August 7, 2015 by Vinnie Leduc
Crazy. That’s probably the most popular word to describe Tom Cruise. Whether that’s more reflective of his incredible DIY stunts on set or his controversial personal views off set is up for debate, but one thing’s for sure: the man’s a bona fide movie star, and that makes it easy to include his movies on our list of most anticipated movies.
His films aren’t all hits, but when they are, Cruise often makes himself and those around him seem so damn cool. This is no truer in Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation, the fifth installment of the action spy franchise that Cruise developed two decades ago. Every Mission: Impossible movie has had a different marquee name in the director’s chair, and this time it’s Oscar winner Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Edge of Tomorrow) reuniting with Cruise (Jack Reacher).
Already apparent in the high-flying trailer, here Cruise seems like he’s trying to outdo every previous Mission: Impossible. And since the iconic blockbuster series has become nearly synonymous with the man most responsible for its silver screen success, Cruise is essentially trying to outdo himself. I’d say there’s success here in that regard as well.
This Mission (should you choose to accept it, and you should) is arguably the best yet. While it feels like every one of its predecessors at some point or another (and also contains subtle nods and explicit allusions to all four), Rogue Nation is most similar to Ghost Protocol, the previous Ethan Hunt adventure and one that we honored as the best action movie of 2011.
Once again, it’s more like Bond than Bourne in terms of guns, gadgets, girls, and global games. Seeds planted in Ghost Protocol are in full bloom here, including the nicely executed development of Ethan Hunt’s friends, enemies, and frenemies. Although there’s no mention of Paula Patton’s character (blurred lines?), audiences will enjoy the expansion of the roles of Simon Pegg and Bourne alum Jeremy Renner, who as a potential heir to headline the franchise will probably have to wait as long as the ageless Cruise continues to use Mission: Impossible sequels as exhibits of his personal fitness.
No matter for now because most buzz not about Cruise or his spectacular stunts will be centered on the treacherous anti-IMF organization known as the Syndicate. Sure, there’s an unforgettable and breathtaking mission that lives up to the Impossible name more than any other so far. And yeah, that well-marketed action sequence featuring an M3 and motorcycles would’ve been the runaway winner for the year’s best vehicle pursuit had nearly the entire movie of Mad Max: Fury Road not been a car chase. But Rogue Nation is truly carried by elements and agents of the Syndicate.
Wonderful performances by Rebecca Ferguson and Sean Harris will have you wondering who’s on whose side, what’s gonna happen next, and just how the hell are they gonna get outta this one. It’s too bad that unlike Brad Bird for Ghost Protocol, McQuarrie didn’t shoot any scenes in 70mm IMAX, but Rogue Nation offers enough to warrant a viewing on any IMAX screen, true or LIEMAX. Any time just when you think it’s starting to lose the tiniest bit of steam, Rogue Nation hits you with another thrill.
The year of the spy movie, already a great one thanks to the surprisingly bad-ass Kingsman: The Secret Service and Paul Feig’s solid comedy Spy, just got a lot closer to an overall excellent one with Rogue Nation. Like Mission: Impossible, Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an adaptation of a spy TV show from the ‘60s, and it will try to duplicate the success of all the aforementioned later this month. But we know that near the end of the year, all eyes will be on 007, and until then, we’ll wonder if Spectre can top Rogue Nation. Impossible? No. Difficult? Yeah.