Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is the fifth installment in the Mission: Impossible movie series. Nearly twenty years after the first film, Rogue Nation sees Tom Cruise reprise his role as IMF agent, Ethan Hunt. The film is written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, and stars Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin.
Ethan Hunt is convinced that he can proved the existence of the Syndicate, an internal criminal organization that has been responsible for numerous terrorists attacks across the world. The Syndicate seeks to creating a new world order by systematically destroying many of the world's leaders. After being captured by the Syndicate, Hunt goes on the run, and is being tracked down by the Central Intelligence Agency after the IMF has been disbanded. Hunt is unable to find the Syndicate, and enlists the help of his friend, Benji Dunn. Hunt's other two partners, William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) find Ethan to also help him track down the rogue Syndicate. Along the way, Ethan also joins forces with British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) as the group faces their most impossible mission yet.
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation achieves something rare. It's one of the only Hollywood blockbuster franchises that has gotten better with time and age. As the fifth installment in a series that is nearly twenty years old, one would think that Rogue Nation would use old tricks to tell a new story. That couldn't be further from the truth. Rogue Nation is sleek, focused and exhilarating. In 2005, J.J. Abrams took the reigns of the franchise to give it a resurgence that has continued to benefit the franchise ten years later. Now, writer-director, Christopher McQuarrie does an incredible job at infusing practical action into the story, as well as make us feel for these characters as more than just indestructible spy machines.
The shining star of Rogue Nation is, undoubtedly, Tom Cruise. At 53 years-young, Cruise is better than ever. Not only has the Mission: Impossible series seen a resurgence in the past decade, but Cruise's status as a Hollywood action blockbuster movie star has been elevated to new heights. At his best, Cruise is performing many of his own stunts to add a level of realism not seen in many of Hollywood's summer blockbuster films. By this point, we've all heard of the crazy stunt that he actually performed on the side of that airplane. Honestly, he deserves a standing ovation for even agreeing to do that. Furthermore, Cruise is at his best alongside co-star/love interest Ilsa Faust, played by Ferguson. Their chemistry is magnetic, and their relationship in the film works. Ferguson holds her own, and does a great job at embracing her role as the film's heroine. Surely, she's up there as the best female action star this summer, next to Charlize Theron's Furiosa from Mad Max.
The rest of the cast is entertaining as well. Simon Pegg as Benji is brilliantly funny. His timing and facial reactions create some of the film's best moments. Alec Baldwin plays Alan Hunley, who spends most of the film being a complete dick, in order to dismantle the IMF and bring Hunt to justice. Sean Harris as the film's villain, and leader of the Syndicate, is cold and calculating. He is a man of few words, and serves as a formidable equal to Hunt by using his intelligence and resources to achieve domination. Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames sort of take a back seat in this installment. I felt like the pair had more to do in Ghost Protocol, but in Rogue Nation, they spend the majority of their time trying to track down Ethan. Nonetheless, this is a minor negative that doesn't distract from the narrative story arc.
Rogue Nation not only boasts a simple, yet interesting story, but it contains some of the best action in any film this year. The sequences from top to bottom are fantastic. As mentioned earlier, Cruise's death-defying plane stunt is just awesome to witness. There is also an impressive and thrilling fight sequence at an opera show in Vienna. There's an intense underwater sequence that serves as a nod to heist films. And the car/motorcycle chase scene in Morocco was just breathtaking. All of the action beats feel larger than life, and the film spend much of its time traveling across the world to places such as Vienna, Morocco, Paris and London. Rogue Nation is a world adventure.
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation may very well be the best installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Alongside the Fast and Furious franchise, Mission: Impossible gets better with age. In a summer where dinosaurs, robots and minions have ruled, Rogue Nation brings us back to reality, kind of. Even though it's a bit bloated, and contains a heightened reality of spy/espionage elements, Rogue Nation delivers the thrills, the comedy and the action. McQuarrie and Cruise prove to be a dynamic duo that is worthy of praise, and have already agreed to begin work on a sixth Mission: Impossible film. And I'm not mad at that. If the series continues going at this rate, we're in for some incredible things ahead.