When it comes to fifth instalments, it is rare to improve on the franchise but the latest entry to Mission Impossible franchise does exactly this. From Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie comes Rogue Nation – the twisty turny adventure of the now wanted super spy Ethan Hunt. With the Impossible Mission Force under threat of closure, Hunt is ostracized and conducts a solo investigation to the Syndicate, proving their existence and bringing them down. Throughout this we are treated to all the tropes we can expect as well as stunning set pieces and death-defying stunts.
On the topic of the set pieces, we begin the film on the much trailed scene of Cruise’s Hunt hanging off the side of an aeroplane as it is taking off and the narrative kicks off. The film is so fast paced and relentless that any flaws are instantly forgotten as we move into the next stunning set piece.
To highlight one in particular, a scene within the opera at Vienna takes the outstanding scene from Quantum of solace and amps it up completely to a fantastically joyous scene which is full of action and tension.
Speaking of Bond, it is tough to escape comparisons to the British super spy – especially given that the final third of the film takes place in London. From the aforementioned pre-credit sequence to the gadgets (fewer than Ghost Protocol incidentally) to the scene of Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust walking out of a pool (ala Ursula Ander’s Honey Ryder in Dr. No) the comparisons are clear. It is especially hard to think that this is the type of Bond film we would experience in a world without Jason Bourne.
Director McQuarrie has a keen understanding on what has made previous Mission: Impossible films work and seemingly on what hasn’t. It will come as no surprise to say that the series has some real lowlights – looking at you M:I 2, which suffered from bloated plot and overlong set pieces. Rogue Nation neatly sidesteps any of these issues by moving at such a quick pace that even in retrospect, it is tough to pin down any major flaws.
Returning cast members, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames provide a mix of comedy and depth in their support but make no mistake, this is Tom Cruise’s film. With Rebecca Ferguson as a sparring partner – in a relationship which never quite descends into romantic – Cruise flourishes as her physical and intellectual equal. The idea of not quite knowing who has the upper hand is well executed and makes what could have been a run-of-the-mill will-they-won’t-they into something more.
To nitpick slightly, Sean Harris’s Solomon Lane is undoubtably a creepy villain however could have done with just one more scene to develop the characters motivation further. This is especially because the choice of whispering menace that he creates.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is impossibly fun and wonderfully paced. The narrative is convoluted and contrived – but what do you really want? It doesn’t jar or get in the way of the main focus which is impressive action and well-made set pieces. Could well be the spy film of the year – what it Bond, Hunt is coming!