Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation

The BEST in mainstream blockbuster action this year


Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation

  • The BEST in mainstream blockbuster action this year!

Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation

  • The BEST in mainstream blockbuster action this year!


Rated

PG-13

Starring

Tom Cruise
Simon Pegg
Rebecca Ferguson
Sean Harris
Ving Rhames
Alec Baldwin

Written by

Drew Pearce
Christopher McQuarrie

Directed by

Christopher McQuarrie


coming up

What to Expect

Mission:Impossible is the kind of franchise that’s almost always banked on the impossible, right from the dexterous double-crossing witnessed in the first to the daft ridiculousness of the second, eventually brought back together – with the third – only for one of the then best films of the four with M:I:iii. It’s only quite disappointing that the rather overrated Ghost Protocol, which ended 2011 with possibly the craziest fanfare, didn’t quite match up from the perspective of a narrative or non-gimmickry (or the lack of it). What’s more unfortunate is that a coherent narrative is what was needed the most in this film, seeing quite obviously that the output of the third film delivered a deliciously dizzying breakneck pace at the risk of character development.

And this is where current Cruise favorite Christopher McQuarrie comes in.

Director of the extremely underrated Jack Reacher, Quarrie’s already proven himself as a strong writing counterpart to many a director, with The Usual Suspects and (more recently) Edge of Tomorrow coming to mind as perfect examples of screenwriting genius. And when his name but naturally ended up being attached to the directorial credits of Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation, the writer of this review had only excitement he couldn’t wait to share with the world.

That accompanied by the fact that I’ve always held nothing but immense respect for the franchise’s lead actor Tom Cruise had me positively curious about the prospects of this particular film, this time admittedly more so for McQuarrie than Cruise himself. ‘Cause after all of that dismal response to his sophomore directorial effort, the director’d indeed need that push to continue. Additionally, let’s be honest: the industry is in a dire need of superbly credible action directors. And McQuarrie’s proven himself as one. Twice.

The question is: will luck strike for him the third time round?

What’s it About?

Whilst neck-deep tracking down the Syndicate – a sinister criminal association – the IMF is unceremoniously disbanded on request of CIA director Hunley (Alec Baldwin; The Last Shot). It’s now up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise; Edge of Tomorrow), who finds an unlikely – albeit rather distrustful – ally in Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson; Hercules) to gather back his team for what could be one last, “desperate” mission to prove that the apparently imaginary Syndicate indeed exists, with an additional shot at bringing it down.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Ready or not; here I come!

Ready or not; here I come!

An action film depends on a lot of factors, with three of them standing out of the crowd, namely:

  • A coherent narrative;
  • Exceedingly believable performances, with substantial character development; and lastly (and most importantly)
  • Skillfully choreographed, executed and shot action set-pieces.

The film, fortunately, is blessed with an excellent, concentrated narrative that’s almost obsessively focussed on getting the game right on. Every part of every scene is filled with delicious unputdownable-book-like detail, despite the majority of narrative techniques being used here not ending up being groundbreaking by a mile and a half. The closest, in fact, this reminds me to wondrously flipping through the pages of a book is how well-wound the chemistry between Cruise and Ferguson is; a rather subtle reminder (in my opinion) to Ludlum’s 2000 novel The Prometheus Deception – which, funnily, also dealt with the ouster of an agent and bigger conspiracies; a plot device admittedly not hard to find these days. I’d, in fact, go as far as to state that this was almost like watching a spy novel, what with all that detail and strategic play of cards giving in just the right amount of texture and suspense. This, of course, goes in addition with the fact that McQuarrie and Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3) decided to go all-out on possibly one of the way better female characters in a movie of such a genre, who sees eye-to-eye with Cruise’s Hunt, lending herself genuinely useful right till the wee-end of the movie.

Of course, this is Mission:Impossible, and there are some rather trite conveniences that are bound to happen, leaving the play of probability – a weapon that had so much potential to be used within the scheme of storytelling here – completely aside for quite a few slices of writing. This is definitely a dip, but not much of it, for most of the story focusses brilliantly on the psyches of the protagonists, the anti-protagonist and the antagonist within equal measure. There’s also this possible hijink of a “strong antagonist” missing from the picture, according to some, but if one looks at it the way the writers wanted it, one can totally see why the antagonist behaves the way he behaves. There are at least five different loose ends I picked within his character arc, which were all surprisingly tied up, courtesy exactly how McQuarrie-Pearce decisively wrote the progressively expositional psyche of Harris’ Solomon Lane.

