With its 5th instalment in its rebooted film franchise, Mission: Impossible shows no sign of slowing down.
Although it is pretty much just an episodic release every 3 or 4 years where Tom Cruise gets to show us how extreme he is this time around, the formula, ridiculous as it is, hovers just enough on the right side of crazy that we seem to buy into the whole experience. With a kind of charm that I enjoy far more than the generic grim-dark action feature film, Rogue Nation is best for those who own massive TV screens and surround sound speakers.
This time round, the IMF (the spy organisation from this series, not the International Monetary Fund) is being shut down on account of being reckless and uncontrollable. At the same time, Ethan Hunt (Cruise), suspects that a shadowy counter-agency known as the Syndicate is behind the scenes and is attempting a takeover. On the run from both the Syndicate and the CIA, Hunt must use his old friends, including tech genius Benji Dunn (Pegg) to defeat the bad guys and earn back his good name.
On a description like that alone, the film would be doomed to mediocrity. But a talented team of cast members keeps the action moving well, and Tom Cruise is rather exceptional at this kind of thing. He seems determined to win some imaginary contest in filmmaking, even when he is only competing against himself from previous instalments, and I admire him for that. As such, theres a few really good set pieces for him to climb all over and escape from explosions from, and these are all handled well.
A few nods to the franchise are starting to seem a little stale – the same trick of a character wearing a realistic mask that we don’t know about until the reveal is done here, and honestly I could live without that. The characters are also all basically archetypes rather than real people, and for some viewing this would be incredibly grating. However, starring moments remain, also in terms of cinematography and editing. Some gun fights and action scenes seem to accept the insanity of their situation and behave almost as elaborate dance sequences, and in a lesser, cheaper movie this would become immediately absurd. However, by making the world the film takes place in such a land of wish fulfilment, you as the audience feel comfortable enough to go along with it because its “cool.” And that, in itself, is fine enough by me.
Rogue Nation is best watched with a group of similar minded friends as a social outing. It almost begs for the astonishment at its feats. I don’t know how long the franchise can keep it up, but for now, it’s still a heck of a ride.