Mission Impossible

In many ways this latest instalment of the Tom Cruise starring, all-action, espionage franchise feels very much like a throwback: it’s an “analog” movie in a digital age. You can’t have helped seeing that footage of Cruise hanging onto the side of a plane, it’s been everywhere, what’s really remarkable about it though is that it’s really real. Other movies would probably gone the route of using a cgi actor pasted onto a cgi plane. Mission: Impossible has gone the route that must give insurance brokers nightmares and gone for a real movie star hanging onto a real plane (yes, they’ve probably used cgi to take out the wires and harnesses post production, but that’s not really the point, is it?). Whether it’s Cruise hanging onto a plane, riding a motorcycle at breakneck speed, fighting on precarious hanging platforms or diving into a ridiculously dangerous looking desalination pool (probably a stunt man in this case, but you get the point) it is all real, it’s all “analog”; it’s not computer generated; it’s not digital. And the point of all this? It makes for one of the best, most viscerally exciting and entertaining movies of the year.

Following on from the events of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (or M:I 4, if you prefer), where the Impossible Mission Force’s actions led to the destruction of The Kremlin, the American government decide to close down the activities of Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and the IMF, integrating them into the CIA. Close to exposing the rogue nation of the title, an evil anti-IMF known as The Syndicate, Hunt goes rogue in an attempt to finish his mission, so begins an exciting and twisting three-way game of cat and mouse.  Staying one step ahead of the CIA with the help of his former team mates Benji (Simon Pegg), Brandt (Jeremy Renner), Luther (Ving Rhames) and “Is she goodie/Is she baddie?” femme fatale, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), Hunt is closing in on The Syndicate. But will he catch up to the bad guys before either he’s brought in or they enact their nefarious plan to enact a new world order via an escalating series of terrorist attacks?

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To tell you any more of the plot would be spoiling the movie for you and, to be honest, I’m not sure I even could. If you’ve seen any of the other Mission: Impossible movies you’ll know what to expect plot-wise: twists, turns, double-agents, triple-bluffs and really great action set-pieces.

It’s difficult not to like Cruise in this kind of role and, in general, it’s difficult not to like Cruise. Sure, some of his off-screen shenanigans make him easy to scoff at, but he genuinely loves making this kind of movie and he genuinely loves it when audiences love seeing, and more importantly enjoying, this kind of movie. Cruise obviously enjoys playing Ethan Hunt and it shows, he throws himself wholeheartedly into playing him and keeps Hunt from straying over into cartoonish hero territory. But, while Cruise is the star of the franchise, Rebecca Ferguson is the star of this movie. Ferguson, as Ilsa Faust, is remarkable in this, she’s gorgeous and lethal and, above all, she’s human, she’s more human than Ethan Hunt has ever been. She stays not only one step ahead of Ethan but one step ahead of the film’s bad guy, the mysterious and almost omnipotent head of The Syndicate, Lane, played by Sean Harris with restraint and cool evil.

Mission Impossible

There’s plenty of able support by Renner, Rhames and Alec Baldwin, but the majority of side-kick screen-time goes to Simon Pegg’s Benji. Pegg is such a likeable screen presence and it’s all up there in Rogue Nation, every time Benji outsmarts the bad guys or the slimy bureaucracy of the CIA you feel like punching the air, score one for the little guy! Ethan and Benji’s “Bromance” is such a beautiful and realised thing, I would be crushed to discover that Pegg and Cruise hated each other off-screen (they don’t, phew)

Director Christopher McQuarrie, best known as a screen-writer (The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie, Edge Of Tomorrow), has come of age with Rogue Nation. There’s an old fashioned feel of craftsmanship to his direction and everything feels like it was worked by an artisan, with time, care and, if not affection, a love for great action cinema. There’s so many great action sequences and it would be hard to pick a favourite, but each sequence has its own story, its own beginning, middle and end, they’re not just thrown in there to keep the film ticking along, they’re there to move the story along, they are there because they need to be there.

You might feel like going to see Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation because there’s nothing else on that you fancy, but you’d be doing it a great disservice. This film deserves to be seen on its own merits, not viewed as just another Summer blockbuster. It’s great. It’s really great (and it’s still got the most exciting theme music ever to come from a tv show).

If it weren’t for Mad Max: Fury Road, Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation would easily be the best action movie of the year. “Damn You, George Miller” – Tom Cruise*

*Not an actual quote, but he probably thought it

For show times and booking visit Odeon Colchester.

Andy Oliver

 

 

 

 

Andy Oliver