Monday, August 3, 2015

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE ROGUE NATION - REVIEW [MINOR SPOILERS]

Well, thanks to a bug in Blogger's crappy engine I lost my entire 'Mission Impossible Rogue Nation' review. It was saved throughout, but somehow replaced itself with another draft post I've been working on. This has never happened to me before. Moving to Wordpress looks better each day. Thankfully my images were saved on my computer, but as for the rest of it. Oy. Hopefully this review will not be colored by the frustration of having to retype (and remember) what I just wrote.

I didn't plan to see 'Rogue Nation,' but my dad (and movie partner) convinced me. Honestly I didn't need much convincing. I love action and spy movies. The Mission Impossible franchise has always brought both of those worlds together beautifully. The fifth installment is no exception. While 'Rogue Nation' is not my favorite film in the franchise, it's a good one.
We start our fair film with an incredible stunt performed by Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt) himself. Cruise's latest stunt is a signature for the 'Mission Impossible' films, beginning with his wire work in the original 1996; rock climbing in 'Mission Impossible 2;' scaling the tallest building in the world in 'Ghost Protocol' (which remains his most impressive stunt to date); and now Cruise clings on to a  plane in the midst of takeoff. An impressive stunt indeed. Say what you want about Cruise but he's essentially a stuntman. He's not one of those actors who claims to do most of his own stunts while the stuntmen in the background graciously *cough. Cruise puts his money where is mouth is. It terrifies the studios and the insurance companies, but it gives audiences quite a thrill.
Ethan's ascent into the heavens is part of IMF's (Impossible Mission Force) mission to subvert the new big bad in town (The Syndicate) from acquiring a weapon's payload. I have to give the writers a "F" for creativity on the naming of the bad guys. They are later described by Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) as an "anti-IMF"...again, not much creativity in these descriptions. "The Syndicate" title has been used in way too many trashy spy novels. Someone could have come up with a better name, but I digress.
Whilst Ethan is battling the Syndicate, William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) is battling Alan Huntley (Alec Baldwin) in front of a nameless governmental panel. It's nice to see a named actor as the CIA Director. Baldwin needs no introduction. I have often felt that a consistent supporting cast is what has been lacking in the MI franchise. Despite the IMF's incredible accomplishments, the Committee disbands the IMF fast enough to make your head spin.
Meanwhile Ethan is in London and has just been accosted by the Syndicate's main baddie, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris of Promothesus). Instead of killing Ethan he takes him hostage, which is something that was revealed in the trailers. It's also revealed in the trailers that Ethan has an unexpected friend, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). Ferguson plays the film's mandatory "it girl." Thankfully she holds her own and does a good job playing against Cruise. Unfortunately for Ferguson her role doesn't dig deeper than the femme fatale/assassin with a heart of gold cliche. This cliche has been seen in countless spy films and television shows before. If I recall correctly, Thandie Newton played a similar role in 'Mission Impossible 2.'
After Ethan escapes with Ilsa's help, he soon learns that he's an agent out in the cold...yet again. My biggest complaint is we have seen this before. In fact, I think we've seen Ethan shouting down the phone in a phone booth in most of the MI films. How many times has Ethan been disavowed or the IMF been disbanded? 'Ghost Protocol' did a wonderful job with this storyline, so much so that it really didn't need to be repeated. Surely there is another storyline outside of the IMF going down in flames?
Ethan goes rogue, but not before getting the band back together. Everyone from the last film is back, sans Paula Patton. Supposedly both Patton and 'Mission Impossible 3' alum, Maggie Q, had "scheduling conflicts," which is a nice way to say they've been replaced with a younger woman. Similar to the Alec Baldwin character, it would be nice to see some consistency in the female costars. There has been a new female costar in each of the five films.
The mission leads down the primrose path with Ilsa teaming up with Ethan and Benji. They attempt to access a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), which stores the Syndicate's data underneath what appears to be an inverted waterfall. In order for Benji to access the facility topside Ethan needs to access the facility from below. Oh but wait, they can't use a breathing apparatus because any metal will shut down the facility. I usually try to suspend my disbelief when I watch the MI movies, but this was a little dumb. Do you mean to tell me that with all of their incredible gadgets the IMF doesn't have some sort of non-metal alloy breathing apparatus? Of course not because not having a breathing apparatus ups the ante and increases the drama. Ethan almost drowns. Ilsa goes in after him. Ethan is in a full body suit, but Ilsa goes into the water in her skivvies because why not?
As soon as Benji starts to trust Ilsa she betrays the pair by stealing the information from them. A thrilling motorcycle chase ensues. Again, the stuntwork here is fantastic. It's not 'Mad Max Fury Road' fantastic, but it's good nonetheless. Ethan chases Ilsa, whilst the bad guys try to kill both of them. It's revealed later that Benji made a copy of the information, which begs the question...why the heck was Ethan chasing Isla in the first place? This is when Brandt starts to question Ethan's motives. Does Ethan want to save the world or his ego? It's a good question and one I wish would have been explored a little bit more.
The ending is perhaps the best part of the movie. Some people did not like the ending because it doesn't end with a bang, but a whisper. There are no massive explosions or acrobatic stuntwork--the filmmakers saved that for the beginning of the film. Instead, 'Rogue Nation' gets back to the heart of 'Mission Impossible'--outsmart the villain. The film is not without its imperfections, namely the redundancy in the franchise. The franchise may need some new blood behind and in front of the camera, but it's a fun franchise not to be taken seriously. It's flirty and over the top. That's part of its charm. If you want to watch a serious spy movie then go watch 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.'
THREE 1/2 STARS OUT OF FIVE

