Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

2015, PG-13, 131 min. Directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Starring Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris.

REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., July 31, 2015

While the subtitle to this latest entry in the Mission: Impossible series may be better suited to a Keith Urban song or a right-wing talk show, Rogue Nation actually refers to the Syndicate, a shadowy organization hinted at near the end of 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. IMF (that’s Impossible Mission Force, not International Monetary Fund) leader Ethan Hunt (Cruise) believes this organization is behind a number of disparate international incidents set to destabilize global geopolitics, from vanishing airplanes and financial crises to military coups in third-world countries. Back for the assist are field agents Benji Dunn (Pegg), William Brandt (Renner), and series stalwart Luther Stickell (Rhames). Joining them in this go-round is Rebecca Ferguson (The White Queen) as a British intelligence agent with the dubious moniker of Ilsa Faust. Chases ensue. Plots are twisted. Impossibilities become, well, possible.

The pleasures derived from this film franchise are twofold. On the one hand, there is the intrigue of espionage, the parlor game of who exactly is zooming whom, of misdirection and mask-revealing reversals. On the other hand, there are the intricate set-pieces that rely on a series of calculations and circumstances that must unfold just so, high-wire acts that invariably go wrong and cause the audience to gasp as Hunt and his operatives must make split-second decisions to save the day. But beyond that, McQuarrie infuses the story with some existential weariness on the part of Cruise’s character, but not too much (this is an action film after all, not a John Le Carré novel). And while some of those action sequences feel a bit well-worn (Chases with motorcycles! A facility inadvertently designed for stealth infiltration!), there are wonderfully choreographed scenes, notably the in medias res opening mission (that’s Cruise hanging on the side of a plane from the trailer), and a rousingly tense trip to the Vienna Opera House. Ferguson’s Ilsa is a step up from the usual female characters in the franchise, having actual agency and not having to navigate a forced romance with the 53-year-old lead. Overall, Rogue Nation is a solid, mildly subversive entry into the series that will have you humming Lalo Schifrin’s indelible theme music for the rest of the week, but probably not lingering over the finer points of the plot. Accept the mission and pass the popcorn.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Christopher McQuarrie
From the Vaults: Christopher McQuarrie
From the Vaults: Christopher McQuarrie
The 'Jack Reacher' writer and director discusses 'The Way of the Gun'

Marjorie Baumgarten, Dec. 21, 2012

More Christopher McQuarrie Films
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Tom Cruise risks life and limb in one of the best missions yet

Josh Kupecki, July 27, 2018

Jack Reacher
Tom Cruise stars as the title character of Lee Child's novels in this thriller directed by the writer of Valkyrie and The Usual Suspects.

Louis Black, Dec. 28, 2012

More by Josh Kupecki
Some Kind of Heaven
America's retirement heaven shows some splinter in the clouds

Jan. 15, 2021

Herself
Irish Lifetime Movie of the Week-style melodrama is cheering enough

Jan. 1, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Christopher McQuarrie, Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle