Mission Impossible Rogue Nation is the fifth in the series which is now almost 20 years old, and I’m pleased to confirm that this is the best film in the series since the first one.
While I never saw the TV series (it was before my time), I loved Brian De Palma’s 1996 spy/action caper. Since then, John Woo’s second entry was only so-so; JJ Abrams made a reasonably decent fist of it back in 2006 for the third film – backed up with a great baddie from Philip Seymour Hoffman; and then it was back to okayish territory with 2011’s Ghost Protocol.
One key element is that director and co-writer Christopher McQuarrie *gets* what Mission Impossible is about. Right down to the opening credits, which I don’t think we’ve seen in that style since De Palma.
That said, he also directed Cruise in 2012’s Jack Reacher movie and that was merely average. In fact, all I can remember about that film is that in the extras, Werner Herzog was asked how he stays thin, and he confirmed he doesn’t go in for fancy diets, the answer is merely to “eat less”. I’m still trying that.
Now on to the plot. Where to start? God knows. Basically, after lots of great escapes around the world in the previous films with lots of buildings going BOOM! – including The Kremlin in the last one – the IMF are to be put out to pasture (yet again, it seems) and what’s left to be amalgamated into the CIA. In charge of this is Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin playing himself as always, but even more portly), and he wants to bring them down. Having to answer for the IMF’s behaviour is William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) who does end up in the field evenetually, but while in the office and courtroom, he provides comic relief to grouchy Hunley.
Elsewhere in the cast there’s Ving Rhames as the ever-reliable Luther Stickell, who’s accompanied Hunt along every journey, while the bad guy is played by Sean Harris, who I’ve probably seen in this and that but he wasn’t instantly familiar. I won’t say the name of his character here (even though you can see it in the cast list below) as you don’t immeidately find out in the film, so I’ll retain the air of mystery.
Tom Hollander and Simon McBurney from BBC2’s excellent sitcom Rev are in this, and after seeing them both listed in the credits – playing the Prime Minister and one of their staff, respectively, I was longing for them to share a scene together. And they did!!! YAY!!
And you did read right. Tom Hollander plays the Prime Minister.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the film, plus conclusions…
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.