Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mission: Impossible -Rogue Nation

*** out of ****

After Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird; writer/director Christopher McQuarrie takes the helm in the fifth entry in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, which has become an action vehicle for Tom Cruise comparable to the 007 series. Despite light connections, such as the character Luther (Ving Rhames) appearing in every movie, they’re all practically standalones with a different atmosphere and plot each time with very little character building.

That’s fine. The Bond movies do the same thing and we accept them for what they are. The Mission: Impossible movies take inspiration from the original television series with absurd technology, gadgets and improbable masks, which always seem to serve as a cheap “gotcha!” device. Ever since 1996, when the first entry in the re-imagined cinematic series began, we’ve been getting big budget action-packed cinematic treatments to these concepts and all of them – except for the second one – have been pretty damn cool.

So now that I’ve seen Rogue Nation, I’m happy to say that Cruise and his producing partners still know what they’re doing. Like Mad Max: Fury Road, this is a movie that reserves its CGI for where it is needed while amazingly real stunts (many of which Cruise does himself) are pulled off right in front of the camera.

This movie, once again, finds a reason for Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his team to be cutoff from the support of the American government as they search for the man behind an organization known as, “The Syndicate,” which seems to be causing disasters all over the world that look like accidents but seem to have specific results. I could deconstruct the plot for which I felt this movie wasted too much time, but I have to remember that McQuarrie was the man who wrote The Usual Suspects, so maybe I should skip a bit and say that the action set pieces still deliver. An assassination attempt during a performance of Turandot at the Vienna State Opera House is probably this movie’s most inventive segment.

This movie isn’t as fun as the last entry in the series, Ghost Protocol as its tone is a little less jovial and the score by Joe Kraemer isn’t as inspired as Michael Giacchino’s work in the last two. However, once again, Robert Elswit's celluloid cinematography continues the visually rich tradition of the series; the return of Simon Pegg as Benji, the timid tech specialist, still getting used to field work, is a welcome one; and the addition of Swedish actress Rebecca Furguson gives this series a female character who seems interesting for once –and looks tastefully more mature than a lot of the nineteen-year-olds they recruit as love interests in movies like these.

In short, it’s a little longer than it needs to be and seems uncertain as to how seriously it takes itself, but you can still expect a helluva show.

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