After seeing a colleague shot to death, IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is convinced that an organization called the Syndicate, made up of rogue agents from around the world, is responsible for a number of tragic events around the world. CIA Director Hunley (Alec Baldwin) is not convinced that the Syndicate even exists, he thinsk that their existence might be a figment of Ethan’s imagination to keep the IMF alive and funded. Hunley goes before Congress asking the IMF to be defunded and the money and resources to be transferred to the CIA. Hunley asks William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) to tell him about Ethan’s whereabouts, but Brant denies any knowledge of what Ethan is up to. Ethan is in Austria trying to prevent the assassination of the Austrian Prime Minster. Ethan has taken along Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) for logistical support. He runs into not one, but three assassins trying to kill the Prime Minster, including Ilsa Faust,(Rebecca Ferguson) a pretty assassin with a deadly shot. Ironically, Ilsa has saved Ethan’s life before they meet in Vienna, is she there to kill Ethan Hunt or save him? Does Ethan prove the existence of the Syndicate or is the IMF finally disbanded?
Was I expecting originality from the fifth installment of this film? Not really, but it borrows heavily from the Bourne series with the whole rogue agent plotline. Frankly, that plotline has been far too overused since it was used to perfection in the Bourne movies. This movie, on the other hand seems to be going through the motions, car chases, explosions, dangerous stunts that don’t look all that dangerous, villains that can’t kill one good guy even though they are all paid assassins. The good guys don’t even get hurt, one example Cruise flips his car over five times in one sequence and emerges without a scratch. The car chases aren’t that spectacular, the best car chases is still from Bullitt with Steve McQueen. The stunts in Rogue Nation weren’t eye popping, it’s nice to see a woman do some butt-kicking instead of the usual damsel in distress routine, but that’s the only bright spot. The movie is entirely too long, and when the moviegoer thinks it’s over, it starts up all over again. It’s exhausting. They’re taken a good franchise and squeezed the life out of it. There will probably be another one. But at least I didn’t see Fantastic 4.
The acting is just ok, not great not bad. Tom Cruise does what he always does. When there is a dramatic scene he raises his voice, and his speaking pattern becomes staccato, and he emphasizes certain syllables, and there’s always the glare, to tell the audience he’s serious. He had success with Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow, and so he’s paired with another Brit, Rebecca Ferguson, but there’s hardly any chemistry with her, they don’t even kiss. Cruise looks tired, and old, but he produced the movie, so he is the star, and so we see a lot of the AARP cover boy acting like a 20 something. Ferguson does a good job with her role, both the action and the speaking part, but because they rotate the female leads in these movies, she probably won’t be back. Jeremy Renner plays a paper pushing bureaucrat, and that’s a severe under-utilization of his skills. Ving Rhames is a glorified driver, the writers could have definitely beefed up his role. Simon Pegg was just comedy relief, and Alec Baldwin was good, in a ham-handed way, in a small role.
The direction was standard for an action flick, the audience sees one chase from the point of view of the rider, there is an airplane stunt that was not spectacular, and an underwater stunt that was average. The pacing suffers when the movie slows down for exposition, and the director gets fair performances from all the actors.
Mission Impossible: Becoming more like Mission Predictable.