ByJonathan Decker, writer at

This review originally posted on the author's site

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Ethan Hunt and his friends team up with a lethal operative to bring down a global organization of spies and terrorists. But whose side is she really on? (BUY TICKETS HERE)

IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A-) While it's debatable which M:I film is king of the series, Rogue Nation certainly earns its place alongside the best of them. That's no small feat: we're five films in and there's no sign of franchise fatigue. Writer-direct Christopher McQuarrie (who worked on other excellent Cruise efforts Edge of Tomorrow, Jack Reacher, and Valkyrie) delivers a crackerjack spy thriller here.

In addition to the dazzling set pieces these films are known for, Rogue Nation delivers an interesting story, plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, and an excellent throw-down performance by Rebecca Ferguson. It's nice to have Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and Ving Rhames back (even if the latter two are underutilized until late in the game). Alec Baldwin turns out to be a welcome addition. Cruise continues to astound with his stunt-work here. There's some nice nods, in both dialogue and musical cues, to previous films in the series.

As for flaws, the tonal shifts between lighthearted escapism and gritty violence are jarring at times and the film feels slightly overlong. Also, some of the action beats and plot twists are slightly ridiculous and fall apart if one gives them much thought. Ultimately, these do little to detract from a very enjoyable night at the cinema. Rogue Nation is charming, unpredictable, and a whole lot of fun.

(Buy tickets here; pre-order it on Bluray here and Instant Video here; buy the rest of the films here).

CONTENT OVERVIEW: Mission Impossible- Rogue Nation is rated PG-13. There are a few s-words and a handful of other mild-to-moderate profanities. A man is seen shirtless during an interrogation (he's punched and threatened with instruments). A woman is seen briefly in a bikini; she also wears a dress that reveals her back and most of her legs, and is seen for a second from behind wearing only panties as she changes into other clothes. There are fistfights, gunfights, and knife-fights, with some people shot and stabbed (very little blood). Operatives presumably die in various motorcycle accidents during a chase.

MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: Don't blame other people for your mistakes; be accountable for your own actions instead of making others suffer. Intelligence and teamwork are more useful than brawn and might. Be loyal to your friends.

Like my work? Watch me on The KJZZ Movie Show, Sundays at noon and 10:00 pm on KJZZ-TV (UT), or watch full episodes here. My film guide, 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, is now available in paperback and Kindle, so pick one up! Come meet me at this year's Salt-Lake Comic Con in September, where I'll be a panelist.

Image: All rights reserved.
Image: All rights reserved.

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