Mission Impossible is quite possible


Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie

There’s a 10-minute span in the middle act of the latest Mission: Impossible film in which super-agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) nearly drowns, crashes a speeding SUV end-over-end through a parking lot, and survives a high-speed tumble from a motorbike with no more protective equipment than a pair of designer shades to dim the Moroccan sunlight.

Basically, audiences simply paying to see Cruise bounce around the screen like a lethal humanoid Superball for two hours will get their money’s worth.

Rogue Nation is the follow up to Ghost Protocol, the Impossible Mission Force’s 2011 romp that featured everyone’s favorite scientologist movie star clambering around on the world’s tallest building in black capris and magnetic gloves.

That unique Cruise kookiness and action prowess carries over to the new film. As Hunt, the actor shows more than he tells, often forgoing a potential one-liner for a hunky grin and cock of the jaw that would make Daniel Craig’s icy Bond grimace.

Not that there’s much to tell that we haven’t already heard — Rogue Nation is spy fiction through and through. The plot finds the force accused of causing excessive collateral damage in its world-saving high jinks and subsequently disbanded by the head of the CIA, a comfortably pompous Alec Baldwin.

Hunt is left on his own to avoid the pursuing agency spooks, all the while attempting to solve the mystery of the Syndicate, an evil mirror-image of the Impossible Mission Force. The film’s first act concerns slowly but surely getting the band back together: franchise veterans Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, and Jeremy Renner all return to round out Hunt’s team of agents. Notably absent is Ghost Protocol’s Paula Patton, leaving the cast quite male-heavy this time around with the exception of Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust, a cool and collected Syndicate double agent.

Despite its predictability, Rogue Nation is a finely crafted piece of action-espionage entertainment. An intriguing subplot concerning Hunt’s questionable judgment and perhaps sanity surfaces here and there in the dialogue, but it is conveniently forgotten when it’s time to kick ass, and the Impossible Missions team is mostly content to sit back and watch Cruise save the day.

Who would want to stop him?

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