Not a huge Tom Cruise fan - his supreme weirdness trumps his commitment to verisimilitude in action scenes, but I will admit that these last two Mission Impossible flicks (Ghost Protocol & Rogue Nation) go a long way towards me dismissing the Oprah moments or the various rumors that his control freakishness is of diabolical proportions... it goes a long way, but we are light years apart, so it's going to take an awful lot more than travelling a long way for me to actually dismiss the strangeness that is TC.
Goofy couch jumping psychopathy aside, Rogue Nation and Ghost Protocol shared the common elements that make a good action movie that I have shared with you all before - excellent special effects and a good villain.
*Christopher McQuarrie (The Way of the Gun, Jack Reacher) - Writer/Director
Tom Cruise (Edge of Tomorrow, Minority Report) - Ethan Hunt
Jeremy Renner (American Hustle, Avengers) - William Brandt
Alec Baldwin (TV's 30 Rock, The Departed) - Alan Hunley
Sean Harris (TV's The Borgias, Prometheus) - Solomon Lane
Rebecca Ferguson (TV's The White Queen, Hercules - the one with the Rock, not that other dude) - Ilsa Faust
Ving Rhames (Baby Boy, Pulp Fiction) - Luther Stickell
Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, At World's End) - Benji Dunn
*MCQuarrie also wrote the screenplay for one of the greatest movies ever - The Usual Suspects
IF YOU MUST KNOW:
The Impossible Missions Force (IMF) is embattled on all fronts... I know, SHOCKER (like a pointer, middle and pinky finger - you can look that one up). Once again, Ethan Hunt's (Cruise) team is being faced with a situation that gives rise to the acronym from whence the series draws its name. This time, Hunt has been on the trail of the Syndicate, a cabal so secret the global intelligence community denies its existence. (Aside #1: Anyone else notice that the bad guys organizations in these movies and TV shows centered around espionage and shadowy governments have certain similarities: example, James Bond it's called Spectre; Nikita/La Femme Nikita it was Section, for Alias the bad guys were SD-6 - and, even yours truly, in his as yet unproduced good faith attempt at writing a screenplay, called the villains the Seraphim... YIKES! All I can say is my screenplay even had a twist with the terrorist group's name... that's how yoga-bendy my script was & reason #41 why nobody bought it.) ***If you think of any other movies or TV shows where they call the bad guys or a secret cabal of some sort is called by a name that starts with an "S" or even an S-sound, hit me up. I know there are more, but these are the ones I though about while I was in the theater yesterday.***
What's new or fresh about this film... well, almost nothing. The plot is virtually identical to every Mission Impossible movie since the first one. If you haven't seen them, then this one will be fresh, but if you have seen ANY of them, then the formula will be wholly recognizable.
Rogue Nation = [Ethan Hunt + his IMF team (in the last few movies that's been Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and la femme du jour minus my bad Francais)] + the IMF is on the verge of being shut down for one reason or another + Hunt enlists the help of his associates + there's a heist of some sort from an impenetrable location + Hunt almost dies doing the impossible (as someone said in one of the earlier films "this isn't mission difficult, it's mission impossible") = most of the team lives to save the world another day, not including the franchise opener, in which his team got mercked, which really was a plus for the film.
Sound familiar? That was the formula and plot from Mission Impossible #2, #3, and #4 - if you want the one for #5 - see the above formula and add a couple years Cruise. Yes, some of those movies were not solid. Ghost Protocol was fun; so was the one with Maggie Q (was it 3?) - you know the one when she popped out of that banana whip in that red dress looking like she was constructed of nothing but legs and a neck...? I refuse to google it, because I love how it lives in my memory more than the actual plot of that particular installment.
Anyway, overall, Rogue Nation held no surprises. Even the twists were expected, the saving grace was Cruise's commitment to making us believe he could do the action stuff that he did in this film - that's largely because Tom Cruise is playing out what can only be described as a very public death wish/cry for help by doing so many of these stunts himself. It will not be until there is a "tragic" accident onset that people stop patting cheering him for doing things best left to professionals. Don't get me wrong, it looks cool when you don't see the usual camera tricks that cut away from stuntmen to make us believe the actor is really hanging onto the side of a plane, but damn. Jackie Chan - professional, but even he turned it down as he got older. Word to the unwise: Tom, fall back before the obit ends with #LUNACYdefined That said, what's good about this film is... you guessed it, the ACTION sequences. The car to motorcycle chase, the fight scenes when they alternate from direct shots to silhouettes doing hand to hand-to-hand combat behind a sheet.
But Faust (Ferguson) is the best thing about this movie. Aside: I grew up around strong women who used to kick the a$$ess of big dudes around the way and at school on my behalf when I was a wee lad, so watching Ferguson get busy, stand toe-to-toe with the toughest SOBs in the movie and show that she's not just a pretty face, really made this remake of MI's 2-4 not just tolerable, but legitimately watchable. I wouldn't be surprised if she gets one of those rare female reappearances in the next film; better yet, she should start booking some action leads in her own flicks. Also, I'll give honorable mention to both Jeremy Renner and Alec Baldwin for bringing in the comic relief that helped to move this movie along in an enjoyable way. Wait for Baldwin's speech about Ethan Hunt, the seriousness makes you laugh.
IMTHATDUDE gives MI-Rogue Nation: 3
5 = You should be about halfway to the theatre by now… Well… GET!
4 = Definitely worth the bread. Niiice.
3 = I won’t cuss anybody out and demand my paper back.
2 = Somewhere SOUTH of under-whelmed./I know it has a pulse, but…
1 = Not a good look. They played me AND I played myself.