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28 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed it. That airplane stunt is wild. I heard they did eight takes to get all the shots. No thanks!
    I did wonder how she had time to strip out of her clothes. I wasn't complaining though.
    Thought the ending was perfect. What a great trap.
    I really enjoyed it. Hope they keep doing more.
    Sorry Blogger ate your first review. I always type mine and format in Word, just in case.

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    1. What a wise person you are Alex! I will do that from now on. I really enjoyed MI5 too. It was very fun to watch! Yes, I'm doing another post about all of the bikini shots in action movies recently.

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  2. So....I didn't read this because you said it had spoilers...but I saw your grade and I'm excited. I also like what I saw that you said about this ending with a whisper...sometimes those are the best endings!

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    1. Yes, I agree. I actually liked this ending better than some of the previous ones! I hope you like the movie. I'm glad to see you still in the blogosphere!

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  3. I had the same thought about the IMF not having a non-metal breathing apparatus. That underwater scene was awesome though. However, I don't think Alec Baldwin's character added anything to the film. I blame it more on poor writing than Baldwin's acting though. Like you said, the whole IMF falling apart thing has been done before, and that seemed to be the sole plot point that Baldwin's character was relevant to. Also, SPOILER ALERT the line Baldwin's character gave before Hunt unmasked in front of the prime minister was so cheesy and unfitting it made me hate that entire scene. Something along the lines of "Hunt is the physical manifestation of destiny"... Really? For being the dude who put out the order to kill hunt he sure seems to have a big ol' crush on him.

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    1. Ha you're so right! I thought that line was the worst. It was like get a room already! I do wish they would do something different with the series other than blow up the IMF. I wish they would watch a few old MI television series eps. I think they could get some great ideas to jump off from.

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  4. Oh bummer you lost your review. I really like this one, can't wait to see it again. I'm a sucker for spy action movies and there are so many fun sequences I wouldn't mind seeing over and over. And yes, if people want to see the more analytical & slow espionage movies, they can rent those movies based on John Le Carre. I don't mind 'em but for the big screen, I prefer those w/ high-octane action.

