As with many of the sequels this summer (Terminator Genisys, Jurassic World), Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, the fifth in the series, is a decent piece of summer fluff entertainment, but little more than that.
Tom Cruise, whose hair stylist includes a little too much red in the mix resulting in a hue not quite fitting the state of his complexion, is back as Ethan Hunt. This time around, he’s hanging from airplanes in an unnatural and impossible posture, performing overly long tasks underwater and riding a motorcycle again.
Everything he does is in service of a typically convoluted plot, this one involving some sort of evil syndicate of international agents who have faked their deaths and are looking to terrorize the planet. All sorts of nationalities are in on the evil, but the United Kingdom is especially nasty in this one, giving the whole thing a little bit of a James Bond vibe.
In addition to London, Ethan goes to Morocco, Paris and Jupiter. (I’m kidding about Jupiter, but wouldn’t that be cool?) If you’re late for the movie, just stay home, because you will miss the airplane stunt where Cruise clings to an airborne jet while Simon Pegg looks on in horror.
Some folks came into my screening a little late and missed the entire sequence. I wanted to walk up to them, point a finger, and yell, “Ha, ha, ha … tardy, tardy, oh so farty, you and yours missed the plane stunt party! You suck! Go home!” Realizing that had I done this, the entire theater would’ve kicked my ass, I refrained.
Speaking of Pegg, his Benji-the-computer-analyst-guy gets a bigger role this time around, elevating to the level of spunky sidekick. He gets to scream and moan during car chases and, in the finale, has a scene with a bomb that’s one of the cooler moments in the movie. It’s a good move having Cruise and Pegg pair up. It adds a level of humor not present in previous installments.
Newcomer to the series Alec Baldwin gets a couple of good scenes as the CIA guy trying to eradicate Hunt’s agency. Rebecca Ferguson is impressive as an English agent who may or may not be a villain and, yes, is quite decent looking in a bikini. Jeremy Renner is around to crack wise as he messes with Baldwin’s character, while Ving Rhames still gets to collect a paycheck. As for Emilio Estevez, sadly, he’s still dead after his elevator accident in the first film.
This movie is directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who won a screenwriting Oscar for The Usual Suspects, directed Cruise in Jack Reacher, and wrote the incredible screenplay for Cruise’s vastly underrated Edge of Tomorrow. He’s officially in the Tom Cruise business.
Now, back to the subject of Cruise’s hair. I’m thinking his stylist should allow a little gray to come through, and should opt for something a little more dark brown. The reddish-orange tint is bothering me, especially when the light hits it in a certain way. It makes him look older than he actually is. Come on, we all saw him totally gray in Collateral. He looked sharp, and that was over 10 years ago. Embrace the gray, Tom! Embrace the gray!
Word is out that Cruise is going to make Mission: Impossible 6, and who knows what crazy stunt he will subject himself to next time out. He’s scaled the tallest building in the world, gone cliff climbing, and held onto an airplane while it takes off. Perhaps he will eat a whole glob of wasabi in one chomp at a sushi restaurant. That would be insane!
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is my least favorite MI yet, but it’s still a good film. Things feel a little by-the-numbers this time, but Cruise is a crazy bastard willing to go all out for his movies, and this installment is no exception. The dude is nuts, and we, the movie-viewing public, benefit from this.