Even though it’s the fifth movie, Rogue Nation is the first in the Mission Impossible series to truly feel like a straight sequel to the previous movie. And it’s a pretty good one.
Ghost Protocol is a roller coaster, and it’s really good at being that. While it does have a new director the sense of style is still pretty close to Ghost Protocol’s; though the director has changed Rober Elswit returns for the cinematography. Christopher McQuarrie has taken the director’s chair this time, having previously written Edge of Tomorrow and been writer/director on Jack Reacher. Edge of Tomorrow is a great fucking movie, while Jack Reacher was better than I expected it to be, but I enjoyed both movies. I’m not sure Rogue Nation is a great movie, but it is definitely really good.
This is grade A summer blockbuster action, with really great set piece sequences that come one after another. It has a great car chase where the whir of the engine and the screech of tire is all the soundtrack you need, It has a great motorcycle chase where the camera gets down in close so you can really feel the speed. It has a great heist sequence where Cruise has to hold his breath for over 3 minutes that does play out in real time and holds the tension the whole time and then some. It’s got a “stop the sniper” scene where there are not 1, not 2, but 3 snipers all setting up on the same target. It’s got a great knife fight.
Simon Pegg, Ving Rames, and Jeremy Renner return and are all on point. Rebecca Ferguson plays a British spy that puts Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, just because she’s given so much more to do. Sean Harris plays the second best villain these movies have had, (Philip Seymour Hoffman in III being the best) as kind of the anti-Ethan Hunt. And Alec Baldwin is on hand to play their asshole boss.
Mission Impossible as a movie franchise had always kinda felt like it needed to redefine the wheel with each new movie before now. The original is a fucking great Brian De Palma film that elevates material from a pretty lame, over bugeted TV show. The second is a dumb John Woo movie. The third is a really good repurposed episode of Alias. And the fourth is a visual spectacle roller coaster. The fifth is just that again, but it’s different enough, with a better villain, and good and fun, so that’s fine. It never reaches the visual highs of Ghost Protocol, and it’s a little over edited for my tastes, but these are nitpicks. In a lot of ways it’s the most like James Bond these movies have gotten, although it’s kinda got more National Treasure 2 in it than Bond. Look, they talk a lot about kidnapping the president, ok?
This is summer blockbuster summer action done right. One of those movies that reminds you why summer blockbuster action movies are worth seeing.