ByJames McDonald, writer at
James is a Movie Critic and Celebrity Interviewer with over 30 years of experience as an Award-Winning Filmmaker.
James McDonald

Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.

The “Mission: Impossible” films have been in existence for almost 20 years now. I still remember going to see the original back in the summer of 1996 and being blown away by it. Brian De Palma, a director known more for his visceral brilliance in such movies as “Scarface,” “The Untouchables” and his vastly underrated “Casualties of War,” proved that he could do edge-of-your-seat suspense and excitement as well as any other big-name action filmmaker out there. Up until recently, the original “Mission” was my personal favorite although the subsequent sequels were still great fun. However, having watched “[Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation](tag:373501),” I am literally torn. Director Christopher McQuarrie, who helmed the excellent “Jack Reacher,” another Tom Cruise starrer, has created a movie that rivals and upon second and third viewings, may very well exceed the original. Damn you Christopher McQuarrie for surpassing a movie I never thought anybody could improve upon.

This time around, Ethan (Tom Cruise) and his IMF (Impossible Mission Forces) team are shut down by Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin), the head of the CIA and told to check in so that they can be questioned about the so-called damage each of their missions have amassed. It doesn’t matter that the team has saved the lives of millions of people and indeed nations, Hunley is determined to bring Hunt down, dead or alive. While on a mission in England, Ethan escapes from a would-be torture scenario by the beautiful but mysterious Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) but when he calls William (Jeremy Renner), his friend and team member to request extraction, William informs him that IMF has been shut down and advises him to go dark. Ethan notifies him that the Syndicate, an international criminal corporation he has been tracking for some time and which IMF deemed a work of imagination, really does exist and he has proof but needs the help of his old team.

Going behind Hunley’s back, William, Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) make their way to Casablanca where they meet up with Ethan and once again, the mysterious Ilsa, a former MI5 agent, now disavowed. Having told Ethan that she is deep undercover and trying to gain the trust of Lane (Sean Harris), the head of the syndicate so she can infiltrate the group and eventually expose it, after breaking into a Moroccan power station to steal a flash drive hidden by a former Syndicate traitor, full of secret files that Lane now wants, Ilsa double-crosses the team and disappears. With everyone upset that that they were betrayed, Ethan feels that there is more going on which Ilsa could not reveal but as each passing event suggests that Ilsa could quite possibly be a triple agent, Ethan and his team must head to London for one final mission, one that will decide their fate, and indeed their lives, once and for all.

This is the first summer in years that has produced so many quality movies that have been fun, loud and enjoyable. I literally cannot remember most of the summer blockbusters from previous years because most of them were duds, with the odd fun movie thrown in. “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” is not only engaging, it is clever, funny, tense and entertaining, at times, forcing you to the edge of your seat. Like the James Bond movies, we are taken all around the world, from Washington to London to Vienna and to Casablanca and the action set-pieces are spectacular. This, along with “Jurassic World,” are my two favorite movies of the summer so far and newcomer Rebecca Ferguson, is so athletic and martial arts savvy, that she almost puts Mr. Cruise to shame. Almost and I say that because at 53 years of age, he physically still puts most other actors, even those younger than him, to shame. And by the way, that stunt with the airplane? It’s real, absolutely no CGI. Enjoy!

In theaters July 31st.

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