Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson and Jeremy Renner
Directed By: Christopher McQuarrie
Running Time: 131 minutes
Our Score: 4.5 out 5 stars
If you haven’t heard yet, Tom Cruise hangs off the side of a plane for his latest movie, “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”. The 53-year-old actor, who’s been known for doing his own stunts, figured the best way to hook you from scene one is to jump on to a plane and dangle for life as it climbs through the area. The kicker is that this is done without the use of special effects, just a good ol’ camera mount to capture his unterrified expression as he soars into the air. If the first five minutes of “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” doesn’t hook you in, you apparently don’t like action movies.
Cruise is reprising his role as Ethan Hunt, the mastermind, physically unlimited, and fatigueless spy operating with the Impossible Mission Force (IMF). Before his suspicions about a global terrorist network, called the Syndicate, can be confirmed, they reveal themselves to him and capture him. Using his mind, fighting prowess, and in general luck, he escapes from his unfamiliar and mysterious captors only to be a fugitive from his own country. While he was busy being beat up nearly tortured, the U.S. has disbanded the IMF and now is after Ethan for treason. That’s a lot of exposition in the first 10 minutes, but it’s handled quite well without overloading the viewer’s processing senses.
A lot of the exposition in this movie is masterfully done, without too many lingering questions of whom, what, where, when and why. The finer details could be scrutinized, but the general plot is intricately laid out in a simplistic and fun fashion. As the story progresses, Ethan Is helped by various people to help him find out who heads up the syndicate. There’s Brendt (Renner), the inside man at the CIA, who lets Ethan know when the CIA is hot on his trail. Then there’s Benji (Simon Pegg), the computer geek who’s called into justify absurd gadgetry. Then there’s the mysterious double crossing former agent known as Ilsa (Ferguson). There’s other characters that crop up and add to the mix, but their sudden appearances are a joy upon watching.
To break up the constant tension is some much needed comic relief, provided by nearly every character, but in heavy does by Benji. Tom Cruise is charismatic, but he seems more in sync when his partner in crime throughout Europe arrives, Benji. Simon Pegg, who’s had some experience in comedy and action, is a perfect outlet for what everyone in the audience is thinking, “How the hell did you just do that?”
Just like previous installments in the “Mission: Impossible” movie series, there’s lots of twists, turns, fake face pulling off, neat gadgets, and all the other things that have actually been missing from all the latest Bond movies, which isn’t a bad thing. There are actually plenty of comparisons between both movie series, but the major difference right now is tone. While the Bond series seems to be aiming for a growing character study and keeping Bond emotionally resonant, “Mission: Impossible” seems to be going for what early Bond was like, exhilarating action and non-stop fun.
For every moment you think “Mission: Impossible” is going to let up, it pushes harder on the throttle without giving you a moment to breathe. Small to big action sequences are done with precision; creating tension despite the fact we know that Ethan will be fine. Those moments of tension are created by characters constantly discussing the longevity of Ethan, who flirts with death and laughs at danger. Of course those might just be a hint at whomever will take over Ethan’s place when Cruise becomes too old. But right now, Tom Cruise is still an action star not to be messed with.