Cruise the missile that propels latest ‘Mission Impossible’ feature
By Bob Bloom
“Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” is an express train with Tom Cruise firmly at the throttle.
At 53 — and looking 10 years younger — Cruise is keenly aware of what his audience craves: lots of stunts filmed in a way that shows he is the star and not some anonymous stuntman putting his life in danger.
And whether it is clinging to the outside of a plane taking off or speeding on a
motorcycle on a Moroccan highway without a helmet, Cruise delivers.
In this fifth installment of the series, Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is once more on his own after a congressional committee — at the urging of the director of the CIA, played by Alec Baldwin — disbands the Impossible Mission Force because of the reckless behavior of agents such as Hunt.
The resolute Hunt goes rogue as he hunts a shadowy organization known as The Syndicate, a group of former intelligence operatives from various nations who have skills and expertise on par with Hunt — an anti-IMF, as Hunt’s fellow agent, Benji (a returning Simon Pegg) observes.
The movie is a globe sprinter, racing from Belarus to London to Washington, D.C., Havana, Vienna, Casablanca and back to London.
The savvy Cruise makes sure he delivers what is expected of him: hand-to-hand fights, death-defying leaps and car chases — all the while propelling the plot forward.
Cruise also shares the load, giving more screen time and action to Pegg and costar Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust, an agent whose loyalties are in question throughout.
Ving Rhames returns as does Jeremy Renner, who has little to do but take a back seat to allow Hunt to run the show.
The scenario is rather far-fetched: You do wonder how a disavowed agent such as Hunt, despite all his skills, can continue to come up with the equipment and other essentials he needs to carry out his international manhunt.
But that is a mere quibble — glossed over or ignored amid the relentless action and set pieces.
While the thrills dominate the movie, director Christopher McQuarrie, makes sure there is a decent amount of levity — most supplied by the constantly flabbergasted Pegg — to give the audience moments to exhale.
“Rogue Nation” is the strongest film in the franchise since the first “Mission Impossible.” It delivers on all cylinders as it careens from sequence to sequence, creating tension, delivering excitement and providing heart-pounding summer entertainment.
The movie also stands as a testament to Cruise’s commitment as a movie executive and actor who has the gift of knowing exactly how to please the people sitting in the dark.
Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at ReelBob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION
3½ stars out of 4
(PG-13), action violence, partial nudity