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.
Mission Impossible Rogue Nation also bring us Rebecca Ferguson (not the X-Factor warbler) as Ilsa Faust (below), and I’m going to say nothing about her character because not a single reviewer seems to be able to say anything about her without giving a spoiler, particularly the BBC’s Rick Kelsey, who said WAY too much. I tried to ask him about the spoiler on Twitter but he never bothered to reply. What a Dick! (the women don’t say!)
Oh, and one more cast question – why is Simon Pegg in so many American movies? I love Spaced, Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, but I really don’t get it when it comes to the US. Star Trek? Mission Impossible? JJ Abrams is the connection. Pegg must know where ALL the bodies are buried!!!
What we get in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation is scene after scene of action. Yes, the plot doesn’t make a whole deal of sense it’s a lot of fun, and that’s been missing from so many of this year’s summer blockbusters, including the new release of Fantastic Four!
There’s also some cool gadgets, such as Ethan listening to a recorded message on an LP, in a record shop booth. An LP will self-destruct? How? He’s also sporting a dodgy beard in another scene, and product placement comes from Dell, Halo 5 and even BMW. Now, BMW, please can you actually include *indicators* on your cars. They enable the driver to tell other road users where they are going. Pardon? No, you can’t be serious, since if they are already installed then none of your customers seem to know how to bloody use them!!
And finally, a few spoilers…
Roll on Mission Impossible 6.
Tip for Paramount Pictures: please retain McQuarrie, get rid of Pegg, and… another spoiler…
Running time: 131 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures UK
Format: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision; ARRIRAW (3.4K) (some scenes))
Released: July 30th 2015
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Producers: JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk, Tom Cruise, David Ellison and Don Granger
Screenplay: Christopher McQuarrie (based on a story by Christopher McQuarrie and Drew Pearce, and teh series by Bruce Geller)
Music: Joe Kraemer
Ethan Hunt: Tom Cruise
William Brandt: Jeremy Renner
Benji Dunn: Simon Pegg
Ilsa Faust: Rebecca Ferguson
Luther Stickell: Ving Rhames
Solomon Lane: Sean Harris
Atlee: Simon McBurney
Lauren: Jingchu Zhang
Prime Minister: Tom Hollander
Janik Vinter: Jens Hultén
Alan Hunley: Alec Baldwin
A400 Pilot #1: Mateo Rufino
A400 Pilot #2: Fernando Abadie
A400 Crewman: Alec Utgoff
Record Shop Girl: Hermione Corfield
Chairman: Nigel Barber
Senators: William Roberts, Patrick Poletti, Martin Cochrane and David Peart
Janik’s Sentry #1: Barnabás Réti
Janik’s Sentry #2: Ash Merat
IMF Operator: James Weber Brown
Officer Assassin: Robert Maaser
Flautist Assassin: Wolfgang Stegemann
Opera Lighting Technician #1: Eva-Marie Becker
Opera Lighting Technician #2: Adam Ganne
Caláf: Jesus Alvarez
Turandot: America Olivo
The Mandarin: James Cleverton
Altoum: Martin Nelson
Ping: James McOran Campbell
Pang: Tom Lowe
Pong: Nicholas Sharratt
Conductor: Nicholas Lupu
Opera Stage Manager: Stella Stocker
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.