Rewind Reviews – Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Posted on 19 June 2020
By Andrew Siddall
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The Mission: Impossible franchise is a rare film series that has continually gotten better with each instalment. In this Rewind Review, we take a look at one of the best so far, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

Ethan Hunt returns for his fifth mission, this time on the trail of the illusive Syndicate, a highly-skilled terror organisation, led by a man called Solomon Lane. But things get complicated when the IMF are disbanded and the CIA start hunting for Ethan and his team.

Tom Cruise (Edge of Tomorrow) returns once again as Ethan Hunt. Ethan has developed as a character the more we have seen him and Cruise does an excellent job each time. There’s more depth to him here as we see his obsession about beating the bad guys growing as things get more out of his control. He’s been doing this for years now, and this is the threat that truly challenges him, beyond just a villain with a plan.

Joining the franchise is Rebecca Ferguson (The Greatest Showman) as Ilsa Faust, who is, quite frankly, one of the best characters in the entire franchise. She’s complex, she’s interesting, she has some amazing action sequences, and Ferguson knocks it out of the park with her performance.

Adding some levity to the story is Simon Pegg (The World’s End) as Benji Dunn, who has slowly become one of the more important players in the Mission franchise. He’s more involved with the overall plot, and his friendship with Ethan feels more developed than in Ghost Protocol.

Also making their return are Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), who are both great. They mainly stay separate from Ethan, with Brandt working with the CIA, but they have important roles to play, alongside Alec Baldwin’s Alan Hunley.

Sean Harris (Prometheus) leads the Syndicate as the villainous Solomon Lane. Harris is brilliant in the role, keeping him calm and softly spoken throughout, but no less intimidating. He physically doesn’t feel very threatening, but he makes up for it with his intelligence and his puppetry of the Syndicate.

The initial premise for Rogue Nation is relatively simple, but there is so much more going on. It’s paced perfectly, with the plot balancing a gripping spy thriller with a globe-trotting action adventure. There’s a lot of plot threads and side stories that occupy the two hour runtime, but it never becomes messy and moves fluidly with each story effecting the others in a believable way.

The fifth instalment is the last to follow the tradition of switching directors, with Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) taking over from Brad Bird (Incredibles 2). Rogue Nation does feel different from the previous films, but that isn’t bad. It helps distinguish each film and gives the filmmakers freedom to make the film their way

Weirdly, Rogue Nation came out the same year as Spectre (2015), a James Bond movie that mirrored many plot elements from this. Including the softly spoken antagonist, the attempted shutdown of the spy programme and the shadowy organisation. Both stories work well for today, but Rogue Nation handles it much better and has more fun doing so.

The action is significantly ramped up in this too, feeling much bigger than before. Even though the action is still kept fairly grounded, the Mission films have openly embraced the OTT stuff, and managing to include it in a way without it ever feeling ridiculous. The action is genuinely amazing and intense, and it’s made even more so from the amount of practical stunt work used.

The fact that Tom Cruise is in his 50’s has had no impact on how far he will push himself, with the stunts becoming bigger and more elaborate. From Ethan clinging to the side of a plane to a pulse-pounding underwater sequence, Cruise really outdid himself this time around, and he is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon, which we are excitedly grateful for.

The effects are kept to a minimum like usual, but with the technology and gadgets becoming more advanced, and sequences becoming bigger, they are used effectively to help enhance any scenes that require it. The effects look good and never distract from the action.

The movie also evokes a subtle sense of paranoia as we can never be too sure of who to trust. That’s to be expected in a movie series where people have access to extremely realistic masks, but this time feels more intense and keeps us on the edge of our seats.

Taking over from Michael Giacchino (Doctor Strange) on music duties is Joe Kraemer (Kingpin). The music is great as always and knows when to begin and end, with many big sequences featuring no music at all. It’s also a nice touch including a few notes from the Opera, Turandot, which ties nicely into the plot.

Rogue Nation managed to take what worked and remove what didn’t from all of the previous instalments to create something incredible, which Fallout did too. Whether this one is the best overall is up for debate, but there’s no denying this is one of the best Mission films, and one of the best action films of the 2010’s.

Overall, this is a phenomenal action movie that set the benchmark for the Mission franchise. It’s bigger with a more gripping story. The characters feel more developed and the score is fantastic. This is a must watch for all action and Mission: Impossible fans.

Rewind Rating: 5/5. One of the best!