Puzzle Doctor At The Movies – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Ethan Hunt and his IMF colleagues are in trouble – not just from their many enemies but from the government that supports them. Following yet another successful mission with some, shall we say, collateral damage, the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) is disbanded. Unfortunately for Ethan, that coincides with his discovering the existence of the Syndicate – a secret society dedicated to its own ends. But when no-one else believes in their existence, Hunt goes off the radar in order to track down his new enemies.

Mission ImpossibleAnd that’s about enough of the plot. I’d hate to spoil things…

OK, a quick recap. Mission: Impossible (Brian De Palma) was pretty good, but annoyed a lot of people with the central plot twist. Mission: Impossible 2 (John Woo) was… to be honest, I can’t remember much about it other than it had slo-mo, doves and shooting two guns while diving – so basically like every other John Woo film, but with Tom Cruise in it. Mission: Impossible 3 (J J Abrams) was the best of the lot, a cracker of a film with a brilliant turn from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as the baddie. Mission: Impossible 4 (Brad Bird)… can’t recall much about that either. I’m currently watching it on Netflix, but not very far in. Can’t say I like the laid back version of the theme tune…

So why watch the fifth film – directed by Christopher McQuarrie? Because it’s as good as the third one – possibly even better.

First off, I’ve been light with plot info above due to spoilers, obviously. So often these days you’ll go into a film knowing the plot beats due to the trailer. Well, if you’ve seen the trailer, you know that the finale involves Hunt hanging off the side of a plane as it takes off. Um, no, actually. That’s the pre-credits bit. Once that kicked off, I realised that I knew nothing about the film apart from Ethan was going for a swim at some point. Which was such a great feeling.

There’s some lovely touches with the action sequences – possibly the single best end to a car chase that I’ve ever seen (and the best end to a thrilling motorbike chase as well). The cast are on top form – Simon Pegg treads the line between action and comedy perfectly and the laid-back Ving Rhames is always a treat. Renner gets a better deal than I recall from film 4 and Cruise is still drinking from that fountain of youth that the Scientologists gave him. Rebecca Ferguson does a great job as… um, probably a spoiler to say more, and Alec Baldwin may be playing another iteration of Jack Donaghy, but what’s wrong with that? Sean Harris makes a distinctive villain, let down (for me) by his resemblance to Pegg pulling a face – I kept wondering if Pegg was playing both roles. He’s not. It might have been nice to have had more than one female character in the film though…

Oh, and the music was great – I say that because it’s something that I rarely notice, but it stood out here. Just saying.

Anyway, it’s a great blockbuster spy film. Is it as good as Skyfall? Depends how you define – it’s a damn sight more fun. Highly Recommended.

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8 comments

  1. Glad you liked this one. We won’t see it for a while, until they put it out on BluRay or we stream it. But we have enjoyed most of the movies, and I am sure we will like this one too.

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  2. The first is the one I like the most and the second (basically a Hitchcock knock off at half speed), but like you, really can’t remember much about the fourth one – I thought the third started incredibly well, but then finished very poorly the way all JJ Abrams movies seem to – with two blokes slugging it out, which just seems incredibly lame after all the build-up (I also thought the despatching of the villain in the third really risible and un-dramatic while Hunt’s ability to just un-think the bomb in his head from going off, while clearly a sop to Cruise’s Scientology crap, was really, really poor in turns of drama).

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    • Can’t recall much of the end of three – apart from Hoffman’s fate – but I definitely enjoyed it a lot more than two. Unfortunately three is the only one not on Netflix so I can’t rewatch it to find out. Currently re-watching 4 bit by bit. I’ll let you know…

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      • That’s just it – a great ideas, great set-up, but to me very disappoj ting payoff – felt that with the TREK movies as well – and again, all just conclude with hero and villain punching each other’s lights out, which really is just going out with a whimper given all the shenanigans that came before it.

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    • If ever there was a demonstration that there’s something for everyone in the franchise (provided you like Tom Cruise, unlike Mrs Puzzle Doctor). Just finished watching MI 4 and apart from the central section in Dubai, found it a bit dull and straightforward with a forgettable villain. I probably need to watch MI 2 again though…

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