Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin
Rated; PG-13

You have your seatbelt on?
              ~Ethan Hunt

I saw this film almost a week ago and really cannot wait to get back for more.  It seemed almost impossible to top Ghost Protocol, so hoping for something of a "business as usual" sequel was about the highest of my expectations.  That's not a bad thing, mind you, but catching lightning in a bottle more than once couple with switching directorial hands is a lot more difficult than it seems.  Happily though, this movie crushed it in spades.
The "Tom Cruise hangs from a plane" sequence that was heavily featured in the marketing for the film is our "gun barrel" opening sequence and man is it every bit of fantastic.  We are mid-mission, not needing a lot of information other than the basics.  And its so much damn fun and when Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt showed up I almost stood up and spilled my popcorn it was so cool.  Mission: Impossibles have had solid opening numbers, so its nothing new, but something with this huge "going for it" attitude had not been done.  Even though we've seen the most depth defying bit in the trailer, its STILL a marvel when you see it in the movie.  Just some outstanding stuff here, and the best opening to number to a movie all year.  Seriously, James Bond...we all know I love you...but how are you going to compete with THAT come December (side note: He could say he actually did that already as he hung from a plane once in my least favorite film of the canon - Octopussy)?
This is the closest thing we've ever got to a direct sequel in the franchise.  Aside from Paula Patton, the team is kept intact.  They are also dealing with fallout from the climactic events in Ghost Protocol.  This team is made up of plenty of different people and they really manage to get all their chemistry right and work them together no matter how odd it may seem.  Simon Peg and Tom Cruise share a lot of chemistry while also having wildly different energies, but also a complete understanding of one another.  Jeremy Renner sort of is an odd addition (It feels like you should have him or Cruise in a movie, but not both), but they play up that aspect of him as well.
Paula Patton may be gone, but you'll completely forget she was ever there when you meet Rebecca Ferguson.  While all you're hearing now is raves about her, I'd like to point out that she caught my eye in the BBC mini-series The White Queen and I was very happy when she was cast in this.  This could have been a stock "Spy Who Loved Me" kinda balance to Ethan Hunt, but because of Ferguson, she gives it a lot more.  The script also does her a lot of favors too as it allows her to be a damn strong spy and not just "the girl".  I'd almost venture to say that she probably "out cools" Tom Cruise in this movie.  Here's hoping this has opened some major doors for her.
Christopher McQuarrie helms this, and I was a fan of him coming on board.  I liked both Way of the Gun and Jack Reacher.  The director handles the action sequences with a great sense of geography, intensity and stakes.  They aren't super clean sequences, but contain just the right amount of raw.  This film almost feels like a greatest hits reel of action sequences.  Most action films have a hard time coming up with one notable set piece and McQuarrie's feels like a memorable one is always right around the corner.  From the opening plane stunt, to the silent fisticuffs at the opera house to the motorcycle chase, this one has so much gas in it.  There's also some insanely nail biting suspense bits too.  One thing I have to give him as well is that there is a real sense of 60s spy era/Hitchcockian elegance to the look and feel of a lot of this film.  Particularly when Rebecca Ferguson arrives at the opera house, I felt like I was taken back to a more classic era while still having the modern touch and feel. 
I left Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation INSANELY pleased.  There was so much fun, thrills AND smarts to be had in this summer blockbuster sequel that proves YES, summer is a great time at the movies both big and small.  Its almost a week later and I'm still high on this film.  Fantastic Four comes out this weekend and while I'm going to see it, I'd almost rather buy another ticket and see Rogue Nation a second time.  After Ghost Protocol I wanted another Mission: Impossible as soon as possible. After Rogue Nation, I wan the follow up TOMORROW!

NEXT TIME:  My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to rank these films!

I F'in LOVE this teaser trailer

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