Sunday, 4 October 2015

Film Review - Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation


Rogues to Riches
Film: Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation
Cast: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Duration: 2 hrs 10 mins
Rating:  * * * 1 / 2

Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation follows the tried and tested template of other MI films and spy thrillers and pulls it off in style. The franchise got a huge boost after the Brad Bird directed Ghost Protocol in 2011. But unlike most other franchise sequel, there is a certain sincerity about Rogue Nation, box office is not the sole consideration as to why this film was made.    

Christopher McQuarrie (who wrote The Usual Suspects and directed Jack Reacher, Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise) is at the helm of affairs here and he has peppered the film with enough action and thrills to make this fifth film in the series, one of the better mainstream Hollywood films in recent times. And they did it in 2D. 

It opens with a bang with Ethan Hunt (Cruise) literally hanging outside an aero plane full of chemical weapons, trying to stop it from taking off. The ground work is done, you are already hooked. That action sequence doesn’t have anything to do with the main story though. A syndicate is in operation threatening global peace. The CIA boss (Alec Baldwin) wants to shut down the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) because he thinks Hunt has gone rogue. 

The Syndicate is run by Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) an ex-intelligence agent who is a Moriarty like figure.  While Hunt is trying to figure out the identity and destroy the Syndicate, he is also on the run, with support from his trusted friends Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and the tech guru Benji (Simon Pegg). A mysterious woman (Rebecca Ferguson) also keeps appearing though it is not clear whose side she is on. 

Like all spy films, there is a good deal of globe- trotting involved here Austria, Morocco and eventually it all keeps coming back to London.  Even though there are some sequences, like the assassination attempt at an Opera (Puccini’s Turandot in this case), that belong to the seen-that category, yet they are executed with sufficient zing to keep you engaged.  

The film moves at a fairly rapid pace and there is enough action from time to time – a high speed bike chase and a remarkable underwater sequence (somewhat like the opening of Gravity but underwater) stands out. The rather straightforward climax is relatively tame but that is a minor grouse.

The script also makes an attempt to infuse some serious sense in the goings on. The agents that do all the work on the ground are merely pawns in the hands of the higher ups – In that case, to whom should their loyalties remain, friends, allies, country or ordinary civilians who might be caught in the cross fire.   

Tom Cruise plays Hunt with elan, his character is described as “living manifestation of destiny.” At 53, he still actually looks like someone who can do all that which is being done on the screen.  Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson is impressive, she looks glamorous when need be and also plays the tough cookie with conviction.

Most sequels are franchise movies range from truly terrible to just about watchable, this MI is different – they have delivered the goods and it is worth looking forward to the next one now.

Published in The Navhind Times on 9th Aug 2015

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