Thursday, 6 August 2015

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation review

So is the fifth Mission Impossible any good?  Has Tom Cruise learned how to act? Have his stunts become more believable? Is it time for the franchise to finally quit? Hit the jump to find out...

I have to say, I wasn't exactly thrilled with the thought of another Mission: Impossible movie. Sure, the set pieces (on occasion) are entertaining popcorn moments. Take, for instance, the building climb in Ghost Protocol. In IMAX, that's fantastic! A real vertigo-inducing experience that showcases stunts and CGI to the max. But that doesn't make a good film. Sure, they can be amusing: frequent wisecracks, and the presence of Simon Pegg create a campy, old-fashioned fun vibe. But that doesn't make a good film. The problem is, the story-lines are usually messy and Tom Cruise is, well, Tom Cruise is a crap actor....

The spectacular motorbike chase
But yes, alas, the folks at Paramount have decided to grace us with another installment in the aeging franchise. I'm pleased to report that it isn't all that bad. So, to start (as usual), is the story any good? Well, kind of. It's nothing spectacular, but it does the job (and bears more than a passing resemblance to what we know so far of specter). There's an organisation, named 'The Syndicate' (original, I know), which is terrorizing the world. Cruise and co must hunt down and foil the organisation to save us all. One catch: the IMF has been dissolved, and Hunt is now a fugitive. There is, of course, more to the plot, but that's the basic story line.

Stunning - the water intake stunt
The stunts are never less than impressive. The opening scene in which Cruise hangs from the doorway of a plane (pictured) is thrilling and quite possibly the equivalent to GP's building climb. The much talked about motorbike chase is impressive visually ans sonically, but I didn't (for some unknown reason) find it thrilling, only spectacular. The car chase, on thee other hand, is made thrilling simply by its humanity. This is because the participation of Pegg leads itself into some funny lines that make you root for the characters onscreen. And, in possibly the stunt highlight, the view of a gaping water intake (in which Cruise will soon jump) is incredible. I mean, there are some flaws. There's a motorbike crash Cruise wouldn't survive, a horrific car crash Cruise most certainly wouldn't survive, an inordinate amount of bullets that Cruise dodges whilst running down a long narrow hallway (really), and on top of that, a near 7 minute breath hold that would've killed Cruise. So yeah. It's typical for a MI movie



.

It's all fun and games until someone loses their head...
And it's pretty stylish too. It has the slick fun of Roger Moore Bond, and certain shots show huge skill. Take, for instance, the aforementioned intake, or the opera sequence (I know, cliched right?) in which powerful verse becomes background noise to the action. Or the many hallway shadow sequences that litter the feature. At some points, it strays into territory where it should have never gone however. Rogue Nation is a 12A film, made to reap in box office success. It should, then, not attempt to show a knife fight (in which both participants are repeatedly stabbed, yet neither loses any blood). Hmm.
Femme fatale

At some points, also, the acting is suspect (yes, we all know Cruise can't act for shit), but some characters are entertaining, if not entirely believable. Take Jeremy Renner or Simon Pegg. Their characters bring much comedy and heart into the whole affair and Pegg (as usual) is brilliant at what he does. Or the much lauded presence of Rebecca Ferguson as a femme fatale straight outta the 40s, which is downright brilliant.

In short, Mission Impossible is designed as a cash vehicle. It's slick and full of awesome stunts, but has no narrative heft and punches above it's weight in terms of age restrictions. It has some great performances, but then again, it also has Tom Cruise. It's good, but it's not great.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation gets 3 stars!

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