Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Review: Implausibly Ridiculous, Impossibly Fun

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With almost two decades under its belt, the Mission: Impossible franchise shows no signs of slowing down, even after five installments. Rogue Nation isn’t the best of the bunch (that honor still goes to J.J. Abrams’ Mission: Impossible III), but it features more of the high-octane thrills you’ve come to expect.

This time around, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is tracking down a group of rogue agents known as the Syndicate that perform acts of terrorism and blah, blah, blah. They’re bad, okay? Rogue Nation is at its worst when it’s explaining all the terrible things the Syndicate have done and are planning to do. These humorless, expository pauses between the set pieces are definitely difficult to slog through. But what set pieces!

The movie opens with the much-publicized stunt featuring Cruise hanging off the side of a plane, which he apparently actually did to some degree. Cutting between Cruise’s face looking like it’s about to be ripped off in the wind and comedic quips from Benji (Simon Pegg), Rogue Nation quickly establishes itself as over-the-top and goofy. It’s not even the best action scene in the film, which is instead a meticulously constructed car/motorcycle chase in Morocco just after the halfway point. These scenes and others continue to prove just how effective of an action star Cruise really is, the rare one not afraid to show his character as fearful in these moments.

Between the action, when the script isn’t explaining itself, Cruise and Pegg get some great light-hearted moments that keep the movie energetic and moving. It’s not quite the sendup of the spy genre that Kingsman: The Secret Service was earlier this year, but it’s tongue in cheek enough that it never feels too serious.

So five entries in and Mission: Impossible continues to do the impossible. That is, make a successful summer action tentpole based off a ’60s TV series last almost two decades and never really falter. See you for the sixth installment. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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