Running time: 131 minutes
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Rogue Nation starts with the IMF team intercepting an A-400 that is carrying nerve gas to be sold to terrorists. Running out of time to stop the airplane, Ethan Hunt, finds himself hanging on to the side of the plane as this takes off, while his tech guy, Benji, has some difficulty opening the door for him. And, as he did in the unforgettable scene from Ghost Protocol where Hunt had to climb the Dubai building, this time Tom Cruise also harnessed himself to the side of a taking-off airplane. That is commitment to a role and it is definitely the consolidation of Tom Cruise as the ultimate action star.
After Hunt disappears when trying to prove the existence of the Syndicate, CIA chief, Hunley (Alec Baldwin), and IMF agent William Brand (Jeremy Renner), stand in front of a Senate committee and Hunley succeeds in shutting down the IMF. Meanwhile, Hunt has been captured by the Bone Doctor. Here his path crosses for the first time with Ilsa’s, a Syndicate operative who keeps us, as well as Ethan, wondering throughout the whole movie what side she might be on and what her real intentions are, managing to maintain her likability at the same time. Without a doubt, Rebecca Ferguson is the stand out of this film. It is great to see such a good portrayal of a woman in an action movie, where she is elegant, smart, badass but it is also clear that she is in disadvantage in terms of strength. In the end though, her skills make up for it.
Six months after being on the run, Ethan contacts Benji, now working for the CIA, and arranges for him to attend the opera in Vienna. Simon Pegg, as he did in Ghost Protocol, works brilliantly as the comic relief without ever compromising the tension. The whole opera sequence, puts you in the mindset of Hunt, not knowing what is going on and it is very reminiscent of The Man who Knew too Much by Alfred Hitchcock, with that level of suspense and the use of music entangled in the action. The cinematography in this sequence is simply beautiful.
This movie has breathtaking action pieces one after another. When you finally think you have recovered from Cruise hanging from a plane or the tension of the opera, Ethan Hunt’s next mission is to stay underwater for three minutes. From the start, you know something is going to go wrong but you are not sure what and it keeps you on the edge of your sit and holding your breath as Ethan does for the whole scene. If this wasn’t enough, immediately after we have probably one of the best motorcycle chases ever in an action movie.
The truth is, there is little wrong about Rogue Nation. For a movie with so many action sequences, the pacing is fantastic and all the characters have their moment to shine. I just wish Jeremy Renner could have had a bigger role or more action because he is so good and always ends up being side-lined. It could have been good to have also more of Alec Baldwin, but that is really knit-picking because for what their roles were in the movie, they were well utilized. The villain, whom in these kind of movies often seems like an afterthought, was effective and compelling. He was intimidating, always being a couple of steps mentally ahead of Hunt, and you bought his motivations.
In the end, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is probably the best movie of the summer and a fun time at the cinema. Maybe it is a bit too long but never gets tiresome or boring. It hardly ever gives you a moment to breathe and, though you know the characters are going to be fine, it still makes you fear for them, making it a thrilling experience. Mission: Impossible is one of those rare franchises that just keeps getting better and better with each new movie.