Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

Genre: Action Running Time: 2 hrs. 11 min.

Release Date: July 31st, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Christopher McQuarrie Actors: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, Jens Hulten, Hermione Corfield

 


 

T

he Impossible Missions Force may have finally met its match … again. Or, for the first time. Either way, the confrontation brings both good and bad for fans of the franchise. In “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” the IMF attempts to take down a terrorist organization dubbed “The Syndicate,” a disavowed group that possesses a comparable level of funds, agents, and intelligence. The ensuing face-off recalls the brainy clashes between Sherlock and Moriarty, resulting in crosses and double-crosses heaped upon lies and deception, which rapidly escalate into schemes and escapades so knotty that “impossible” doesn’t even begin to describe them. But perhaps any semblance of realism is an unfair expectation, as “Rogue Nation” delivers on every other facet of a rousing spy yarn to counteract the farfetchedness.

The IMF and most-wanted agent Ethan Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) suspicions of the existence of an extremely dangerous international organization are confirmed when field operatives disrupt a transport of nerve gas in Belarus. Unable to garner support from his superiors, and with the CIA attempting to disband the IMF permanently, Ethan is forced to track down the Syndicate’s mysterious leader Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) without any of his usual governmental allies. Forming a tenuous alliance with assassin Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), Hunt and his former IMF colleagues Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), and William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) must travel the globe to apprehend Lane before he can unleash his sinister plan.

The classically orchestrated cold open begins with specific intensity but screeches to a halt just as things should be escalating. It’s a dreadfully anticlimactic sequence that feels incomplete and inconsequential, as if the budget ran out for a more chaotic, explosive confrontation, causing the whole segment to be repurposed for a throwaway pre-credits stint. Its failure to be elaborate or grand is something that strangely doesn’t prepare for the following stunts, which focus on being so complex and harrowing that they’re by and large too unfeasible for their own good.

As an oversight committee suggests, the IMF’s unorthodox methods are routinely indistinguishable from chance (leading to a momentary vilification of the CIA, an easy antagonist for any do-gooder), which is also the problem with their successes. Extreme luck seems to intervene more than skills, particularly when funds are limitless and advanced tech is always at the ready. Nearly every task requires a state-of-the-art, specialized gadget that just happens to be in the IMF toolbox. Why bother to have locked doors in a scene if everyone carries a device that can unlock any door?

That concept inevitably steers the missions into needlessly intricate arenas, where things go terribly wrong but are amended with equally multifarious maneuverings – always at the last second (or split second) and with no real sense of danger. Still, the film is triumphant at times in appearing more globetrotting, jet-setting, high-stakes, and action-packed than James Bond, even when excessive lengths are taken to generate eye-rolling levels of suspense, or when practical car chases capitulate to CG fakery. The funny thing about the action sequences is that they’re so incredibly suicidal, it would benefit the villains to merely wait for the heroes to recklessly kill themselves rather than giving chase. Yet despite all the weaknesses in a project as outlandish as this, the amusement of witty agents combating the likes of terrorist cells, genocidal separatists, backstabbing statecraft operatives, and shadow organizations is never boring, and moments like a triple assassination attempt juxtaposed against the operatic voices of Turandot perfectly capture artistry combined with action – to help audiences forget the silliness of the larger missions.

– The Massie Twins

  • 6/10


The Mission: Impossible Franchise


Mission: Impossible (1996)

Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)

Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)

Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)