Another (albeit rather teensy) disappointment to be found is this film, unlike Ghost Protocol, fortunately or unfortunately doesn’t tie in to any of its previous character timelines directly, except for that rather microscopic new-mission-brief end Rogue Nation decided to excellently exploit – and how.

But where Ghost Protocol mostly falters is where Rogue Nation consistently builds up to clap worthy results: the stunning action set-pieces. Aside from your paradoxically rather impressive gimmick that actually begins the film, there are a bunch of stupendously choreographed action set-pieces, planned and executed with terrific attention-to-detail, and shot with surprisingly bodacious glee, its moving photography assuredly directed by Ghost Protocol collaborator Robert Elswit. Dutching a shot (or tilting a frame) has more or less been seen as a tired trademark in Michael Bay films with much disinterest – until now. Elswit manages perfectly to suck you right into the nail-biting chase through the streets and highways of Morocco by directing the camera movement appropriately to Dutch-tilt during sharp turns of bikes, making the viewer feel as thrilled as the characters would be. Added to most of these gorgeous set-pieces is poetic rhythm, supported by superior edit decisions, courtesy Eddie Hamilton (Kingsman: The Secret Service). Watch out for the excellent action set-piece set in Vienna, with the operatic orchestral sounds serving as a perfect backdrop to the enhancement of its flavourfully dynamic-in-tempo cuts between two consecutive shots. Most of the film’s country hopping is made perfectly clear thanks to the film’s decidedly slick production design – an almost-trademark of the franchise now. And within the film, there’s an added flair, thanks to the impressive old-school orchestrated compositions, with each instrument and the way it plays out within every scene reminding us of espionage actioners of yore.

To Perform or Not to Perform

The mastermind and his match

The mastermind and his match

Tom Cruise, as always, delivers a stunning, self-assured performance at all times as Ethan Hunt, be it while conversing, breaking in, or gearing up in action. It is, however, the surprisingly terrific Rebecca Ferguson who gives her all into possibly one of the meatiest roles of the film, digging into it with irrepressible excitement. There’s a certain vulnerable betrayal she delivers through her body language, which she delivers effortlessly. What’s more, she’s not your direct love-interest Cruise is trying to save; she portrays a woman who doesn’t need to depend on practically anyone to survive – right till the end. This is a challenge Ferguson practically accepts and delivers, doing things with Cruise till the wee end.

While Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Age of Ultron) unfortunately get the shorter end of the stick (and yes, we’d have loved to see them a lot more), it’s Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) who gets a deservedly greater role through most of the film. And Pegg nails it. What’s unfortunate is how Renner – who was most definitely a part of a tricky (yet unmemorable) action set piece in the previous installment, has nothing to do here physically. Sean Harris (Prometheus) is terrific with his slow calculated drawls of dialogue giving the film the requisite old-school sinisterness within the atmosphere. Alec Baldwin is efficient, but doesn’t have much to offer, really. Others are good.

Worth it?

To be perfectly clear on this one, it’s quite hard to state if it’s universally worth it, really, mostly because of the audience being divided into a few popular sets, and those are the following:

  • The section of viewers having a personal bias against Cruise, who will continue to never, ever like any movie of his, so this one’s gone on them;
  • The section of viewers who think that Ghost Protocol is the best Mission:Impossible of them all, who will find reasons to call this one “not up to par with” its previous installment; and
  • Those who will continue to look at “blockbuster-material” action films as unashamedly despicable in the face of “better films this universe has to offer”.

Among them all will be a strong fourth kind, having a secret want to unabashedly indulge in the gleefulness of an old-school action/espionage film, and for them, this will be one hell of an obsessively detailed two-hour-eleven-minute ride. Those who have been extremely keen on the franchise alone will notice that Rogue Nation successfully builds upon the expansiveness and thrill of Ghost Protocol, along with all that good old-school suspense of the first, giving the viewers a film that, in this writer’s opinion, easily passes off as the best Mission:Impossible of the series, and the BEST mainstream summer-blockbuster material action film this year thus far.

