19 years since it all began, back with 1996's Mission Impossible, and we're now 5 films deep with this year's Rogue Nation. Christopher McQuarrie takes the helm for the fifth instalment and Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt for his toughest mission yet, in what is now undeniably one of the biggest action franchises out there.

Within the first five minutes of Rogue Nation beginning, we're treated to one of the film's best scenes, the big money shot from the trailers: Tom Cruise hanging on to the side of a plane as it takes off. And, the best thing about it is, it's actually Cruise holding on to the side of a plane as it takes off. It's not a stunt double. It's not green-screened. It's actually happening and it's epic. The scene is exhilarating, intense and wildly entertaining and made all the more impressive by the fact that Tom Cruise actually did it himself. Right from the opening mark, this film throws us straight into the action. It's a ballsy, ambitious move to kick off with the biggest scene in the flick but it encapsulates the sheer madness, scale and confidence of this project and it's lead actor, the best action-star working today. Whilst most would think it can't get better from there, most would be wrong.

From there on, the film establishes the premise which sees Ethan Hunt take on a force known as "the Syndicate" - a rogue organisation made up of former, thought-to-be deceased agents. As Simon Pegg's Benji refers to it at one point, the Syndicate is almost an "anti-IMF" - they possess their skills and abilities but use them for bad. However, when CIA director Alan Huntley (Alec Baldwin) doesn't find Hunt's story too believable, he comes to the decision of dissolving the IMF. Forcing a now wanted Ethan to go rogue to hunt down the organisation, with the help of his returning crew (Jeremy Renner, Pegg, Ving Rhames) and the mysterious, badass Isla (Rebecca Ferguson) who comes into the picture when she saves Hunt and reveals that she may know a thing or two about how to take down the Syndicate.
The Mission Impossible films have always been entertaining action pictures. However, 2011's Ghost Protocol breathed new life and energy into the franchise (like what Fast Five did for the Fast & Furious franchise). Taking over the helm this time, from MI4's Brad Bird is Christopher McQuarrie, who previously worked with Cruise on Jack Reacher. If there's one thing the director knows how to do, it's deliver on action and Rogue Nation is action spectacle at its finest. This film is an exhilarating, non-stop, pulse pounding thrill ride and one of the best, if not THE best, instalments in what has now become one of the biggest action franchises today. The sequences are both entertaining but epic but beautifully captured too. The camera-work is stunning and McQuarrie delivers action the way it should be.

Tom Cruise has time and time again proven that he can kick some serious ass and he does it yet again in Mission Impossible 5. Not only does he show that he's an action star,  he shows us why he's the biggest one working today. It's a no-brainer that he gives a good performance as Hunt, so magnetic and charismatic. Performing his own stunts (of which are all big-scaled and life threatening), it's clear that he means business. The chemistry and team dynamic is another thing that he excels in here and you easily believe his relationship with the rest of the cast. Ving Rhames adopts an almost fatherly-like role and sells it well. Jeremy Renner may be good with a bow and arrow in the MCU but he's wonderful in Rogue Nation too. It's great seeing them back and kicking ass, adding a nice layer to the proceedings.

Simon Pegg is hilarious and shows he doesn't need action chops to make a likeable, fun character in this action film - alongside action stars. He also has a much bigger than role this time around, than Ghost Protocol, and his performance lights up the screen. Newcomer Rebecca Ferguson is truly phenomenal too, stealing the show. She's a strong, independent and thoroughly badass character and one of the better female characters we've seen in a film in recent years. You believe her ability to lay down a punch and she doesn't need men by her side to make look desirable and epic. The antagonist of Rogue Nation is also one of the better villains this franchise has seen. He may not match the true power of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's big bad in Mission Impossible 3 but you still believe he'd be able to take down Hunt and his team and are intimated by his power.
This, of course, is down to the arc and depth the character has been given. The writing is so good that we get to see the antagonist fleshed out and given enough substance for us to buy into his motivations. The same applies for everyone. We get so invested into each individual character, whether they're new to the franchise or whether we've had several films to attach to them, that you can't help but get enthralled into the proceedings that bit more. The story is driven by character development and if there's no attachment or empathy for our protagonists, the emotional core of this film falls flat which doesn't happen here. The screenplay itself is so good and the premise is so brilliantly portrayed. Sometimes, it feels as though the story jumps from one aspect to another and it occasionally loses its footing but it always manages to come back and ties all the loose strings up nicely by the end - a thrilling, epic, action-packed finale.

Overall, Rogue Nation is a triumph of an action film. It feels a little too long and some scenes can drag on every now and then but, for the most part, it's an exhilarating, massively fun piece of cinema and is executed so seamlessly and brilliantly, hitting lots of key notes on the way, which ultimately leads to its success.

VERDICT:
Action-packed and massive fun, Rogue Nation is the thrill ride of the Summer. It's a non-stop, energy-infused, ticking time bomb of epic and a total blast to watch that packs just as much heart and laughs as it does seamless action.
★★★★☆

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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