Release: 7th December 2015
Format: BR / DVD / DGTL
With the IMF now disbanded and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, a new threat — called the Syndicate — soon emerges. The Syndicate is a network of highly skilled operatives who are dedicated to establishing a new world order via an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Faced with what may be the most impossible mission yet, Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a disavowed British agent who may or may not be a member of this deadly rogue nation.
You can accuse the Mission: Impossible franchise of many things, but one thing it has never been is complacent. Tom Cruise has the proverbial creative ADHD when it comes to Ethan Hunt; always seeking something new and different…even if only on a superficial level. This change is often manifested in the ever evolving line-up of writers, directors and sidekicks (barring the omnipresent Ving Rhames). It seems Marsellus Wallace really isn’t a bitch.
Although the basic plot of the Mission: Impossible series rarely changes (good spy meets bad spy while femme fatale plays both against the middle), what does often alter is the manner in which it is executed. The first film was a straight up thriller, number two went all Hong Kong Fuey, three wanted to have its domestic drama cake and eat it, whilst four was full-on crime caper. Rogue nation, the fifth in this monstrous series, is like political theatre with a dash of European action sensibilities.
Rebecca Ferguson is a terrific addition to the cast as super spy Ilsa Faust (great name!). Her heady mix of sexuality and skull splitting toughness, makes her by far one the best female characters the spy genre has seen in years (next to Judy Dench’s ‘M’). With the current trend in Hollywood to court feminist ideals, here is a worthy effort at creating a female Ethan Hunt. Audiences would quite happily see someone like Ferguson continue on in and maybe even take over the franchise. Simon Pegg gets a bit more to chew on this time around, and his Benji is now the beating heart of the show. It is still difficult to see what purpose Jeremey Renner serves in these films; other than being the new go-between for Ethan and whoever is currently head of IMF. And Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise.
Director Christopher McQuarrie is comfortable directing action, and shares a long standing relationship with Tom Cruise, so it is easy to see why the film floats through the more adrenaline fuelled scenes with such ease. The extended car chase is righteously exciting, and the widely publicised plane hanging sequence hits a high note. But it is actually the zero decibel knife fight at the opera which really stands out here. This feels like something Hitchcock might have cooked up had he ever ventured back into the spy world. There is a tangible air of classical action cinema about this scene; and is definitely one of the franchise’s best moments.
It would be easy for all involved to kick back and enjoy the fruits of their labours, but for a film that so effortlessly lays out a buffet of bullets and carnage; it is really rather frugal with it. McQuarrie and Cruise seem focused on something that is a dirty word in blockbuster cinema; character. For some reason, the pair are intent on making Rogue Nation the most talky entry to date. In fact, the entire last act culminates in the equivalent of someone putting their gun down and backing out of a room. On first viewing this is one of the more jarring experiences of the film, but upon second viewing it is clear to see that Rogue Nation might actually be the most thoughtful franchise movie of the year.
Film Grade: B+
Not available at time of going to press. But they include;
- Audio Commentary by Tom Cruise and director/screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie
- Lighting the Fuse
- Cruise Control
- Cruising Altitude
- Mission: Immersible
- Sand Theft Auto
- The Missions Continue