‘Cause calling it any less would be pretty unforgivable on my part.

Consensus: 4 Stars
Impressive!
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like UsFollow Us


Rated

PG-13

Starring

Tom Cruise
Simon Pegg
Rebecca Ferguson
Sean Harris
Ving Rhames
Alec Baldwin

Written by

Drew Pearce
Christopher McQuarrie

Directed by

Christopher McQuarrie


What to Expect

Mission:Impossible is the kind of franchise that’s almost always banked on the impossible, right from the dexterous double-crossing witnessed in the first to the daft ridiculousness of the second, eventually brought back together – with the third – only for one of the then best films of the four with M:I:iii. It’s only quite disappointing that the rather overrated Ghost Protocol, which ended 2011 with possibly the craziest fanfare, didn’t quite match up from the perspective of a narrative or non-gimmickry (or the lack of it). What’s more unfortunate is that a coherent narrative is what was needed the most in this film, seeing quite obviously that the output of the third film delivered a deliciously dizzying breakneck pace at the risk of character development.

And this is where current Cruise favorite Christopher McQuarrie comes in.

Director of the extremely underrated Jack Reacher, Quarrie’s already proven himself as a strong writing counterpart to many a director, with The Usual Suspects and (more recently) Edge of Tomorrow coming to mind as perfect examples of screenwriting genius. And when his name but naturally ended up being attached to the directorial credits of Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation, the writer of this review had only excitement he couldn’t wait to share with the world.

That accompanied by the fact that I’ve always held nothing but immense respect for the franchise’s lead actor Tom Cruise had me positively curious about the prospects of this particular film, this time admittedly more so for McQuarrie than Cruise himself. ‘Cause after all of that dismal response to his sophomore directorial effort, the director’d indeed need that push to continue. Additionally, let’s be honest: the industry is in a dire need of superbly credible action directors. And McQuarrie’s proven himself as one. Twice.

The question is: will luck strike for him the third time round?

What’s it About?

Whilst neck-deep tracking down the Syndicate – a sinister criminal association – the IMF is unceremoniously disbanded on request of CIA director Hunley (Alec Baldwin; The Last Shot). It’s now up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise; Edge of Tomorrow), who finds an unlikely – albeit rather distrustful – ally in Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson; Hercules) to gather back his team for what could be one last, “desperate” mission to prove that the apparently imaginary Syndicate indeed exists, with an additional shot at bringing it down.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Ready or not; here I come!

Ready or not; here I come!

An action film depends on a lot of factors, with three of them standing out of the crowd, namely:

  • A coherent narrative;
  • Exceedingly believable performances, with substantial character development; and lastly (and most importantly)
  • Skillfully choreographed, executed and shot action set-pieces.

The film, fortunately, is blessed with an excellent, concentrated narrative that’s almost obsessively focussed on getting the game right on. Every part of every scene is filled with delicious unputdownable-book-like detail, despite the majority of narrative techniques being used here not ending up being groundbreaking by a mile and a half. The closest, in fact, this reminds me to wondrously flipping through the pages of a book is how well-wound the chemistry between Cruise and Ferguson is; a rather subtle reminder (in my opinion) to Ludlum’s 2000 novel The Prometheus Deception – which, funnily, also dealt with the ouster of an agent and bigger conspiracies; a plot device admittedly not hard to find these days. I’d, in fact, go as far as to state that this was almost like watching a spy novel, what with all that detail and strategic play of cards giving in just the right amount of texture and suspense. This, of course, goes in addition with the fact that McQuarrie and Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3) decided to go all-out on possibly one of the way better female characters in a movie of such a genre, who sees eye-to-eye with Cruise’s Hunt, lending herself genuinely useful right till the wee-end of the movie.

Of course, this is Mission:Impossible, and there are some rather trite conveniences that are bound to happen, leaving the play of probability – a weapon that had so much potential to be used within the scheme of storytelling here – completely aside for quite a few slices of writing. This is definitely a dip, but not much of it, for most of the story focusses brilliantly on the psyches of the protagonists, the anti-protagonist and the antagonist within equal measure. There’s also this possible hijink of a “strong antagonist” missing from the picture, according to some, but if one looks at it the way the writers wanted it, one can totally see why the antagonist behaves the way he behaves. There are at least five different loose ends I picked within his character arc, which were all surprisingly tied up, courtesy exactly how McQuarrie-Pearce decisively wrote the progressively expositional psyche of Harris’ Solomon Lane.

