2015. Rated PG-13, 131 minutes.
As is customary for the series, we open up with Ethan Hunt (Cruise) already on an impossible mission. This, of course, culminates in a spectacular action scene where things don't quite work out as planned. See the pic above. I'll spare the rest of the details. Just know that the powers that be are none too pleased with these events and shut down IMF. Sorta. Since the bad guys are still out there, Hunt takes it upon himself to try to bring them down. This makes him a fugitive and puts him in the middle of some serious international and top secret goings on. Lots of double and triple crossing, back-stabbing, and front-stabbing ensues. Never you worry, lots of stuff goes boom.
Rogue Nation is proof that the franchise's previous entry, Ghost Protocol was no fluke. Like that one, RN strikes a near perfect balance between intriguing espionage and dumb action. Neither one is ever very far away. The comedic stylings of Simon Pegg as Benji also figures nicely into the mix, once again. With Tom Cruise in full-blown alpha-male mode, and Ving Rhames, as Luther, having his back as only Ving Rhames can, the pieces are all in place for another solid entry.
Notice I only said solid. It's been proven that these pieces work, so that's no surprise. What elevates this installment above solid, and above all but one prior entry, is the inclusion of a new piece in the form of Rebecca Ferguson. She plays Ilsa Faust, Hunt's rival/ally/love interest, or something. It's a role that has shown up in tons of action films, but Ferguson makes it her own. She is at once seductive and foreboding. Physically, she handles her own with excellent work during the action scenes. In all of these ways, she's reminiscent of Emily Blunt's stellar work in another Tom Cruise vehicle, Edge of Tomorrow. Though Ferguson's character occasionally gets lost in all the twists and turns of the plot, she is still a great aid to the film she's in.
Speaking of the plot, that is where RN struggles most. It has a fine premise and doesn't necessarily do anything wrong. It just isn't saying nearly as much as it thinks it is. Not all that long ago, the James Bond flick Skyfall covered much of the same terrain. That film did it with a nostalgic eye reluctantly contemplating the future through some rather poignant introspection. This film hints that it might travel the same path, but never does more than that. It's unwillingness to examine itself, also a franchise born of long-gone era, renders this superficial, and thus, on a little on the forgettable side. Luckily, we have a grand time while it's on. It's loads of fun while giving us enough of the cerebral stuff to keep us mentally engaged. Other than some of the stunts, it just fails to linger with us in a way that would make it a truly great film. Please don't misunderstand me. I really do like RN. With two consecutive, legitimately good entries, Mission: Impossible has transformed itself from a series I wish would die into one I'm looking forward to seeing more from.
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