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USA 2015
Directed by
Christopher McQuarrie
131 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Synopsis: Ethan (Tom Cruise) and the IMF team take on their most impossible mission yet:  to destroy The Syndicate, an International terrorist organization.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation opens with a bravura scene in which Tom Cruise sprints across a field in Byelorus, leaps onto the wing of a giant military transport plane whilst communicating with tech-whizz kid Benji (Simon Pegg) on the ground as the plane takes off and his other two IMF cohorts, Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Luther (Ving Rhames), listen in.  Benji cracks the plane's side door open via a lap-top and Ethan parachutes to safety with a cargo of WMDs.  It is an inventive, impressively well-executed and quite amusing opener.  It also economically introduces us to the same team who featured in the previous M:I instalment, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation (unfortunately Paula Patton has been dropped).

It is also probably the best scene in the film. Thereafter we pretty much fall back on a familiar globe-trotting concatenation of car and bike chases, fisticuffs, explosions, hi-tech gadgetry and highly improbably plotting.  Which is not to say that this is not well done but how many times do we need to see car chases down flights of stairs and through crowded market streets, watch Ethan smack down assorted Eastern European goons and have the IMF team toss bon mots to each other while outsmarting some security protocol.

By some inspired chain of circumstance M:I4 was directed by animation wunderkind Brad Bird and the result was an action movie with heart. For this film Christopher McQuarrie who directed Cruise in the rather ordinary Jack Reacher takes over the helm. McQuarrie is better known as a writer (he penned The Usual Suspects and another Tom Cruise vehicle, Valkyrie along with, apparently, an uncredited rewrite on M:I4) and certainly the plot keeps you working (intermittently there are brief pauses to explain to laggards what is going on) but that is largely because it is so flagrantly indifferent to the laws of probability. Basically anything can happen that McQuarrie wants to happen and a team of stunt people can perform.

This is hardly unusual for the action thriller genre but one of the problems here is that with the exception of Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust, we’ve already seen the same characters/actors doing pretty much the same things whilst the human aspects which made M:I4 a cut-above are absent here. The only really new element is the coldly over-confident bad guy (Sean Harris) but why he is so dedicated to propagating world-wide terror is never explained so the whole film becomes merely a game of action poker: "I'll see your dastardly evil ruse and raise you a death-defying escape", and so on.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is a franchise movie which means that it is designed for audiences who want more of the same. As such, one can say that it delivers. In my case, at least, it is to the wrong address. 




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