Culture, Film

Review: Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation movie poster 2015Another Mission Improbable rolls around with the Tom Cruise’s po-faced IMF taking on a shadowy organisation, The Consortium, no, The Confederacy, no, The Co-op; hang on, The Syndicate. Blah. There is no rogue nation, just Spectre-lite in a John Woo style.

A buffed but elderly-looking, asexual Cruise leaps energetically from one set-piece to another, while being upstaged in every one by leading lady Rebecca Ferguson, with whom there’s no hint of chemistry or romance.

Mechanical nuts-and-bolts assembly from Chriss McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) and assorted script-monkeys shows a poverty of ideas unworthy of a movie so expensively financed by China’s Alibaba film company.

The plot is the usual MI-spy guff. Sean Harris (Prometheus, Jamaica Inn) is generic whispering villain Solomon Lane, running a terrorist cell full of presumed-dead agents so secret no intelligence agency in the world can find it, and determined to mount a global takeover because… well, that’s just what you do isn’t it.

Two set pieces lift this out of the ordinary; Cruise attempting to foil an assassination as the Vienna opera; and a later motorcyle-car chase executed with speed and style that apes MI-2 and Knight and Day – a movie that looks like Citizen Kane compared to this. MI-5 shows its true colours in a laugh-out-loud underwater sequence in which the vital computer sim-card has been stashed at the bottom of a sealed hydro-electric plant made up as a giant Kenwood Chef blender. Why. Would. You. Do. That?!

Cruise is unusually dull in this, spurred by Daniel Craig’s serious Bond, treating his IMF character like it’s Hamlet; there’s no light and shade as in Knight and Day or Edge of Tomorrow, no spark as in Oblivion, no grit as in Jack Reacher. This is a conveyor-belt, sequel performance, no more, no less.

It’s left to the supporting cast to inject some life into this. Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Paul) gurns and squeaks embarassingly as comedy sidekick Benji Dunn. Plasticine-faced Jeremy Renner (American Hustle, Avengers) does a comedy double act with heavy-weight Ving Rhames; Alec Baldwin is the sinister CIA head doing what we expect a sinister CIA head to do. And don’t you know, it’s the mealy-mouthed, duplicitous British causing all the trouble, represented by Simon McBurney’s (Theory of Everything) spy-master straight out of period-piece Tinker-Tailor.

Only Rebecca Ferguson (The White Queen, Hercules) emerges with any credit from this middle-aged throwback, teenaged boys macho nonsense, unfortunately having to play terrorised victim and kick-ass chick without any of the fun of the femme-fatale. It just goes to show what a dismissive, if not misogynist franchise MI is and always was.

With no end in sight, expect another expensively CGI’d, Chinese-funded, 60’s-70’s-80’s inflected MI sequel in 2018. Sadly. RC

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation (2015)
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writers: Drew Pearce, Christopher McQuarrie, Bruce Geller
Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity)
Genre: Action & Adventure
Running time: 2hr 11mins
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Simon McBurney, Tom Hollander, Jens Hultén, Alec Baldwin

About Robin Catling

Robin Catling gained degrees in both arts and technology which led to a diverse portfolio of employment. A freelance systems analyst, project manager and business change manager for the likes of American Express, British Airways and IBM, he moved on to web design, journalism and technical authoring. He has also worked in film and television, both behind and in front of the camera, including productions by Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese, Ron Howard and Ridley Scott. A qualified three-weapon coach, he runs West Devon Swords teaching sports fencing to all age groups, and in recent years qualified with the British Federation of Historical Swordplay to teach medieval and renaissance combat in the Historical Western Martial Arts.


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