How many times have you, my popcorn-munching, action scenes loving reader, waited for THAT one scene in the climax, which is supposed to blow your mind away? In Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, THAT scene arrives 3 minutes into the film!! Yes, it is that kind of movie. The “Money-Shot” or the center piece of marketing campaign is the first scene of the film!
A 53 year old Tom Cruise is back in his elements, playing the super spy, Ethan Hunt. 19 years & 4 films on, he is back to doing stunts that would put the fear of god in anyone. He is jumping off planes, smashing cars, zipping on bikes, fighting people twice his size and… you get the picture. He does it all and how!!
The movie begins with a BANG! Just after the (totally IMAX worthy) breathtaking and jaw dropping airplane stunt, we get to know that the IMF (it is still hard to believe that someone thought of that name) is disbanded. This leaves Ethan Hunt “out in the cold” as the rest of the gang is rounded up by the CIA. He finally zones in on the nefarious SYNDICATE group (called as Anti – IMF) he has been hunting for the last year or so. SYNDICATE for Hunt is what SPECTRE is for Bond. The problem that Hunt faces is that, he is the only man who really believes they exist. What happens next and how does he do it is shown to us in a series of high – octane action bits and some smartly written sequences. Oh yes, there is a little bit of old-school cloak and dagger stuff featuring the intelligence agencies of America & Britain as well.
Tom Cruise’s persona is so larger than life that you almost forget everything else!! Well, not really, as the movie is helped by some very entertaining endearing performances. Before I get talking about the rest of the cast, I would like to give a special mention to director/co-writer Christopher McQuarrie, who, like each previous director in the franchise (Brian De Palma, John Woo, J J Abrams and Brad Bird), brings in his own charm and makes this movie his own. McQuarrie (who found fame as the writer of the The Usual Suspects, and wrote and directed 2012’s Jack Reacher, also starring Cruise) brings in a distinct brand of action and wittiness that you associate with the characters.It is mighty impressive to see that he does not get burdened by the franchise and budget.
As for the cast, the most invaluable asset of the film is Simon Pegg, who literally wins you ever with each dialogue. Hell, he is funny even when not speaking. He plays his wisecracking, computer wiz role to utmost perfection.
Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner also are competent in their roles. They after all, are the only people whom Hunt can trust. They chip in with consistent performances and never let the pace go down.
Welcome newcomers to the series include Alec Baldwin, as a CIA boss who is at his wits end and wants to disband the IMF at any cost. Some scenes involving him and Jeremy Renner are totally worth the money. Then, there is Rebecca Ferguson, playing Isla Faust, a femme fatale who is / is not a part of the syndicate. If there is an opening for female Ethan Hunt, she fills up that role as if it was her birth right. She plays a perfect foil to Tom Cruise. And finally, there is Sean Harris’ Lane playing the baddie. While he may not invoke fear and may not come close to many of the villains of the past, he is one of the better villains of the franchise. Soft spoken and bespectacled, he thinks up of large scale mayhem plots as the chief of the syndicate.
Ok, coming back to the point, the action in the movie is superb. What is endearing here is that, most of the fun and adrenaline pumping scenes have been left out of the trailer. It was a master move to just put in that plane stunt as the “money shot” in the trailers. While there are enough sequences in the film that are almost as good or thrilling as the “vault” scene from the 1st installment or the “Burj Khalifa” sequence from the 4th installment, my favorite sequence in the film is set in the backstage of a huge opera set ! Yes, it does not involve CGI, neither does it involve cars or bikes. It is pure old style theatrics. But, what probably takes the cake here is that fact that, unlike most (in fact all) big Hollywood tent pole releases, the movie does not rely on a larger than life finale. It is very much believable and enjoyable.
It is clear that McQuarrie and Tom Cruise get along very well. They approach this movie with a common vision. What they couldn’t achieve in Jack Reacher, they achieve here. They give us a series of jaw dropping moments that’s worth every bit of the pop-corn. Everything else about the movie is on par with all big budget releases out there. The camera work, the editing and the BGM (Ah, THAT tune!!) work well together to thrill us.
All this is not to say that the movie is without faults. It does have large plot holes. (Hey, don’t tell me that you went in expecting that). The plot is both the best and the worst thing of the movie. What sets out to be a tout thriller is let down by the length of the film. Thankfully, there are enough stunts to keep you engrossed throughout.
MI 6 is already being talked about. Oddly, I’m looking forward to it. Maybe, that is what the movie does. It does not let you feel fatigued. It is as fresh as the first installment. I just hope that Tom Cruise doesn’t kill himself doing those stunts that make him the super star he is 🙂 .
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is great fun. Go watch!!