Another (albeit rather teensy) disappointment to be found is this film, unlike Ghost Protocol, fortunately or unfortunately doesn’t tie in to any of its previous character timelines directly, except for that rather microscopic new-mission-brief end Rogue Nation decided to excellently exploit – and how.

But where Ghost Protocol mostly falters is where Rogue Nation consistently builds up to clap worthy results: the stunning action set-pieces. Aside from your paradoxically rather impressive gimmick that actually begins the film, there are a bunch of stupendously choreographed action set-pieces, planned and executed with terrific attention-to-detail, and shot with surprisingly bodacious glee, its moving photography assuredly directed by Ghost Protocol collaborator Robert Elswit. Dutching a shot (or tilting a frame) has more or less been seen as a tired trademark in Michael Bay films with much disinterest – until now. Elswit manages perfectly to suck you right into the nail-biting chase through the streets and highways of Morocco by directing the camera movement appropriately to Dutch-tilt during sharp turns of bikes, making the viewer feel as thrilled as the characters would be. Added to most of these gorgeous set-pieces is poetic rhythm, supported by superior edit decisions, courtesy Eddie Hamilton (Kingsman: The Secret Service). Watch out for the excellent action set-piece set in Vienna, with the operatic orchestral sounds serving as a perfect backdrop to the enhancement of its flavourfully dynamic-in-tempo cuts between two consecutive shots. Most of the film’s country hopping is made perfectly clear thanks to the film’s decidedly slick production design – an almost-trademark of the franchise now. And within the film, there’s an added flair, thanks to the impressive old-school orchestrated compositions, with each instrument and the way it plays out within every scene reminding us of espionage actioners of yore.

To Perform or Not to Perform

The mastermind and his match

The mastermind and his match

Tom Cruise, as always, delivers a stunning, self-assured performance at all times as Ethan Hunt, be it while conversing, breaking in, or gearing up in action. It is, however, the surprisingly terrific Rebecca Ferguson who gives her all into possibly one of the meatiest roles of the film, digging into it with irrepressible excitement. There’s a certain vulnerable betrayal she delivers through her body language, which she delivers effortlessly. What’s more, she’s not your direct love-interest Cruise is trying to save; she portrays a woman who doesn’t need to depend on practically anyone to survive – right till the end. This is a challenge Ferguson practically accepts and delivers, doing things with Cruise till the wee end.

While Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Age of Ultron) unfortunately get the shorter end of the stick (and yes, we’d have loved to see them a lot more), it’s Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) who gets a deservedly greater role through most of the film. And Pegg nails it. What’s unfortunate is how Renner – who was most definitely a part of a tricky (yet unmemorable) action set piece in the previous installment, has nothing to do here physically. Sean Harris (Prometheus) is terrific with his slow calculated drawls of dialogue giving the film the requisite old-school sinisterness within the atmosphere. Alec Baldwin is efficient, but doesn’t have much to offer, really. Others are good.

Worth it?

To be perfectly clear on this one, it’s quite hard to state if it’s universally worth it, really, mostly because of the audience being divided into a few popular sets, and those are the following:

  • The section of viewers having a personal bias against Cruise, who will continue to never, ever like any movie of his, so this one’s gone on them;
  • The section of viewers who think that Ghost Protocol is the best Mission:Impossible of them all, who will find reasons to call this one “not up to par with” its previous installment; and
  • Those who will continue to look at “blockbuster-material” action films as unashamedly despicable in the face of “better films this universe has to offer”.

Among them all will be a strong fourth kind, having a secret want to unabashedly indulge in the gleefulness of an old-school action/espionage film, and for them, this will be one hell of an obsessively detailed two-hour-eleven-minute ride. Those who have been extremely keen on the franchise alone will notice that Rogue Nation successfully builds upon the expansiveness and thrill of Ghost Protocol, along with all that good old-school suspense of the first, giving the viewers a film that, in this writer’s opinion, easily passes off as the best Mission:Impossible of the series, and the BEST mainstream summer-blockbuster material action film this year thus far.

