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Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

In “Misson:Impossible – Rogue Nation,” Ethan Hunt is on the run again, as the IMF (that’s Impossible Mission Force, not International Money Fund) is being shut down by CIA director Alec Baldwin, who is convinced that the shadow organization Hunt is chasing is nothing but shadows.  Seems like this guy can never catch a break or just carry out a normal mission. (This might be the only way Mission:Impossible differs from the Bond movies: nobody’s ever trying to shut down the British Secret Service.) He’s always got to save the day and prove that he was necessary in the first place. It’s hard work, being an IMF agent these days.  But it also looks like a lot of fun.

Tom Cruise hand-picked Christopher McQuarrie (who won an Oscar more than twenty years ago for writing “The Usual Suspects) to write and direct “Rogue Nation,” showing that Cruise still has more than a big paycheck invested in this series. Say what you want about Cruise (and a lot of different things can be said,) he really pours himself into the M:I movies, and it shows.  A lot of ink has been spilled about the stunts he did himself — he’s become this decade’s Jackie Chan, which makes you wonder what has become of Jackie Chan — and those are impressive and and a real sense of thrill to the movie, but I’m at least equally impressed by the choices he’s made as producer.  McQuarrie delivers an exciting, fun script that is coherent but not overly complicated, and directs it with panache. Cruise was also involved in the casting of two virtual unknowns into big roles, and both of those choices pay off marvelously.

We’ve also got a solid bad guy, played by raspy-voiced Sean Harris, who reminded me more than a little of Mads Mikkelsen in “Casino Royale.” And Rebecca Ferguson is fantastic as the femme fatale, sometimes working with Hunt, sometimes against him, always mysterious and intriguing. She comes awfully close to stealing the movie from its star. Simon Pegg returns to provide comic relief, and Jeremy Renner to suck the fun out of every scene he’s in.  (Not a fan.)  There’s even a scene or two with Ving Rhames.

“Rogue Nation” is everything I want a “Mission:Impossible” movie to be.  Really, it’s everything I want a summer action flick to be.  It’s exciting and stylish, it’s occasionally funny, and it’s great-looking.  That last one seems to be more and more unusual, though just a few years ago it was a staple of top-notch action flicks. “Rogue Nation” makes great use of exotic locations, like an opera house in Vienna and a villa in Morocco, that just add to the fun. I’ll happily say a lot of good things about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but one knock against it is that it’s never figured out how to make a great-looking movie like this one. What can I say, I’m a sucker for action heroes in evening clothes shooting things at each other inside and around thousand year old buildings.



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Posted in All Reviews, by Will Krischke.

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