FlixChatter Review: Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

MIRogueNation

I’ve been a fan of this long-standing franchise even from the first one by Brian De Palma. Looking back, it certainly was a more cerebral, somber affair as it took itself way too seriously. It might’ve been the fourth movie when the film took a decidedly lighter tone, but amped up the action to be even crazier. It’s akin to a cinematic roller coaster, a huge adrenaline rush from start to finish. You know when want to go for another round the moment you’re done with a REALLY fun amusement park ride? Well, that’s how I felt the minute the end credits roll.
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It’s to be expected that the stake of Mission Impossible movies get more and more well, impossible. But really, they’re not called the Impossible Missions Force for nothin’. This time Ethan and team take their craziest mission yet, and a personal one. If you’re familiar with the franchise, you know about the mysterious International organization the Syndicate, which is as skilled as the IMF and commited to destroy Ethan & co.

Right from the opening sequence with the highly-publicized plane sequence where Tom Cruise was hanging out on the side of the plane, a stunt the superstar himself performed no less than 8 times, you’ll know what you’re in for. But you’ve got to have a lot more tricks up your sleeve if you show THAT scene early in the movie. Thankfully that is the case here. If you love chases of any kind, whether it be on foot, car, motorbikes, etc. you’ll find them here. It’s as if each action scene tries to one-up the other and I have to say each one is as exhilarathing as the last.

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My favorite scene is the one within the Vienna Opera House, with stunning camera work in the narrow, shadowy corners. The fight scenes are jaw-droppingly spectacular, even more so against the classic aria of Nessun dorma. It’s truly the spectacle to watch going into a movie like this and it looks amazing on the big screen.

Early in the film, we’re introduced to a new character Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), but THIS is her moment to shine. She’s my favorite female character in ALL of the Mission Impossible movies so far. I’d vote to have Ilsa replace Ethan Hunt in future MI movies or have her star in a MI spinoff movies. She’s THAT great. I love the fact that she’s a formidable character who’s no bimbo, and on top of being Ethan’s equal in the action scenes, Ilsa actually has a compelling character arc.

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The relentless logic-defying stunts are electrifying, but I like the fact that director Christopher McQuarrie actually includes one scene that show Ethan is human after all. I won’t mention the scene as to not spoil it for you, but I actually feared for his life for once, even for a moment. There is also an emotional connection between the characters, especially when it comes the dynamic of Ethan’s core group: Benji (Simon Pegg), William (Jeremy Renner), and Luther (Ving Rhames). The camaraderie works well and it’s easy to root for this group.

MIRogueNation_Still

Humor is another recipe for success in this franchise. The high-octane stunts are matched with crackin’ wit, mostly from the resident comedian Pegg, but Renner also made the franchise’s oft-used line “I can neither confirm nor deny any details without the secretary’s approval” to hilarious effect. There’s also a particularly humorous scene involving the British PM towards the end. Nice to see Alec Baldwin as another CIA officer, 25 years after playing Jack Ryan in The Hunt for Red October.

If I have one quibble though, it’d be the villain (Sean Harris). I don’t know why the filmmakers think a weird & creepy bad guy is more effective than a normal-looking one. I’d think that a perfectly normal character with a ruthless agenda can be just as menacing, so long as they cast the right actor. Harris just seems more of a damaged, eccentric psychopath than a really scary villain worthy of a super spy like Ethan.

MIRogueNation_SeanHarris

Thankfully, the rest of the cast delivered and the movie is as fantastically entertaining as ever. Just like the unstoppable franchise, Cruise clearly still has plenty of energy to make us believe he IS Ethan Hunt, he made even James Bond seems rather tame. He’s starting to look older but young enough to pull off the relentless action and even the shirtless scenes. Still I’m thankful there’s no unnecessary romance that’d make me cringe.

I enjoyed the heck out of MI: Ghost Protocol and I remember thinking, boy how’d they top that Burj Khalifa scene?? Well, not only does Rogue Nation manage to top THAT scene, but the movie as a whole. This one now stands as my favorite of the franchise. I rarely say this about any movie, but I hope they continue to make more Mission Impossible movies and hopefully McQuarrie will be back for at least the next one. This is only his third film, and I actually quite like his previous film with Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher. He also wrote the screenplay for Edge of Tomorrow, so it seems that his collaboration with Cruise has been a rewarding one. Joe Kraemer who worked on the score for Jack Reacher also did a great job scoring this one.

