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Review: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Tom Cruise's latest outing as Ethan Hunt provides amazing action sequences without wasting too much time trying to amend the franchise's record, says Simran Virdee.

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Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner
Running Time: 131 minutes

Image: Paramount Pictures
Image: Paramount Pictures

We have already seen Tom Cruise dangling from the tallest building in the world, but for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation they really have stepped it up a gear. This time, the film opens up with Tom Cruise hanging onto a flying jet for dear life. Rogue Nation definitely starts how it means to go on; bigger and better than any of its predecessors. After a brutal invasion into the IMF, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), with help from his team (Simon Pegg, Jeremt Renner, Ving Rhames) and the illusive double agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), must track down and destroy the mysterious perpetrators known as the Syndicate; a mission that promises to be challenging to say the least.

This film has shown that the Mission Impossible franchise is not only getting more lucrative, but also better with age. The main reason for this is that the fifth instalment truly recognises its strengths and weaknesses. Unlike the other films in the franchise, it wastes no time or effort on its weak points like character development or storylines, instead it focuses solely on what it's good at; the action sequences themselves.

As far as character development actually does go, Rogue Nation does not have much to offer. Ethan Hunt is swiftly becoming more like a machine than a realistic character and the interest is certainly focused upon his physicality rather than any emotional depth. The main villain, played by the BAFTA award-winning Sean Harris, is cliched, one-dimensional and a waste of a quality talent. Moreover, the surrounding cast seemed to lack much impact on the film, being limited to things such as a somewhat underwhelming 'bromance' between Benjy (Simon Pegg) and Ethan for example. However, I think all these downfalls can be partly forgiven because of the character of Ilsa Faust, who completely steals the show and holds the whole film together. Ferguson's portrayal of Ilsa is refreshingly mature and puts more focus on her brains and experience rather than her beauty; a superb direction for action heroines. More impressive still is the chemistry between Ethan and Ilsa, which is surprisingly subtle and natural for this genre of film.

Although the plotline provides some intrigue through the concept of the Syndicate, an anti-IMF organisation run by presumed-dead agents, it does at times become over-complicated and quite absurd. If you want a film driven by sleek plots and dialogue you will be a bit disappointed. However, if you want an action-packed thrill ride you will be delighted. In fact, what drives Rogue Nation is the actual driving itself and if you watch this film for nothing else, see it for the car chase sequence in Casablanca because it is simply breath-taking. It is probably one of the best cinematic car chases I've seen in a long time. In addition to this, the scene in Vienna in which Ethan aims to foil an assassination attempt in a stunning opera house, is beautifully shot and almost rivals some of the elegance of, dare I say, Bond. The action is impressive and certainly gives the audience what they want. It almost makes you forget about pitfalls in characters and storylines.

The film also stands out because, unlike many other action films now days which are bogged down by over-complicated, CGI reliant sequences, the action is clever, well-thought out and just about realistic enough to make it fantastic (Tom Cruise doesn't strap onto jets and colliding motorcycles for nothing). Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is not a complete knockout of a film, but it certainly doesn't hold back any punches as a jaw-dropping, full-throttle summer blockbuster.

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