2015 | 2 hours 11 minutes | Dir. Christopher McQuarrie | Paramount
Each director brings his own style to the Mission: Impossible franchise. John Woo brought martial arts flair to M:I 2. Brad Bird directed Ghost Protocol like a live- action Incredibles. For Rogue Nation, Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) brings his brand of double- crossing spy thriller to the table.
McQuarrie worked with Tom Cruise on two high- profile movies (Edge of Tomorrow and Jack Reacher) before directing him in Rogue Nation, but McQuarrie is probably best remembered for his explosive screenwriting debut. The Usual Suspects won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and McQuarrie admits he had difficulty leaving its shadow. Though McQuarrie worked hard to put Suspects behind him, audiences expect anything with his name on it to have that Kaiser Soze twist. Writer/ director McQuarrie and Tom Cruise wrote Rogue Nation around the stunts, and the stunts deliver. Tom Cruise dangles from a cargo plane, plunges into an underwater turbine with limited oxygen, embarks on a high- speed motorcycle chase, and hunts terrorists on the catwalk of an Austrian opera house. This Mission is decidedly more Bond, with sophisticated European locales replacing the exotic destinations of 2012’s Ghost Protocol. Rogue Nation trashes a good deal of BMWs, too.
Although stunt- based, the plot allows for plenty of twists. The CIA dissolves the IMF for causing international mayhem. IMF agents get stuck with boring desk jobs. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) went missing in action. He’s hot on the trail of the Syndicate, a mysterious organization that manufactures international “accidents” intending to overthrow governments. When he gets close enough, Hunt enlists his former buddies and sexy double agent Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) to bring down the bad guys.
I have no bad things to say about Rogue Nation. Rebecca Ferguson looks a little old. Paula Patton was hotter. But Rogue Nation meets or exceeds expectations on all fronts. Say what you will about Tom Cruise; he makes a great lead. Tom’s effortless heroism reminds us why, even at 50, he’s still slaying on the big screen. No actor has quite matched the movie star aura guys like Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson and Michael Douglas mastered in the 80’s and 90’s.
Go see Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation when you’re sick of guys in Spandex and want something smart and classy.