Josh and Violet share their spoiler-free male vs. female perspective reviews of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, directed by Christopher McQuarrie, and starring Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, and Alec Baldwin!
Josh’s Movie Review of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation:
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation has released over the weekend, which had an initial release date in December, but was moved up to summer likely to avoid the behemoth that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be. It seemed to be a wise choice, as so far it has had a $20 million opening day and is sitting pretty at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation was directed by Christopher McQuarrie (known for Edge of Tomorrow, Jack Reacher and Valkyrie) and stars most of the previous Mission Impossible cast members, including Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, and Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames.
So this time around Tom Cruise is trying to uncover a secret organization known as the “Syndicate,” but the bad news for him is no one believes it exists, and the CIA is trying to shut down the IMF. This leaves Cruise pretty alone in his efforts to track down the Syndicate’s leader Solomon Lane, and he has to worry about a mysterious woman, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), not knowing how much he can trust her.
This Mission Impossible probably has the best story of any of the Mission Impossible movies, and I don’t want to spoil anymore of it, because the surprises in story are probably the best aspects of it. The “destiny” of Ethan Hunt and Solomon Lane’s fate are running themes through the movie which play out really well in the film.
As per usual, the film has that mysterious character that Ethan is not sure he can trust. That character, Ilsa Faust, does a really good job of playing that gray area. While you can sort of figure out her motives as the movie progresses, you always have that second thought in the back of your mind which makes you wonder if she really is a good or bad character. Speaking of the characters though, the whole team of IMF did a great job in this movie. Simon Pegg seemed to get a bit more action that usual, which was fun to see. He is right in the thick of the action with Tom Cruise, and the comedic relief he provides is a good way to lighten up some scenes. Jeremy Renner has a great part in the film, playing off of Alec Baldwin who is trying to bring the IMF down. And of course Tom Cruise is amazing as Ethan Hunt. I don’t really care what Tom Cruise does in his personal life. His action movies are just so spot on. Maybe I am just imagining things, but every Mission Impossible movie, it seems like he is having a good time doing them, and his excitement shows through in his performance.
I have a few small quibbles with the movie. Firstly, I thought there was a little bit of pacing issues. Some lesser important scenes felt a little too long, and the movie as a whole could have shave a few minutes. I also though the action seemed a little less this time around. This could be by imagination though, as it has been a while since I have seen the other Mission Impossible movies. But there was good action to the film. The airplane scene shown partially in the trailer is both hilarious and awesome in the movie. There is a terrifying underwater scene which will give people who have a fear of drowning nightmares for weeks, and a great motorcycle chase scene, which is both breath-taking and terrifying.
The villain in this movie seemed like a great match to Ethan Hunt and IMF. It was basically their evil twin, and Solomon Lane was no exception. While I found his character excruciatingly annoying, it served the movie quite well, as it made me root for Ethan Hunt and the IMF that much more.
Overall, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation did not disappoint. I am not quite sure how I would rank this among the other 5 quite yet. So far I would probably say between 3 and 4, with Ghost Protocol being my favorite still. I would give this movie a 7.5 out of 10. I think it could have used a little more action to it, and I think there was just a bit too much that was too slow. When I go into a Mission Impossible movie, I basically anticipate a non-stop action ride. This one certainly had a lot of action, but it seemed to be focusing on telling a story, which was very well done, but just a hair too slow for my liking. Still, I would highly recommend seeing it, as again, the story is probably the best one that a Mission Impossible has ever had. That and Tom Cruise still has it as the age of 53, which is amazing, given the physical exertion that these movies must put on his body.
Violet’s Movie Review of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation:
The fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible film franchise is directed by Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher), who also wrote the screenplay. Several stars from the previous films return to reprise their roles, including Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, Jeremy Renner as William Brandt, Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn, and Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell. There are also a couple of newcomers to the film, such as Alec Baldwin and Rebecca Ferguson.
After the intro scene where Tom Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt, hangs off the side of a plane (a stunt which, yes, Cruise really did perform himself), the film begins with Ethan Hunt getting firsthand knowledge that the Syndicate, a rogue terrorist organization, does in fact exist. He is promptly captured, but with the help of Syndicate agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), he is able to escape. Meanwhile, back in the United States, Alec Baldwin’s character, Alan Hunley of the CIA, argues to a Senate committee that the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) should be disbanded. Brandt (Jeremy Renner) unsuccessfully tries to prevent this from happening, and ultimately the IMF is shut down and its agents are absorbed into the CIA. The CIA then spends the next 6 months trying to find Hunt, who has gone rogue as he tries to gather information about the Syndicate. Hunt sneakily seeks out the help of his old IMF team as he gets closer to the truth.
Going into Rogue Nation, I wasn’t overly excited, but nor was I disinterested. Mission Impossible films are always a fun time, with cool action scenes and neat gadgets. But to be honest, I don’t really remember what the previous Mission Impossible films were about. I remember liking them. I remember iconic scenes from them. But I don’t remember their storylines at all. I think this is where Rogue Nation is a bit different from its predecessors, in that it feels like it had a more memorable and interesting storyline. (Of course, I say this now. Ask me again what Rogue Nation was about when the sixth Mission Impossible comes out and see if I remember!)
What I feel was the most interesting part about Rogue Nation was the female lead, played by Rebecca Ferguson. She totally stole the movie for me. (I kept thinking she looked familiar, but then when I looked her up, her only other notable appearance was Hercules (2014), which I’ve never seen.) I was very impressed with not only her acting performance, but her physical performance as well. I read that, like Tom Cruise, she actually did most of her own stunts. I really enjoyed her character, as when it comes to a strong, yet feminine, female character, hers is a perfect example. She effortlessly keeps you guessing about which side she is on, and is deadly with her fighting moves. Ethan Hunt really met his match in Ilsa Faust, and then some, considering that she had to bail him out a couple of times.
That’s not to say that she’s the only one that did anything of note in the movie. Of course, Hunt and his (former) IMF team have some pretty cool scenes. Even Simon Pegg’s character, Benji, finds himself in the middle of the action, doing much more than just providing comedic relief (though I did quite enjoy his comedic relief!). Occasionally, things might have seemed just a tad over the top, but that’s a part of the fun of this movie. And again, remind yourself that a lot of these actors are doing their own stunts, so it’s not really not far from believable! However, there are a couple of scenes that feel like they drag on for too long. I guess when I’m watching an action movie, I’m expecting it to be faster paced, and get a little thrown off when it stays on one particular scene for too long. What can I say, it’s an ADD society these days.
Overall though, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is a fun thrill ride, with plenty of action, and an interesting storyline that will keep you guessing.
My rating: 7.5/10