Seems impossible, but rogue nation best one yet

By Movie Man | Published Wednesday, August 5, 2015

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Say what you want about Tom Cruise – his private life might not be too impressive, but his film career sure is.

Cruise is a movie star.


Every “Mission: Impossible” movie has been mostly good, a claim that almost no series can make.

This is the fifth one, and here’s how the Movie Man has rated them.

The first movie came out in 1996, directed by crazy maverick Brian De Palma. It was good (Movie Man No. 129, 7), if kinda muddled. It made a whopping $181 million in America, which means sequel city.

In 2000, “Mission: Impossible II,” directed by action specialist John Woo, did even better at the box office with $215.4 million. The Movie Man was more enamored with the first one, but “M:I II” (MM No. 342, 6) had its moments.

It took six years for “Mission: Impossible III” to arrive, and despite being directed by fanboy favorite J.J. Abrams, it looked like the series might’ve been played out. “M:I III” (2006, MM No. 664, 5) made just $133.4 million in America.

So when another “M:I” was announced, hopes weren’t that high. But in 2011, “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (MM No. 963, 8) was terrific. With another talented director helming the action, Brad Bird, it raked in the cash – $209.4 million – and that meant another “M:I” was a certainty.

And once again, here’s another good film in the series – the best one yet. That means look for Cruise and his co-stars to return in 2020 or so.


Ethan Hawk (Cruise) finds himself on the run. The Impossible Mission Force has had recent worldwide disasters pinned on it, including the bombing of the Kremlin. Cruise believes the group behind the events and the one blaming the IMF is a shadowy group called The Syndicate.

After narrowly escaping a potentially deadly interrogation thanks to Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), Cruise begins trying to find the man who heads The Syndicate, Lane (Sean Harris). But Harris is always a step ahead, and even with Ferguson – who may or may not be a double agent – popping up, Harris can’t be grabbed.

Back in the U.S., Brandt (Jeremy Renner) is having a tough time keeping CIA director Hunley (Alec Baldwin) from shutting the IMF down. Eventually, that’s exactly what happens.

So Cruise reassembles his team of computer whiz Luther (Ving Rhames) and dedicated Benji (Simon Pegg), along with Renner and the iffy Ferguson to pull off an elaborate scheme that ends with someone having to shoot the British prime minister.

Of course, it all works out.


Cruise is cool. He’s famous for doing most of his own stunts and his hanging onto a plane taking off is undeniably impressive. But he’s potent in other scenes, too.

Pegg is super, Baldwin chews up the screen as he should and the Movie Man loves Renner, who was so spectacular in “American Hustle” (2013, MM No. 1070, 7).

Especially great is Ferguson. She has had no major movie roles. She had a part in Dwayne Johnson’s “Hercules” (MM No. 1098, 6) last year, but she easily holds her own with Cruise, which is quite a feat.

Directed by writer Christopher McQuarrie, “Rogue Nation” flies along. The movie benefits hugely from exceptional sound. It really stands out, and so does the literal look of the film. The Movie Man saw it on an oversized screen, and it really looked like a movie.


At an opera in Vienna, it looks like Ferguson is going to shoot an archbishop. Armed, she’s high in the rafters backstage, as is Cruise and a couple of other assassins. Soon, the dignitary has a pair of red dots on his jacket.

Cruise has a weapon and trains his sight back and forth on the two remaining killers who are about to shoot, a creepy bad guy and Ferguson, who recently saved Cruise’s life.

He solves his dilemma by wounding the archbishop himself. The kicker is that, afterward, Ferguson said that’s exactly what she was going to do. It’s a great scene.


As usual with action movies, no good guy ever gets hit by a bullet despite being shot at close range a zillion times.

Cruise will go through a crazy fistfight then appear unscathed five minutes later.

In one – admittedly cool – underwater scene, Cruise holds his breath for a ridiculously long time despite constant gyrations and lengthy submerged acrobatics. We know he’s a superhuman, but, really?


The PG-13 is mild, mainly for action. There isn’t even a cuss word until late in the movie.


Without question, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” is the best movie of the year so far.


“Fantastic Four”

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