Tom Cruise and team return for a fifth mission, this time against a rogue “anti-IMF” agency. Ethan Hunt (Cruise) discovers proof of the existence of a criminal organization known as The Syndicate, lead by Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). However, since CIA director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) successfully campaigned for the IMF to be disbanded, Hunt is left to track down The Syndicate on his own. He is assisted in this mission by his team of Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), as well as British double agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), whose true allegiance remains ambiguous.
When Tom Cruise starred in a film adaptation of the television series Mission: Impossible back in 1996, it would have been hard to conceive that the series would still be going strong five films and nineteen years later. Like the similarly long-running Fast & Furious series, the Mission: Impossible franchise has now apparently found the perfect formula, as evidenced by the fact that the film brings back practically the entire team from the previous film Ghost Protocol, which is a first for the series, despite the fact Ving Rhames’ character of Luther Stickell is the only character other than Ethan Hunt to appear in all five films.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is first film since the original to directly feature elements from the television series. In this case, the film brought the show’s antagonistic criminal organization The Syndicate to the big screen. Made up of ex special agents, The Syndicate is quite comparable to SPECTRE from the James Bond films, which is ironic, since there’s a Bond film called SPECTRE coming later this year. British character actor Sean Harris (Prometheus) is practically unrecognizable as the calm and calculating Syndicate leader Solomon Lane.
Entering into his third Mission: Impossible film, Rogue Nation really lets Simon Pegg shine as technician turned field agent Benji Dunn. Much of the first half of the film has Benji being the sole team member with Hunt, with the two of them having some great comedic chemistry together. In fact, I would now just love for there to be a buddy cop comedy starring Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg.
The Mission: Impossible series has become known for its over-the-top stunts, which are most definitely not in short supply in Rogue Nation. In addition to the heavily advertised set-piece, which has Tom Cruise holding on to the side of a plane, there is also an underwater file switch and a lengthy high speed chase, which include a very crazy rotating car crash. There is also a scene at the Vienna opera, which is quite reminiscent of the climatic scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much.
Altogether, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation can be seen as an example of how a franchise can still remain quite entertaining after nineteen years and five films.
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