Ethan Hunt and his team must face their most difficult battle yet as they attempt to take down the Syndicate - an international rogue organisation with the same skills as the IMF.
Tom Cruise - Ethan Hunt
Rebecca Ferguson - Ilsa Faust
Simon Pegg - Benji Dunn
Jeremy Renner - William Brandt
Alec Baldwin - Alan Hunley
Who would have guessed that a film franchise influenced by a television series from the 1960/70's would still be going strong today? Well, Rogue Nation, the fifth film in the action-packed Mission: Impossible series, was released on Thursday and looking at the box office figures it is clear that audiences are not getting tired of seeing the IMF battle criminal organisations. New director Christopher McQuarrie had a hard task following on from Ghost Protocol, arguably the best film in the series with Brad Bird using his imagination and creativity, which makes him a treasure at Pixar, to bring a new edge to the franchise. However, McQuarrie has done a brilliant job ensuring that Rogue Nation surges with energy and is as ridiculously entertaining as the rest of the series.
The storylines of the Mission: Impossible films are always the same. An IMF team led by Hunt are forced to go rogue in order to tackle a criminal organisation, usually arm dealers or terrorists, who seem impossible to defeat. Unfortunately with Rogue Nation no effort is made to deviate from this storyline, however the added twists involving the CIA and MI6 work neatly to create a more developed plot. Although it is not refreshingly new, the storyline is well written and is functional for the film's requirements, with twists and turns keeping us gripped throughout and providing context for the electrifying action sequences that are the real draw of the film.
And with Rogue Nation the explosive action sequences, like with all Mission: Impossible films, are the highlight. You would have thought there would be no new way of doing action sequences with the thousands of films that have been made across decades of cinema history. Sure, there is certainly plenty of the usual bone-crunching fights, sharp knife brawls and the classic battle behind the scenes of the opera that we have repeatedly seen on screen. Fortunately, this is all shot beautifully and with perfected choreography so we can forgive it for being cliche, especially the scene at the Vienna opera. But three certain action sequences really stand-out, being original, gripping and ultimately thrilling. Mission: Impossible films always take Cruise to new heights, literally, and the opening sequence which sees Hunt clinging on to a plane as it takes off is the perfect way to open the film. It lets us know that we are in for the usual action-packed thrills, and even though it will be silly nonsense we will find it deliriously entertaining. The plane stunt was impressive, but the underwater sequence and the motorbike chase were outstanding, especially the latter which will push you to the edge of your seat. I saw Rogue Nation in IMAX, and that is certainly the best format to see it in to place you right at the centre of the action.
Mission: Impossible films are never just about the action though, and the dynamics within the IMF team are also very rewarding. Tom Cruise, who is an incredible 53 now, still proves he can be a brilliant action hero and leading man, and you can never question his commitment to the franchise, especially as he does all his own stunts, including that plane sequence ladies and gentlemen. Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn injects the film with a slice of humour and Renner does a great job reprising his role as Brandt. Alec Baldwin is an excellent addition to the cast as CIA director Hunley, and Sean Harris is rather creepy as the mysterious villain Lane. However, the best performance comes from newcomer Rebecca Ferguson who plays the enigmatic Ilsa Faust. Unlike most female stars in big action films, Ferguson pretty much co-leads the film alongside Cruise and her character is developed right until the very end. Faust certainly knows how to kick-ass and really pushes her opponents to their limits, wrapping her legs round their bodies snapping their bones. However, she is also vulnerable and is the key puzzle in the film, as the audience are never sure where her real loyalties lie. Action films need more characters like Faust, and more actresses like Ferguson to play them.
Rogue Nation proves that the Mission: Impossible films can still impress, although a refreshing storyline will probably be needed in future episodes. Without a care in the world for realism, the filmmakers provide us with exhilarating action sequences and a thrilling story that may be complete nonsense but leaves us revelling in entertainment as the silliness just makes it insanely enjoyable. So Mr. Cruise, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to bring it on with the next film!