‘Cause calling it any less would be pretty unforgivable on my part.

Consensus: 4 Stars
Impressive!
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like UsFollow Us

Cast Tom Cruise
Simon Pegg
Rebecca Ferguson
Director Christopher McQuarrie
Consensus: 4 Stars
Impressive

What to Expect

CHOOSE to accept this.

CHOOSE to accept this.

Mission:Impossible is the kind of franchise that’s almost always banked on the impossible, right from the dexterous double-crossing witnessed in the first to the daft ridiculousness of the second, eventually brought back together – with the third – only for one of the then best films of the four with M:I:iii. It’s only quite disappointing that the rather overrated Ghost Protocol, which ended 2011 with possibly the craziest fanfare, didn’t quite match up from the perspective of a narrative or non-gimmickry (or the lack of it). What’s more unfortunate is that a coherent narrative is what was needed the most in this film, seeing quite obviously that the output of the third film delivered a deliciously dizzying breakneck pace at the risk of character development.

And this is where current Cruise favorite Christopher McQuarrie comes in.

Director of the extremely underrated Jack Reacher, Quarrie’s already proven himself as a strong writing counterpart to many a director, with The Usual Suspects and (more recently) Edge of Tomorrow coming to mind as perfect examples of screenwriting genius. And when his name but naturally ended up being attached to the directorial credits of Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation, the writer of this review had only excitement he couldn’t wait to share with the world.

That accompanied by the fact that I’ve always held nothing but immense respect for the franchise’s lead actor Tom Cruise had me positively curious about the prospects of this particular film, this time admittedly more so for McQuarrie than Cruise himself. ‘Cause after all of that dismal response to his sophomore directorial effort, the director’d indeed need that push to continue. Additionally, let’s be honest: the industry is in a dire need of superbly credible action directors. And McQuarrie’s proven himself as one. Twice.

The question is: will luck strike for him the third time round?

What’s it About?

Whilst neck-deep tracking down the Syndicate – a sinister criminal association – the IMF is unceremoniously disbanded on request of CIA director Hunley (Alec Baldwin; The Last Shot). It’s now up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise; Edge of Tomorrow), who finds an unlikely – albeit rather distrustful – ally in Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson; Hercules) to gather back his team for what could be one last, “desperate” mission to prove that the apparently imaginary Syndicate indeed exists, with an additional shot at bringing it down.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Ready or not; here I come!

Ready or not; here I come!

An action film depends on a lot of factors, with three of them standing out of the crowd, namely:

  • A coherent narrative;
  • Exceedingly believable performances, with substantial character development; and lastly (and most importantly)
  • Skillfully choreographed, executed and shot action set-pieces.

The film, fortunately, is blessed with an excellent, concentrated narrative that’s almost obsessively focussed on getting the game right on. Every part of every scene is filled with delicious unputdownable-book-like detail, despite the majority of narrative techniques being used here not ending up being groundbreaking by a mile and a half. The closest, in fact, this reminds me to wondrously flipping through the pages of a book is how well-wound the chemistry between Cruise and Ferguson is; a rather subtle reminder (in my opinion) to Ludlum’s 2000 novel The Prometheus Deception – which, funnily, also dealt with the ouster of an agent and bigger conspiracies; a plot device admittedly not hard to find these days. I’d, in fact, go as far as to state that this was almost like watching a spy novel, what with all that detail and strategic play of cards giving in just the right amount of texture and suspense. This, of course, goes in addition with the fact that McQuarrie and Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3) decided to go all-out on possibly one of the way better female characters in a movie of such a genre, who sees eye-to-eye with Cruise’s Hunt, lending herself genuinely useful right till the wee-end of the movie.

Of course, this is Mission:Impossible, and there are some rather trite conveniences that are bound to happen, leaving the play of probability – a weapon that had so much potential to be used within the scheme of storytelling here – completely aside for quite a few slices of writing. This is definitely a dip, but not much of it, for most of the story focusses brilliantly on the psyches of the protagonists, the anti-protagonist and the antagonist within equal measure. There’s also this possible hijink of a “strong antagonist” missing from the picture, according to some, but if one looks at it the way the writers wanted it, one can totally see why the antagonist behaves the way he behaves. There are at least five different loose ends I picked within his character arc, which were all surprisingly tied up, courtesy exactly how McQuarrie-Pearce decisively wrote the progressively expositional psyche of Harris’ Solomon Lane.

