
I don't have anything bad to say about MI5. I was looking forward to seeing this one, and it delivered. One might suggest that the complicated traps and the insane stunts stretch credibility, but that's exactly what you sign up for when you buy your ticket to a Mission: Impossible movie. So no complaining about that now. I was completely into the story, and the run-time flew by, and the twists and turns worked. "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" is maybe the best of the five movies (or at least even with the fourth installment). It used to be that sequels were an exercise in the degradation of a concept, but this franchise and the Fast & the Furious franchise prove that doesn't have to be the case.
4 / 5 - Theatre