I can’t wait to see this again, next time at IMAX. It’s an escapism sort of movie and Rogue Nation delivers on that front, and more.

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So have you seen MI: Rogue Nation? Well, what did YOU think?

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44 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

    1. Hi Ryan! It’s my fave movie of the Summer for sure. I like the first film too, more than most, but I think it’s way too serious for its own good.

  1. Tom

    There’s no way I can watch this movie. I loved Mission Impossible, the original. It has completely sacrificed everything it stood for when MI:3 came around and it became a big, bombastic crowd-pleasing, pop-corn crunching action spectacular. It dispensed with thoughtful storytelling and intellectuality. It’s now a joke. I’m sorry, I can’t get behind any of the films beyond MI:3. The only reason I didn’t throw food at the screen in the third one is because of Philip Seymour Hoffman. I refuse to watch anything beyond it.

    1. Hi Tom, well I guess we’re on disagreement on this one. I actually think there’s nothing wrong w/ making it more of a fun, escapism type of movie. I don’t think it’s a joke just because the movie is lighter in tone. But hey, you can always watch the first two movies then 😉

  2. Glad you loved it, Ruth. I haven’t seen this one (read: my problem with the new place), but I loved MI4. I think this franchise goes better from movies to movies (though sometimes before MI4, it’s kinda declining). I really hope I will like this one, too.
    Well, I begin to gain love to Tom Cruise, slowly but yeah, can’t wait to see it.

    1. I think *better* is subjective but I do think it’s a heck of a lot more fun and entertaining. I have no problem w/ the lighter tone, but apparently some people do [shrug] I see these flicks as two-hour escapism at the movies but there’s still some intriguing plot to the story, so I wouldn’t say it’s a big, dumb popcorn flick.

  3. Well your enthusiasm jumps off the screen! It’s good that a summer blockbuster has come along that so many people like (it seems to have been a year of disappointments otherwise, aside from Mad Max). I finally watched Ghost Protocol the other day and I’m not a huge fan of the direction of the franchise (I agree with a lot of what Tom says above) but I enjoyed a couple of the set pieces and as such I’m looking forward to seeing this one for a couple more.

    1. Hi Stu, well I’m enthusiastic because I had a lot of fun watching it. No shame in that 😉 It seems that some people just have a different expectation about these movies. For me, MI movies are supposed to be an action espionage thriller, kind of like James Bond in a way but w/ crazier stunts given how Cruise is an adrenaline junkie. I think it’s still a few notches above the Fast & Furious movies as the plot is still pretty intriguing. It humorous without being dumb, but that’s how I feel anyways.

      1. Hey Ruth, I completely agree there’s no shame in that! What works for some doesn’t work for others, but that’s the part of the charm of the movies I suppose.
        I’ve never actually seen a single Fast and Furious movie (well, not the Vin Diesel ones anyway…I watched the 1950s original. It wasn’t very good!). I should watch a couple sometime.

  4. I had a great time with this one. I loved that it sort of brought back that world of spies feel from De Palma’s original, and still brought plenty of action like the later films. I also was a huge fan of the character of Ilsa and was really waiting for the moment she would come back on screen. The women in these films never make a return. I seriously hope Cruise and team read as much fan feedback as possible and bring her back for another film.

    1. Hi Deacon! Glad to hear. Yes I think this movie manages to mix the mysterious espionage vibe w/ the high-octane action stuff. I LOVE Ilsa and let’s hope they’ll bring her back in future installments. I’d think that if McQuarrie is back as director there’s a possibility she’ll be back [fingers crossed] 😀

  5. I can’t wait to see this! I love the franchise as well, even if I preferred the slower, brooding 1996 De Palma flick to the over stylized and action oriented sequels. They’re all fun though. And, the bad guys in the other MI flicks aren’t weird and creepy…I mean, Hoffman is creepy, but in a very effective way.

    And Dougray Scott is kind of hot.

