Wednesday, August 19, 2015

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION (2015)

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Written & Directed By: Christopher McQuarrie 
Story By: Christopher McQuarrie & Drew Pearce 
Cinematography By: Robert Elswit 
Editor: Eddie Hamilton 


Cast: Tom Crusie, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hollander, America Olivio

CIA chief Hunley convinces a Senate committee to disband the IMF (Impossible Mission Force), of which Ethan Hunt is a key member. Hunley argues that the IMF is too reckless. Now on his own, Hunt goes after a shadowy and deadly rogue organization called the Syndicate.

I have seen all of the films of the series in theaters both good and bad. The series seems mainly focused on Tom Cruise proving how manly he is and how much of an action star he is. Luckily these scenes are well placed with a interesting thin plot and spectacular action sequences.

As each film usually has a new director and team behind the scenes. It also makes each new film familiar yet seen through a different set of eyes. Which keeps the audience on their toes and allows for what feels like at least. A different experience. he film's producers originally wanted director Brad Bird to return to helm the follow up film. Bird declined the offer in order to do Tomorrowland. Christopher McQuarrie was then brought in by the film's producers under the franchise's leading man Tom Cruise's request for the director's job.

Now while usually the casts for each film similarly change. There are some stand bums that make cameos or stay in supporting roles. Usually it's the cast members we want to see. Ving rhames, Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg who seems to not only be the brains behind these missions as technical expert, but also comedic relief and sidekick to cruise. He gives the film usually the more needed comedic energy to cruise's smooth, tough masculinity. I can see why the cast needs to change. Shake things up. If it was the same team. It would get stale and eventually a death would be needed to add to the cast. It also would require each to have more of a reason and plot line for themselves. As we are getting to know them. Plus might be too easy to come up with a spin off and not bent back Tom cruise. As this franchise is his baby it seems.

The film begins engaging and tries to stay non-stop throughout. It manages to stay exciting and action packed. The storyline is easy enough to follow, yet tries to seems smarter than it is. Enough that only the IMF team seems to understand and no other government seems to see.

It is a sequel that even if you haven’t seen the previous films you can follow and be interested. Though it helps the audience member if they have as you understand certain friendships and partnerships more.

Here the film seems now like a film. Though it seems to be the most espionage type of the series. With rogue agents and plenty of double crosses. I always love how the films sometimes choose to follow certain details and histories or sometimes throw them out the window. Hoping we will forget or not care.

What is a weakness for this film that might have been In the others and I just not noticed. Is that it's music queues sometimes can take you out of a scene of course they work in major action sequences, but then in other scenes as the tension Amps up, or there is a cliffhanger thrill or terror here comes this bombastic orchestra score. That I understand is trying to cement the scene, but takes all the power out of it by underlining it and reminding us this isn't a real moment but a movie.

Not that you can ever get confused of that fact as the film is big and a blockbuster. I don't want to call the film stupid, but it's far from the new James Bond type of films and also not the dark as the Jason Bourne series of films. Those seem a bit more hard edges and serious. The mission impossible films while having stakes and action feel a bit more ridiculous and more like entertainment. There is nothing wrong with that either as all involved seem to know the type of film they are making. So that if it comes off as silly. It is ok, because it also comes off as entertaining and memorable for the most part. Though at least with these films they don't exactly seem to follow the same formula each time out. They are predictable to a degree, but in different methods.

The weakness of the series of films, is that for all that excitement. Rarely is there ever a memorable villain. They all seem like they are stock characters. With of course visions of grandeur. Their final fights might be the only noteworthy elements about them. Here Sean Harris continues in the thankless tradition. The only thing memorable and noteworthy is his rapt voice that sounds more like a strangled whisper.

The film tries to create a rival anti-if called the syndicate that seems like another rival to counterattack the 007 films spectre villainous society. Only in this film the syndicate is not as large or powerful. Nor as much a conspiracy. Taken care of to never return to the series. With nary a second thought.

Again here tom cruise has major flirtation with his female co-star but alas no romance. More of a trust game and angle. Though as always the young lady he spends most of his time with is beautiful and makes her mark in the role. Rebecca Ferguson is an actress to lookout for. She may fare better than usual as the film gives her things to do. Not only that they make her the key to it all and have her in more action sequences rather than being a damsel in distress or only there to either complicate or do hand to hand combat with another dangerous female (i.e. Paula Patton) Supposedly Ms. Patton and Maggie Q were set to reprise their roles from MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3, respectively. Both actresses dropped out of the project due to scheduling conflicts.

Jessica Chastain was the first choice to play the female lead but declined because she did not like the prospect of spending up to six months training for the role. This is the second time after OBLIVION that Chastain turned down a role in a Tom Cruise movie. Rebecca Ferguson is unanimously the second choice as the studio, Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie liked her work on THE WHITE QUEEN.

Now I won't lie. Though I don't love every film he is in. I am a Tom Cruise fan. As I find no matter what film or role. He gives 110% in energy and conviction. That impresses me and also the fact that he has maintained his stardom and box office clout for so long. While doing a variety of projects in different genres. He is one of the last true remaining superstars. He also always seems greatful for any success that he does have. I have no need to talk about his personal life. I will keep the discussion film related. He has always impressed me. Even though at times he has made me question my loyalty. Though I remember he was one of my earliest influences as to what was cool. In the movie RISKY BUSINESS. He even made bar tending look cool in COCKTAIL.

The film has plenty of memorable action set pieces. And as usual begins with an unbelievable stunt show. For tom cruise to amaze and shine in. Usually doing his own stunts. In fact strangely I was more impressed by his escape from captors using his body weight to lift and jump out of his confines. Rather than the opening stunt The film directly jumps in from the previous film, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, which ends with Ethan prepping his team to investigate the Syndicate, the mysterious, antagonistic, organization of this film. with him hanging in the side of a plane as it takes off with no stuntman. While that is amazing itself. It was also previewed and shown in the trailers and commercials. Taking away it's awe factor where as the other stunt comes out of nowhere.

Tom Cruise has stated that the blue suit worn during the opening plane sequence is a direct homage to the plane sequence in North by Northwest, where Cary Grant's character wears a similarly colored suit.

Also The opera scene in which the Syndicate makes an attempt on the Austrian statesman's life pays tribute to the opera scene in the Hitchcock film 'The Man Who Knew Too Much', in which an attempt on a statesman's life is also planned to be disguised by the climactic note of the song.

Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg performed all their own driving stunts. The stunt coordinator told Simon Pegg that Cruise was going to do all the driving because he didn't have any driver better than him.

This film doesn't disappoint and fits into the cannon of the series. So you know what you see going to get. It has the same central plot line of the IMF. Almost or actually being shit down. This entry feels more solid and smooth not as overstuffed and haphazard as some of the others.

Definitely best seen on the big screen. Like a rollercoaster with this film get ready for a good time and a fun ride.


GRADE: B

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