Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation positions Tom Cruise as the Energizer Bunny of leading men – he just goes on and on and on. In the first few minutes of the film, he hangs on a plane. Later, he rides a motorcycle at such a high speed and at such a sharp angle, that you start to worry about his knees. He also spends a scary amount of time underwater, his body being pummeled by thousands of gallons. But nothing breaks his cool. This is a 53-year-old giving age the middle finger.
Which is pretty inspiring to watch – especially for people of a certain vintage like me. But it’s not enough to make this latest installment of a nearly twenty-year-old franchise anything more than another industrial popcorn movie. Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie delivers relentless action and a few good one-liners. It’s fun while it lasts but little stays with you.
This time around the IMF has been disbanded and super-agent Ethan Hunt, played by Cruise, is being hunted both by the CIA and the bad guys. The dark side is led by Sean Harris who plays Solomon Lane – the head of The Syndicate, some sort of international organization of rogue secret agents devoted to spreading mayhem. I couldn’t figure out what exactly these people wanted but they trot around the globe assassinating political leaders and disseminating nerve gas. Of course they are followed by Hunt and his merry band of men – played by Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames.
The best thing in the movie is Rebecca Ferguson as the femme fatale Ilsa Faust. She’s a full-bodied killer who matches Hunt at every step and puts her magnificent thighs to good use – breaking the necks of men with names like The Bone Doctor. She’s quite fabulous.
As are some of the stunts in the film. But honestly, after a while, the action, the acrobatics, the international locations and the smart one-liners start to blur and a sort of Tom Cruise fatigue starts to set in. At one point Alec Baldwin playing the head of the CIA describes Ethan Hunt as the living manifestation of destiny. It’s very funny though I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be. But the line made me long for a little more wit and a little less showcasing of the machine that is Tom Cruise.
Hopefully in the next one – I’m sure Cruise has one more installment in him.