There’s a lot of hate for Tom Cruise these days. We here at the Movie Bears Podcast are still trying to wrap our heads around why, exactly, that hatred burns so hot. Sure, there have been some missteps – Eyes Wide Shut, we’re looking at you – but if you look at his body of work (especially within recent years), Cruise has been on a hot streak! Films like Jack Reacher, Oblivion, Edge of Tomorrow, and – of course – Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol have been really good (if not great) flicks that don’t fail to entertain. And while Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation seems a somewhat worn-out take on a tired formula, it’s still greatly fun and Cruise is a big part of why. If you’ve not seen much of Cruise’s recent work, take a chance – you might be surprised.
While the story might be a little predictable (and more on that later), Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation absolutely delights with a heavy reliance on practical effects. You’ve likely seen the trailer in which Tom Cruise’s “Ethan Hunt” barely holds onto the side of an airplane as it takes off. Cruise wasn’t CGI-ied onto the side of that plane – he was actually strapped up there, holding on for dear life – with the help of a safety line edited out for movie realism, of course. And the motorcycle chase that’s also seen in the trailer? AMAZING! There’s definitely something to be cherished about a movie that doesn’t make you go “Uh, yeah – that CGI is awful” during the biggest action sequences of the film. From a stunt and visuals perspective alone, this movie is absolutely worth the price of admission.
Of course, there’s more to love than just Cruise and some fun stunts, however. Simon Pegg is back and with a meatier role this time: he definitely brings the funny, but it’s awesome how much heart he brings as well. Jeremy Renner is here, too, and while it’s nice to see him continue with the franchise, he’s a bit forgettable (though still nice to look at). The real standout, however, is Rebecca Ferguson. Playing the not-just-a-Bond-Girl “Ilsa,” Ferguson (in our minds) steals the show a la “Furiosa” from Mad Max: Fury Road. Her character should have a series of films all of her own as far as we’re concerned! The subtlety and grace she brings to the femme fatale role is fantastic and we’re hoping this won’t be the last we see of Ferguson in the franchise.
Without getting into spoilers – checkout our podcast review HERE for that! – it’s worth noting that the plot turns of this film are a bit easy to anticipate: “Ooh! Here comes the double cross! Oh my gosh, no! It’s a triple-cross!” It’s an unfortunate byproduct of the formula that makes these films so fun. Of course there will be double-crosses. Of course no one is who they seem. Of course certain death is never actually certain at all! But where Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation falters in plot predictability, it at least delights in putting an unexpected artistic spin on certain too-tired spy-movie tropes. There’s an opera-centric scene that cinematically kills it and – again – that motorcycle chase is pretty phenomenal.
This film isn’t likely to land on your Top 10 list for 2015 but, then again, it’s not trying to. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation largely accomplishes what it sets out to do: chill, thrill, and fill the seats with repeat fans of the franchise. But even if you’re new to the M:I flicks – and if you are, may we suggest watching 1, 4, and 5? – there’s a lot here to enjoy, especially if you’re a fan of action thrillers full of sexy boys playing with high-tech toys (especially you, Mr. Pegg). Whether you see it in theaters (and we suggest you do!) or wait for rental, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is definitely worth checking out.
Enjoy the film and be sure to listen to the full Movie Bears Podcast review of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation in iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or on YouTube, embedded below. Enjoy the show!
by Brad Harris, Movie Bears Podcast