Another (albeit rather teensy) disappointment to be found is this film, unlike Ghost Protocol, fortunately or unfortunately doesn’t tie in to any of its previous character timelines directly, except for that rather microscopic new-mission-brief end Rogue Nation decided to excellently exploit – and how.

But where Ghost Protocol mostly falters is where Rogue Nation consistently builds up to clap worthy results: the stunning action set-pieces. Aside from your paradoxically rather impressive gimmick that actually begins the film, there are a bunch of stupendously choreographed action set-pieces, planned and executed with terrific attention-to-detail, and shot with surprisingly bodacious glee, its moving photography assuredly directed by Ghost Protocol collaborator Robert Elswit. Dutching a shot (or tilting a frame) has more or less been seen as a tired trademark in Michael Bay films with much disinterest – until now. Elswit manages perfectly to suck you right into the nail-biting chase through the streets and highways of Morocco by directing the camera movement appropriately to Dutch-tilt during sharp turns of bikes, making the viewer feel as thrilled as the characters would be. Added to most of these gorgeous set-pieces is poetic rhythm, supported by superior edit decisions, courtesy Eddie Hamilton (Kingsman: The Secret Service). Watch out for the excellent action set-piece set in Vienna, with the operatic orchestral sounds serving as a perfect backdrop to the enhancement of its flavourfully dynamic-in-tempo cuts between two consecutive shots. Most of the film’s country hopping is made perfectly clear thanks to the film’s decidedly slick production design – an almost-trademark of the franchise now. And within the film, there’s an added flair, thanks to the impressive old-school orchestrated compositions, with each instrument and the way it plays out within every scene reminding us of espionage actioners of yore.

To Perform or Not to Perform

The mastermind and his match

The mastermind and his match

Tom Cruise, as always, delivers a stunning, self-assured performance at all times as Ethan Hunt, be it while conversing, breaking in, or gearing up in action. It is, however, the surprisingly terrific Rebecca Ferguson who gives her all into possibly one of the meatiest roles of the film, digging into it with irrepressible excitement. There’s a certain vulnerable betrayal she delivers through her body language, which she delivers effortlessly. What’s more, she’s not your direct love-interest Cruise is trying to save; she portrays a woman who doesn’t need to depend on practically anyone to survive – right till the end. This is a challenge Ferguson practically accepts and delivers, doing things with Cruise till the wee end.

While Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Age of Ultron) unfortunately get the shorter end of the stick (and yes, we’d have loved to see them a lot more), it’s Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) who gets a deservedly greater role through most of the film. And Pegg nails it. What’s unfortunate is how Renner – who was most definitely a part of a tricky (yet unmemorable) action set piece in the previous installment, has nothing to do here physically. Sean Harris (Prometheus) is terrific with his slow calculated drawls of dialogue giving the film the requisite old-school sinisterness within the atmosphere. Alec Baldwin is efficient, but doesn’t have much to offer, really. Others are good.

Worth it?

To be perfectly clear on this one, it’s quite hard to state if it’s universally worth it, really, mostly because of the audience being divided into a few popular sets, and those are the following:

  • The section of viewers having a personal bias against Cruise, who will continue to never, ever like any movie of his, so this one’s gone on them;
  • The section of viewers who think that Ghost Protocol is the best Mission:Impossible of them all, who will find reasons to call this one “not up to par with” its previous installment; and
  • Those who will continue to look at “blockbuster-material” action films as unashamedly despicable in the face of “better films this universe has to offer”.

Among them all will be a strong fourth kind, having a secret want to unabashedly indulge in the gleefulness of an old-school action/espionage film, and for them, this will be one hell of an obsessively detailed two-hour-eleven-minute ride. Those who have been extremely keen on the franchise alone will notice that Rogue Nation successfully builds upon the expansiveness and thrill of Ghost Protocol, along with all that good old-school suspense of the first, giving the viewers a film that, in this writer’s opinion, easily passes off as the best Mission:Impossible of the series, and the BEST mainstream summer-blockbuster material action film this year thus far.

