Film Review | Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation

The fifth installment of the Mission Impossible movie franchise isolates our heroes to the fringes to present a hardly groundbreaking, but nonetheless thrilling entry in the Tom Cruise-starring espionage thriller

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

The world of espionage has made for ripe pickings in Hollywood, and James Bond is just the tip of the iceberg. From countless adaptations of the – far more realistic – spy novels by the equally prolific John le Carré to Jason Bourne’s various iterations, the globe-hopping world of cloak-and-dagger danger has long held sway over the movie-watching populace.

The Mission Impossible franchise is no exception to this, of course, and with its rotating roster of directors and unstoppable action star Tom Cruise flying its banner, it’s made for a varied but consistently fun ride so far.

Picking up where Brad Bird left off with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011), director Christopher McQuarrie (here doing a better job of handling a Tom Cruise vehicle than he did with non-starter Jack Reacher) pushes our plucky superspy team to the fringes – all the better for us to enjoy their attempts to climb back up to the top.

Following the dissolution of the Impossible Missions Force (not to be confused with that much-maligned, ‘real world’ IMF), top agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is forced to go rogue.


This gap in super-secret and combat-savvy espionage services leads to the malignant growth of Syndicate – a network of operatives determined to establish a new world order by means of a series of terrorist attacks.

Under-resourced and on the run, Ethan gathers his team – computer geek Benji (Simon Pegg) and Brandt (Jeremy Renner) – in an attempt to counter this new worldwide threat. Also joining their ranks is with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a former British agent whose true intentions, however, remain murky.

We come to the Mission Impossible movies for high-octane action sequences, and McQuarrie keeps us more than happy on this count; kicking off the proceedings with an exhilarating (and funny!) man-vs-airplane stunt and not letting up from then on out. That initial airborne stunt also sets the mood for the rest of the film – and reminds us of the entire franchise’s raison d’etre – with its kinetic, rapidly cross-cutting action and sprinkling of humour courtesy of the always on-point Simon Pegg.

Where it differs from its most immediate predecessor is in its twisty-turny plot. Granted, a degree of mystery and double-cross is par for the course with the MI series, but given how the IMF are operating outside of the system this time around, things get more chaotic by proxy. Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust – a new additon to the roster – is the linchpin here, and this thankfully not being a Bond movie, she’s only obliged to play love interest to Ethan to a point. We know more about her than Ethan and co. do, though McQuarrie sneakily withholds her final gambit from us right until the third quarter of this – admittedly overlong – installment of the franchise.

A leaner running time and some additional female presence apart from Ferguson would have been welcome, but this remains an unabashedly fun summer movie entry.

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