Thursday, 13 August 2015


 Actor/producer Tom Cruise is back as IMF superspy Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. The fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible film series, released yesterday in France, is helmed by Christopher McQuarrie, who directed Cruise in Jack Reacher (2012).

Impossible Mission Force agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) intercepts nerve gas about to be sold to terrorists. A debriefing in London goes wrong and Ethan is captured by an organization called The Syndicate. Syndicate operative Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) helps him to escape. Meanwhile CIA director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) gets the dismantling of the IMF and wants William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) to tell him where Hunt is. Ethan needs the assistance of friend and colleague Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) to find the Syndicate.

In Vienna they try to prevent the assassination of the Austrian Chancellor. Brandt recruits Ethan Hunt's old pal Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) to locate Hunt and Dunn and track Ilsa. Launched in 1996, the Mission: Impossible spy action movie franchise is based on the 1966-1973 namesake television series created by Bruce Geller. Mission: Impossible actually became a big screen "series" in itself only in 2006 with the involvement of American director, writer and producer J.J. Abrams (Lost) and his prodco Bad Robot. The first movie, directed by Brian De Palma, was basically a Hitchcockian paranoid thriller and Mission: Impossible II (2000) was a catastrophe. Since Mission: Impossible III (2006) the movies share the same style and tone.

The work of composer Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Lost), a dose of humour brought mainly by Simon Pegg and some respect to the TV source material widely contributed to this unity. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation follows the path of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) in the fun escapism category. Except it's better written, as long as you ignore the countless exposition scenes and you don't expect a Frederick Forsyth thriller from the script of a bona fide popcorn movie. After all it's mostly centered on the hunt (no pun intended) for a USB drive. The pre-title sequence sets the mood for the entire film with a bravura piece featuring an A400M plane, Tom Cruise in top shape and Benji's antics.

This Burj Khalifa moment (1) is just one of the mandatory spectacular action sequences, which include a high dive without scuba gear (hold your breath) and a couple of mega-chases in Morocco. Rogue Nation reminds of James Bond (The Living Daylights), Alfred Hitchcock (The Man Who Knew Too Much), the Mission: Impossible TV series (the record shop) and nods to its own predecessors. Cruise remains a legit action star at 53. Simon Pegg portrays the most pathologically anxious field agent of the intelligence community. Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames form a new comedy duo. Rebecca Ferguson is excellent as the badass leading lady in a franchise whose female characterization is not the forte.

English actor Sean Harris is Solomon Lane, a valuable villain after the forgettable Kurt Hendricks of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. Although the late Philip Seymour Hoffman's Owen Davian in M:I:III will stay unbeatable. Alec Baldwin plays a first class A-hole... or not. Simon McBurney and Tom Hollander (as the British Prime minister) are amongst the cast. Composer Joe Kraemer, who scored Jack Reacher, succeeds Michael Giacchino with honours. The soundtrack makes a generous use of Lalo Schifrin's Mission: Impossible main theme and The Plot. Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot and its aria Nessun Dorma have an essential place in it. Aaron Becker did a superb job with the main title design and the curtain call sequence for Filmograph.

When Raymond Burr starred as lawyer Perry Mason in the eponymous TV series a woman once asked him "How come you never lose?" The actor answered: "Madam, you only see the cases that I try on Saturdays." There are certainly missions where Ethan Hunt and his IMF teammates are not disavowed. Anyway, the latest Mission: Impossible is the perfect summer blockbuster and Tom Cruise definitely knows how to meet the expectations of his public. Distributed by Paramount Pictures, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is written by Christopher McQuarrie. Story by Christopher McQuarrie and Drew Pearce. Robert Elswit is the cinematographer.

(1) See Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

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