‘Cause calling it any less would be pretty unforgivable on my part.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

We’re viral

Like usFollow us
Cast Tom Cruise
Simon Pegg
Rebecca Ferguson
Director Christopher McQuarrie
Consensus: 4 Stars
Impressive!

What to Expect

Mission:Impossible is the kind of franchise that’s almost always banked on the impossible, right from the dexterous double-crossing witnessed in the first to the daft ridiculousness of the second, eventually brought back together – with the third – only for one of the then best films of the four with M:I:iii. It’s only quite disappointing that the rather overrated Ghost Protocol, which ended 2011 with possibly the craziest fanfare, didn’t quite match up from the perspective of a narrative or non-gimmickry (or the lack of it). What’s more unfortunate is that a coherent narrative is what was needed the most in this film, seeing quite obviously that the output of the third film delivered a deliciously dizzying breakneck pace at the risk of character development.

And this is where current Cruise favorite Christopher McQuarrie comes in.

Director of the extremely underrated Jack Reacher, Quarrie’s already proven himself as a strong writing counterpart to many a director, with The Usual Suspects and (more recently) Edge of Tomorrow coming to mind as perfect examples of screenwriting genius. And when his name but naturally ended up being attached to the directorial credits of Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation, the writer of this review had only excitement he couldn’t wait to share with the world.

That accompanied by the fact that I’ve always held nothing but immense respect for the franchise’s lead actor Tom Cruise had me positively curious about the prospects of this particular film, this time admittedly more so for McQuarrie than Cruise himself. ‘Cause after all of that dismal response to his sophomore directorial effort, the director’d indeed need that push to continue. Additionally, let’s be honest: the industry is in a dire need of superbly credible action directors. And McQuarrie’s proven himself as one. Twice.

The question is: will luck strike for him the third time round?

What’s it About?

Whilst neck-deep tracking down the Syndicate – a sinister criminal association – the IMF is unceremoniously disbanded on request of CIA director Hunley (Alec Baldwin; The Last Shot). It’s now up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise; Edge of Tomorrow), who finds an unlikely – albeit rather distrustful – ally in Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson; Hercules) to gather back his team for what could be one last, “desperate” mission to prove that the apparently imaginary Syndicate indeed exists, with an additional shot at bringing it down.

Ready or not; here I come!

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

An action film depends on a lot of factors, with three of them standing out of the crowd, namely:

  • A coherent narrative;
  • Exceedingly believable performances, with substantial character development; and lastly (and most importantly)
  • Skillfully choreographed, executed and shot action set-pieces.

The film, fortunately, is blessed with an excellent, concentrated narrative that’s almost obsessively focussed on getting the game right on. Every part of every scene is filled with delicious unputdownable-book-like detail, despite the majority of narrative techniques being used here not ending up being groundbreaking by a mile and a half. The closest, in fact, this reminds me to wondrously flipping through the pages of a book is how well-wound the chemistry between Cruise and Ferguson is; a rather subtle reminder (in my opinion) to Ludlum’s 2000 novel The Prometheus Deception – which, funnily, also dealt with the ouster of an agent and bigger conspiracies; a plot device admittedly not hard to find these days. I’d, in fact, go as far as to state that this was almost like watching a spy novel, what with all that detail and strategic play of cards giving in just the right amount of texture and suspense. This, of course, goes in addition with the fact that McQuarrie and Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3) decided to go all-out on possibly one of the way better female characters in a movie of such a genre, who sees eye-to-eye with Cruise’s Hunt, lending herself genuinely useful right till the wee-end of the movie.

Of course, this is Mission:Impossible, and there are some rather trite conveniences that are bound to happen, leaving the play of probability – a weapon that had so much potential to be used within the scheme of storytelling here – completely aside for quite a few slices of writing. This is definitely a dip, but not much of it, for most of the story focusses brilliantly on the psyches of the protagonists, the anti-protagonist and the antagonist within equal measure. There’s also this possible hijink of a “strong antagonist” missing from the picture, according to some, but if one looks at it the way the writers wanted it, one can totally see why the antagonist behaves the way he behaves. There are at least five different loose ends I picked within his character arc, which were all surprisingly tied up, courtesy exactly how McQuarrie-Pearce decisively wrote the progressively expositional psyche of Harris’ Solomon Lane.

