Friday, July 31, 2015

Movie Review #290: "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" (2015)

Movie"Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation"
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 11 minutes
Image Source
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is taken captive by an organization called The Syndicate. After escaping, he tries to contact his headquarters to inform then of The Syndicate's existence, only to find the IMF has been disbanded and the remaining members absorbed into the CIA. Unfortunately, CIA director Hunley (Alec Baldwin), who fought to disband the IMF, doesn't believe Hunt and thinks he's delusional. Hunt then goes rouge in order to track down the leader of The Syndicate and bring the organization down.

Here we go again!

Tom Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt in the fifth installment of the "Mission: Impossible" franchise. In true "Mission: Impossible" fashion, the film starts with a cold opener and an exciting action scene to set the pace for the rest of the film. The opening sequence here is the airplane scene we have all become so familiar with from the trailer and the poster. This is also the scene where Tom Cruise himself grabs onto the side of a plane while it takes off and he struggles to get inside. For those who are wondering, no, this scene is NOT CGI. I know we say it every damn time we do a review for a "Mission: Impossible" movie, but how cool is it that Tom Cruise, one of the biggest movie stars ever, does his own stunts like this?! Apparently, they had to do the take multiple times, too, and he did them all himself. Insane? Yes, but we'll be damned if it isn't entertaining as hell to watch.

Returning to the series are Jeremy Renner as William Brandt, Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn, and Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell. Simon Pegg offers up a lot of comic relief in the film, but he isn't the only one bringing the humor this time as Renner, Rhames, and even Cruise, all deliver some funny wit throughout the film. In fact, more jokes from this movie hit their intended mark than almost all of the jokes in comedies from not just this month, but from the entire year of comedic releases, and that's saying something...because this isn't even a comedy. As is often the case with this series, some new faces are added with each sequel. Alec Baldwin joins the cast as CIA director Alan Hunley, a man who thinks the IMF is reckless and causes too much unchecked chaos and fight for their dissolution. He and Renner share some excellent scenes together. Another newcomer this time around is Rebecca Ferguson, who plays Ilsa Faust, a kick ass, fierce British Ethan Hunt equivalent. She walks a shady line between hero and villain, never understanding her true intentions or motivations until late in the film. We don't want to spoil much, but she is critical in the crux of the story and we couldn't be more thrilled with her involvement. Again, as always, there is a new head villain, this time played by Sean Harris. He is the calm, collected, scary brains behind The Syndicate. He is the type of villain where every decision is carefully thought out ahead of time, always thinking 30 moves ahead in a game of chess with Hunt and everyone else involved. Together, this cast is magnificent, and there is a great balance between serious, action packed, humorous, and thrilling moments.

This is exactly the type of movie we hope to see when we hear the phrase "big summer blockbuster." It is a solid film on its own merits, sure, but the story is also well thought out with well developed characters and some exciting action that keeps us on the edge of our seats throughout the two hour run time. We found ourselves absolutely engrossed in this movie, and others in our theater did, too. There is one scene in particular which stands out in my mind as being my favorite, and that is the scene during the opera in Vienna. This specific scene is indicative of the movie as a whole. It is so brilliantly shot and so beautifully conceived that it is almost poetic in its execution. The way the characters move, the way it is paced, the colors, the background music, it is a truly epic scene. So often, Hollywood gets bogged down with trying to put out bigger, more spectacular stunts on screen to out-do other movies. They usually end up resorting to CGI to make this happen, and it actually has the opposite effect, in our opinion. In essence, films that do this wind up looking fake, cheaply done, sloppily executed and ignore the story and characters in lieu of bigger booms. It's refreshing to see a film put in as many practically done stunts as "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" does when there is an equal amount of character development and intense situations that we care about. The pace is slowed and sped up when need be, and it never felt dragging or lacking in any noticeable areas. Take note, filmmakers, action films don't have to be totally mindless. Overall, we really, really liked this movie and hope to see more from Cruise and the gang in the future.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~93%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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