In 1996 when Paramount created the first Mission Impossible film, fans of the classic TV series were none too pleased when the makers decidedly killed off the team and turned the film into a “Tom Cruise film.” Still, the film worked well enough to create two more Cruise-centric Impossible films. But Paramount went back to the series’ roots with a team effort for 2011’s Ghost Protocol, making that film the most popular in the franchise, at least it for many of its fans. And it was not just good storytelling, but also image-improving as Cruise, at the time, was making headlines for all the wrong reasons. This time around, Cruise is getting a lot more attention for doing his own stunts.
For Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation, the team is intact again – sort of. Paula Patton, who was such a great addition to the cast in Ghost Protocol, is nowhere to be seen or heard from in this film, even though there are some references to the last film here. Jeremy Renner as William Brandt and Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell get a lot less screen time for this story as well, but Simon Pegg as Benji is promoted to a much more important role and shows a more serious side than he did in the last film.
For this story, the IMF has burned a few too many bridges and is forced to shut down “even as the most harrowing threat yet known to the free world lies in the shadows” as stated in the film’s press release. You see, up until now, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and company have not proven that The Syndicate, a group of renegade spies, really exists. Alan Huntley (Alec Baldwin), the CIA Director wants to shut them down but Hunt has gone missing. Meanwhile, Hunt and company are both hiding from and exposing the creepy looking and sounding Solomon Lane and the audience is left wondering if Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) is good spy or a bad spy.
Unlike the Ethan Hunt of the previous films, here we see a more imperfect one. In fact, the film highlights a scene where Hunt is cleary not at his best and yet still manages to get the job done. There is something satisfying about not seeing Tom Cruise at his best. And like MI4, there is more than one hero. Baldwin is a nice surprise as well. The actor has done so much comedy in the last few years that we forget that he can really act. Not that his part is all that serious, but at least it’s not as goofy as those Capital One commercials. (Although it might have been fun to hear him ask someone else what was in their wallet.)
Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Rogue Nation isn’t as much fun as Brad Bird’s film nor is the ending as spectacular. And while the storyline is a little difficult to understand, you should be able to hang on through it all. MI5 does make for a fine sequel. It is also surprisingly “clean” with little language and the violence isn’t as graphic as it could be.