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    1. Hi Ruth! thanks. Yes, I was so upset. I'm sure you know how long we work on our posts and then for one to suddenly disappear. It's fine though b/c I think this review is much better (and much more succinct). I really loved reading your review! Thanks for your comment.

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  5. I really liked the first MI movie but have been less impressed by sequels. I'm glad to hear this one worked for you.

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    1. Hi, thanks for your comment! I really didn't care for the 2nd or 3rd sequels, but I really loved 'Ghost Protocol.' Mi5 was pretty good too, but not as good as the first and fourth ones.

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  6. Love the franchise, but agree with your assessment. Women always have to be younger and prettier. Okay, won't go there. :)
    Great review can't wait to see it! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Yolanda! Thank you. Yes, I'm a little tired of women being replaced in this franchise. I hope they can stick with one at least for a while.

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  7. I couldn't agree more with your review. It's a great popcorn film but about as filling. Nowhere near as comes as the show and full of plot holes. An enjoyable film but they could do a lot better. One thing I thought was interesting was that they set her up as the live interest but they never followed through. He never kissed her or made any moves towards her. Hopefully it's because even Cruise realized the age difference is ridiculous. A great review Ms. Mariah and sorry about your blogger issues. We'd have jumped to Weodpress one time ago if they weren't so stingy about modifying the template.

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    1. Hi Maurice! I would have liked to have seen an older love interest. Tom is 53 years old. I think Rebecca is 31. Age differences don't bother me, but after reading that 37 year old Maggie Gyllenhaal was too "old" to play the love interest of a 55 year old...my opinions on age differences in hollywood have changed.

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  8. I've never been crazy about the MI movies, but this one seems to be getting really great reviews, and I'm glad fans are enjoying it. Nice write up!

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    1. Hi Brittani! Thanks. The MI movies can be hit or miss for me as well. I think 'Ghost Protocol' was probably my favorite. They are mostly just popcorn flicks.

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  9. Incredible franchise no doubt, and an intense review you've managed to craft together. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi, thanks for your comment! Yes, I really enjoyed it!

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  10. My sister mentioned that she was looking forward to this one months ago and I was astounded. Of course they'll keep making them if they keep making some money, but did anyone really look forward to them?
    I will see it this weekend and can only judge for myself then, but it does sound like people are finding this one to be envigorated and fun, so why not?

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    1. Hi, you were able to comment! Yay. I'm glad crappy blogger finally worked for you. Yes, these movies are popcorn flicks through and through. They are just feel good summer time fun. I can't take this franchise seriously. Mad Max ruined me.

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  11. Great review. I always see ways that I want to improve my own reviews when I read one of yours.

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    1. Awww, thanks! I feel like my first review was better...I kinda winged it on this one!

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  12. Good review! The action sequences lifted the film above average for me. Very entertaining blockbuster. I'd rate it 8/10. To me, the weakness was Sean Harris as the villain, he lacked distinguishing characteristics and was soon forgotten after the movie was over.
    I agree Ferguson did a good job, she was Ethan Hunt's equal. To me she was feistier than Thandie Newton. At least the next Bond film has an age appropriate love interest in Monica Bellucci!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I do wonder about the Bond movie, because it seems at least from the trailer that the bond movie has Lea S. as Bond's main love interest? I really liked Ferguson in this film. She was great. I wish they would bring her back for some consistency.

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  13. Love the graphic banner you made for each review. I enjoyed this movie a heck of a lot. I had a slight crush on Rebecca Ferguson who's so bad ass here. I could easily watch this again for all that awesome action sequences. I nearly fell asleep watching 'Tinker Tailor', it's the kind of spy films I appreciate but it's not an escapism type flicks like this one.

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    1. Thanks Ruth! I try hard to make my graphics interesting. I've improved over time! I loved Rebecca. She did one heck of a job.

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  14. Lovely review, and so detailed! I love the incorporation of the graphics too.
    Looking forward to this film!

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    1. Oh thank you! I'm a little behind on my other reviews, but I really did enjoy MI5!

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