Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation SPOILER-FREE Review

Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation was one of my most anticipated movies of 2015. I believe it was either number 7 or 8 on my top ten list. And what was not to be excited for? I had loved Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol (you can read my "In Preparation For" review of it here). The trailers had been incredible. I went into this film ready for an awesome movie. And after reading the raving reviews, and how it was better than Ghost Protocol and the best movie of the summer, I was expecting to be blown away by this movie. Did it deliver? Yes, but not entirely. It fell a bit short of my expectations. But when your expectations are through the roof, that's a hard task to complete. Rogue Nation is a great, fun action movie. But it, at least in my opinion, doesn't beat Ghost Protocol.

Rogue Nation focuses on Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), who has been hunting the mysterious "anti-IMF" group known as the Syndicate, trying to prove their part in a series of attacks and bombings all over the world. The IMF, mainly Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin), doesn't believe the Syndicate is real, and is trying to capture Ethan. Ethan's team is no longer in contact with him. Benji (Simon Pegg), Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Luther (Ving Rhames) are all caught up in their own lives. Until Ethan needs their help to track down the leader of the Syndicate, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). But while hunting Lane, Ethan crosses paths with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) many times, and has a hard time deciding whether she is on his side, or working for the Syndicate.

What Rogue Nation succeeds at is being an awesome action movie. This film has probably the best action in any movie I've seen this year. I have always said that great action is based on environment, and this film uses its environment well to deliver on the action (motorcycle chases, operas, etc.). It has interesting places for fights, and incorporates the props and items unique to those places into the fight. The choreography of the action is also great. No shaky-cam is used during these scenes. You get to see clearly what is happening. I did find the editing to be a bit too fast, so it was hard to digest some of the action going on at times. But ultimately, it was really enjoyable, and I walked away thinking it was the best part of this movie. 

The cast also shines in their roles. Tom Cruise is only getting better as Ethan Hunt, and you would believe he was 23 running around instead of 53. This movie shows how much of an action star Cruise really is, and how this is a great franchise for him. Simon Pegg also shines as Benji. He wasn't as funny in this film as he was in Ghost Protocol, but had a lot more to do in the movie. Instead of just being the voice in the microphone, he was actually in the field, completing missions. This was a good path for the character, because we see him evolve into being a true asset to the team. Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner were also good in their roles, but I'll talk more about them later. I think the true stand-out was Rebecca Ferguson. She hasn't done a lot in film yet, but I think everyone will be knocking on her door after this movie. She was smart, sexy and a complete badass. You also had no idea which side she was on, and just when you were convinced about her one way, she did something to completely change that. And it was convincing too. I didn't know surely what side she was on until into the third act of the film.

However, the car turned motor cycle chase was my favorite part of the movie. I loved how the showed POV shots from the bikes. It really got me into the chase. It was orchestrated really well, with them shooting at each other weaving in and out of traffic. It was a thrilling scene, and stood out as the highlight of the film. There were also some great individual fights, one-on-one. Like I said before, the action was the best part of this movie. 

While I really liked this movie, I did have problems with it. One of which was the plane scene. It has been the "money shot" in all the trailers, and the marketing has been selling this as "Oh, you need to see this movie because Tom Cruise really did this stunt." So I was really excited to see that scene. It was wasted in the movie. It was in the first four minutes of the film, and there was really nothing new to the scene from what we had already seen in the trailers. It was incredible that Cruise actually did it in real life, but it was a throwaway scene in the movie. That was really disappointing, because that scene was one of the things I was really looking forward to seeing in the film.

What I loved so much about Ghost Protocol was the missions, and specifically how they would show the missions in the film. With each mission, we would see the team plan out how they would complete it. Something would go wrong and they would have to go through with the plan with something wrong. And you would be on the edge of your seat because you know how it's supposed to go, and that it is going wrong. The fun was seeing how screwed up things would get as the team tried to improvise with their tech breaking and the plan failing. We didn't really get that with this movie. The only scene that truly did it was the underwater scene. I won't spoil how the film gets to that point, but we see them plan out how they are going to complete the mission. We know the plan. They attempt to complete it, something goes wrong, and we are on the edge of our seat seeing how it will be resolved. With everything else, we either didn't know the plan, or there is no a plan. Because of that, I didn't feel the same thrill that I did in Ghost Protocol. The film went away from the missions and focused more on action and running around. For a movie called "Mission: Impossible", that's kind of a bad thing to do.

I also thought that Renner and Rhames weren't utilized well in the film. They had very small roles in the beginning, and then were brought in for the second half of the movie, but ultimately didn't do much. They didn't fight anyone. They kind of just stood around, helping explain exposition. It was upsetting, because Renner is a proven action star, and he didn't really fight anyone in this movie. I really liked that they brought Rhames back for this movie, but he didn't do anything. They should have had more to do in the film. And because Cruise is on his own for the beginning of the movie, and Renner and Rhames don't do much, the "team" element of Ghost Protocol wasn't there for this movie. Because it was just Cruise. Or Cruise and Pegg. There wasn't a clear team working together in this movie. It felt like a movie about just Ethan Hunt rather than Ethan and his team. 

The film also could have been shortened a bit. I kind of dragged between the second and third acts, and could have had about ten minutes shaved off of it. I also thought that the villain wasn't that great. Similar to the villain in Ghost Protocol, he was the threat in the background. He did have some creepy moments, but I didn't understand his motivation and just didn't really buy into him. He was an improvement on Ghost Protocol's villain, but still not a good villain. 

Overall, I really liked this movie. It was an enjoyable, action film that had some crazy stunts and memorable action scenes. While I didn't think it was as good as its predecessor, it is still a great entry into the Mission: Impossible franchise. The movie lacked with capturing the team feel of the original, and also abandoned missions in favor of pure action. The film dragged at parts, and the villain was weak. But these were issues that didn't majorly subtract from my enjoyment of the film. I would say it is my second favorite summer film, behind Jurassic World.


What do you think? Did you see Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation? Did you like it? Leave your (spoiler-free) review in the comments below. 

Written by: Nate 
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