Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation Review

MI5

I’ve seen Mission Impossible 5 twice now and it was as enjoyable now as it was when I first saw it. This film is a great addition to the blockbuster franchise and a very welcome watch.

With Rogue Nation, we see Ethan Hunt go back to being a hunted man hot on the trail of a shadow organisation that only he seems to believe exists. He has been declared a rogue agent and is on the run from both the CIA as well the Syndicate, the rogue organisation he is hunting. So far, they have always managed to stay one step ahead of him and it doesn’t help that they know who he is while he is still operating in the dark. To make matter worse, the CIA has shut down IMF leaving Hunt quite literally on his own. His only ally is Benji and Ilsa Faust an ex-MI-6 agent who may or may not be working for the Syndicate.

Rogue Nation has amazing stunts and what lends even more gravity and thrill to these stunts is the fact that Tom Cruise actually did a lot of them including the airplane sequence, which was absolutely thrilling. Great stunts have become a hallmark of the franchise and in that regard Rogue Nation doesn’t disappoint in the least. Another notable mention is the bike chase sequence, which was also beautifully done and really put the audience in the middle of the chase. But unlike the Fast and Furious films where increasingly it is becoming more about the stunts and less about the plot, here the action set-pieces don’t distract from the main plot and characters, rather they showcase the skill of the characters and raise the stakes of the overall plot.

Christopher McQuarrie was the scriptwriter on Ghost Protocol and co-wrote and directed Rogue Nation. Rogue Nation certainly benefited from having him direct because he streamlined the franchise and brought it back to what it was originally, a high-stakes spy/action thriller. He started doing that with MI4 and Rogue Nation is better for it. He also did a great job balancing the action set pieces with the plot and character development.

What would the Mission Impossible films be without Tom Cruise? At this point, the franchise is synonymous with his name. He is very much the driving force of the franchise and also the reason why people still flock to see these films. He is still convincing as the super secret agent Ethan Hunt.

Returning cast members include Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner. Simon Pegg has a larger role this time around and it does the film good. His performance and comic timing keep the tone of the film from getting too serious. Rhames and Renner, however, spent the majority of the film on the side-lines. Alec Baldwin, the CIA chief is also a welcome addition to the ensemble.

The real star of the film however, is Rebecca Ferguson, the ex-MI-6 agent who helps Ethan learn the truth about the Syndicate. She is a bit of an ambiguous character since for a large part of the film, you aren’t entirely sure who’s side she’s on but despite all that (or perhaps because of it) she is very intriguing. Add to that, she is just as capable as Ethan Hunt and even manages to outsmart him a time or two. It is very rewarding to see a strong woman who remains undiminished throughout an entire film, especially in a film that has typically been very much a boy’s club. Her fight scenes were beautifully choreographed and utterly convincing. Plus there was something very gratifying to see one woman get the better of so many men around her, all of whom make the grave mistake of underestimating her. Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust is every bit as capable as Ethan Hunt and she is absolutely amazing. What I also liked about her was that they didn’t make her masculine or sexualise her in any way. Sure, Ferguson is attractive but that was never the focus. Not to mention that she, noticeably, did not wear high heels during combat which was also a breath of fresh air.

One of the best things about Rogue Nation was the absence of a love story. All of the previous films (except maybe the first) were bogged down by love story angles and it became worse when Ethan got married. Those were complications, which were simply not needed. They sidelined that plot in the previous film and it was completely absent in this film, which was very refreshing.

Rogue Nation is a lot of fun with an engaging plot and characters that you’ll root for. On a side note, can we please have Rebecca Ferguson return to the franchise as a regular, that would be great…

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