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|Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
dir-scr Christopher McQuarrie
prd Tom Cruise, JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk, David Ellison
with Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, Simon McBurney, Tom Hollander, Jens Hulten, Zhang Jingchu, America Olivo
release US/UK 31.Jul.15
15/UK Paramount 2h10
Who do you trust: Cruise and Ferguson
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
Both funnier and darker than previous entries in the series, this thriller takes a surprisingly sober approach to its plot. Despite all the wisecracking, this is a knotted mystery packed with unexpected twists and action sequences that go for earthy authenticity rather than wham-bam explosive mayhem. But then none of that should be surprising with McQuarrie writing and directing.
The Impossible Mission Force is in trouble with the US government, and the CIA director (Baldwin) wants them reined in. But star agent Ethan (Cruise) refuses to abandon his latest mission. In limbo with the CIA, his teammates Benji and Luther (Pegg and Rhames) and colleague William (Renner) secretly help Hunt as he continues searching for an assassin (Harris) with a connection to the mythical Syndicate, a villainous agency that no government acknowledges. Ethan's main link is Ilsa (Ferguson), a double or possibly triple agent he knows he shouldn't trust, but simply can't resist.
This episode has a James Bond feel, with the throwaway one-liners and a gritty story packed with shifty characters and exotic locations. It's unclear how Ethan funds his extremely high-tech operation for an organisation that doesn't exist anymore, but never mind. The gadgets and disguises are seriously cool, and the chases are rough and unpredictable, shot largely without the use of digital trickery.
At 53, Cruise may be getting old for this kind of nonsense, but he constantly reminds us that he's up to the challenge by ripping off his shirt and flexing his muscly torso. He also shows a bit more wear and tear after each battle sequence while flirting with 31-year-old Ferguson, who does a great job of throwing him (and us) off balance about who she's working for. And Pegg, Renner and Rhames are on hand to deliver a steady stream of comical banter.
This series is increasingly about Cruise's stunt-work, and while his opening airplane scene is pretty insane, his helmet-less motorbike pursuit feels even more perilous. McQuarrie does a terrific job maintaining the tension right through the film, drawing us into the mystery while creating urgency and danger at every turn. Aside from a glancing attack on the West's illegal counter-terrorism tactics, the movie never bothers to touch on anything deeper than team loyalty. But by avoiding a big explosive finale, it makes a surprisingly strong comment on the vacuity of most summer blockbusters. This one feels meatier and much more real than expected.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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