    1. Hello Drew! I like the slower, brooding vibe of the original, but at times it was just too somber. This one is just non stop fun from start to finish IMHO. Ahah, I think Hoffman’s creepiness is definitely more menacing than Sean Harris and yes, Dougray Scott IS hot 😉

  6. I think right now this one is tie with the first film as my favorite in the series, although I can’t agree with you that the first film was too serious. That’s just how De Palma makes his films, I remember reading years ago that one of the reasons he and Cruise fought on the set so many times was that he wanted to make a suspense thriller as oppose to summer action flick, Cruise and the studio wanted more action. I mean the first film hardly had any action in it besides the big train and helicopter chase for the climatic sequence. To me the one that took itself way too seriously was the third film, which is my least favorite.

    This one took the elements of the first film and later sequels and combined them quite well. I also thought the script was very written for this genre and yes Ferguson is the star. I like the fact that her character was the one who had the mano-a-mano fight scene with the bad guy in climax, usually that’s Ethan’s job. One complain I have is that the climatic sequence just felt way rushed and I think it was. After the studio moved the release date up, I remember reading that McQuarrie had to write a new ending because of the tight deadline. I wanted to see a more elaborate and bigger action set piece to close out the film, I like how they trapped the bad guy there though. Overall a great ride!

    1. Hi Ted, that’s interesting that you like this one and the first one equally. They’re quite different in terms of style and tone. I think compared to this one (and the fourth), the De Palma one is more somber and grim. I like this one as it still has the suspenseful aspects but the action stuff is just so damn fun! Glad you think the script was well-written, I kind of think so. I like the fact that we’re not sure if Rebecca’s character is good or bad until past the halfway point. Yep, that mano-a-mano fight scene made me want to get up and cheer. There’s a guy behind us who yelled ‘yeah!’ or something like that when she killed that guy, ahah.

  7. Lovely review Ruth. I too really enjoyed this film. I loved Rebecca. She was fantastic and definitely was more physical than the previous female costars. I just wish there was some consistency with regard to the female costars. They seem to replace them every film. I thought the villain was a little hohum. I just thought the storyline could have used a little tweaking, but the stuntwork was topnoch.

    1. Hi Mariah! I love that we finally a strong female character arc in MI movies. She’s very athletic so she’s awesome to watch in action stuff, but at the same time she’s got substance that made her character intriguing. Yeah, let’s hope she’ll be back for more MI movies, maybe even a spinoff w/ her character.

  8. We are waiting for this to come to the drive in next weekend but after I read this to my husband, I’m not sure he’ll be able to hold out.

    1. I’ve been wanting to ask you, how’s the visual/quality of drive-in theaters? Are they good? In any case, well I know I can’t wait to see it again on IMAX 😀

  9. Howdy Ruth! Glad this franchise is still rolling along. There is so much I’ve enjoyed about the series. I like the different flavors each director brings while also staying true to what it is. This movie definitely serves the series well! Fine review!

    1. Howdy Keith! I was just about to head over to read your review. I was hoping Brad Bird came back to helm this one but McQuarrie did a great job and now this one is my fave MI movie. Glad you enjoyed this too!

  10. Hi Ruth, great review! I can’t wait to see this. I practically BEGGED someone to go with me last weekend to watch this and no one would go. :(. This is a film that should be watched on the big screen. I have always loved the franchise.

    1. Hi Cindy! Ahhh bummer, I’d have gone with you if we live close by. My hubby and I intend to see this again on IMAX, wish I had seen the Ghost Protocol one there as that Burj Khalifa scene is awesome! Yes, this is a movie to see on as big a screen as possible.

  11. I’m so glad I rewatched the first four films last year, because I forgot just how awesome this series is. And this one didn’t disappoint! I loved it too, Ruth! 🙂 And I’ve already seen it twice! It’s one of those action films that grabs you and never lets you go. I just hope that they get everyone back, especially Ilsa, for the rumored sequel, which could shoot as soon as next summer.

    1. I want to rewatch all of the MI movies too. Are you gonna do a ranking post, Josh? I’m jealous you’ve seen this twice already. We’re hoping to see it again next weekend on IMAX. Yes, let’s hope Ilsa will be back in the next film!

    1. I know! Even his body looks much slimmer and more toned than the last movie, what’s up w/ that??! I’m glad they skip the unnecessary romance here though, the movie worked better without it.

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  13. I liked it a little less than you did, but still it had some pretty exhilarating action set pieces. Wish the bad guy would have been better too, he didn’t come across as too menacing.

    1. Hi Nostra! Oh really? I thought you’d enjoy this one at least as much as I did. I do think the bad guy is rubbish but there are enough great stuff to make up for it IMHO.

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