Another (albeit rather teensy) disappointment to be found is this film, unlike Ghost Protocol, fortunately or unfortunately doesn’t tie in to any of its previous character timelines directly, except for that rather microscopic new-mission-brief end Rogue Nation decided to excellently exploit – and how.

But where Ghost Protocol mostly falters is where Rogue Nation consistently builds up to clap worthy results: the stunning action set-pieces. Aside from your paradoxically rather impressive gimmick that actually begins the film, there are a bunch of stupendously choreographed action set-pieces, planned and executed with terrific attention-to-detail, and shot with surprisingly bodacious glee, its moving photography assuredly directed by Ghost Protocol collaborator Robert Elswit. Dutching a shot (or tilting a frame) has more or less been seen as a tired trademark in Michael Bay films with much disinterest – until now. Elswit manages perfectly to suck you right into the nail-biting chase through the streets and highways of Morocco by directing the camera movement appropriately to Dutch-tilt during sharp turns of bikes, making the viewer feel as thrilled as the characters would be. Added to most of these gorgeous set-pieces is poetic rhythm, supported by superior edit decisions, courtesy Eddie Hamilton (Kingsman: The Secret Service). Watch out for the excellent action set-piece set in Vienna, with the operatic orchestral sounds serving as a perfect backdrop to the enhancement of its flavourfully dynamic-in-tempo cuts between two consecutive shots. Most of the film’s country hopping is made perfectly clear thanks to the film’s decidedly slick production design – an almost-trademark of the franchise now. And within the film, there’s an added flair, thanks to the impressive old-school orchestrated compositions, with each instrument and the way it plays out within every scene reminding us of espionage actioners of yore.

The mastermind and his match

To Perform or Not to Perform

Tom Cruise, as always, delivers a stunning, self-assured performance at all times as Ethan Hunt, be it while conversing, breaking in, or gearing up in action. It is, however, the surprisingly terrific Rebecca Ferguson who gives her all into possibly one of the meatiest roles of the film, digging into it with irrepressible excitement. There’s a certain vulnerable betrayal she delivers through her body language, which she delivers effortlessly. What’s more, she’s not your direct love-interest Cruise is trying to save; she portrays a woman who doesn’t need to depend on practically anyone to survive – right till the end. This is a challenge Ferguson practically accepts and delivers, doing things with Cruise till the wee end.

While Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Age of Ultron) unfortunately get the shorter end of the stick (and yes, we’d have loved to see them a lot more), it’s Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) who gets a deservedly greater role through most of the film. And Pegg nails it. What’s unfortunate is how Renner – who was most definitely a part of a tricky (yet unmemorable) action set piece in the previous installment, has nothing to do here physically. Sean Harris (Prometheus) is terrific with his slow calculated drawls of dialogue giving the film the requisite old-school sinisterness within the atmosphere. Alec Baldwin is efficient, but doesn’t have much to offer, really. Others are good.

Worth it?

To be perfectly clear on this one, it’s quite hard to state if it’s universally worth it, really, mostly because of the audience being divided into a few popular sets, and those are the following:

  • The section of viewers having a personal bias against Cruise, who will continue to never, ever like any movie of his, so this one’s gone on them;
  • The section of viewers who think that Ghost Protocol is the best Mission:Impossible of them all, who will find reasons to call this one “not up to par with” its previous installment; and
  • Those who will continue to look at “blockbuster-material” action films as unashamedly despicable in the face of “better films this universe has to offer”.

Among them all will be a strong fourth kind, having a secret want to unabashedly indulge in the gleefulness of an old-school action/espionage film, and for them, this will be one hell of an obsessively detailed two-hour-eleven-minute ride. Those who have been extremely keen on the franchise alone will notice that Rogue Nation successfully builds upon the expansiveness and thrill of Ghost Protocol, along with all that good old-school suspense of the first, giving the viewers a film that, in this writer’s opinion, easily passes off as the best Mission:Impossible of the series, and the BEST mainstream summer-blockbuster material action film this year thus far.

‘Cause calling it any less would be pretty unforgivable on my part.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Share this Post