Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

By the time a franchise gets to the fifth in the series, the challenge is always how to deliver something fresh and innovate within the constraints of a tightly defined style. The fact that the sixth film in the franchise is already in development indicates that M:I-RN was successful - at least to the satisfaction of the box office.

The difference with this one is that it starts with possibly its biggest stunt and what follows never quite takes you any higher. At 131 minutes it is a long film which probably has one too many locations in it as it struggles towards its conclusion. It is packed full of product placement too - I expected to see a disclaimer in the end credits "No BMW was harmed in the production of this motion picture"! Well - that's got all the negatives out of the way. What did it actually deliver?

M:I-RN certainly likes to globe-trot and presents Vienna, Casablanca and London, among others, with great artistic flair. Director Christopher McQuarrie frames each shot from angles that enhance the unravelling of the story. The action scenes - and there are lots of them - are delivered with amazing clarity and very creative camera work. Visually the film is stunning. The soundtrack is good too.

I won't spoil the plot for you. There is one - and it has a strong storyline that requires a high degree of brain power to keep up with. The goodies have to second and third guess the second and third guessing of the baddies and sometimes I found it hard to keep up! The conundrum always is, do you do something because that is what is being anticipated or do you not do it because the asking of the question is what has been anticipated!! The baddie is always several steps ahead and remains elusively out of reach as Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) work together and against each other to try and win the game of double and triple guessing.

There is much humour - usually provided by the character of Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Alec Baldwin delivers a strong performance as the Director of the CIA. It is good to see Tom Hollander playing the Prime Minister with Simon McBurney playing his Head of MI6 Atlee. (Rev and the Archdeacon ride again! If you're unfamiliar with Rev click here.)

Rebecca Ferguson gives a very strong performance that will without doubt lead to greater things - but her accent kept slipping into some kind of generic eurospeak which is perhaps a product of living in Sweden for half her life. However, she was magnificent in the action scenes and managed to smoulder throughout the film without generating so much as a puff of smoke.

There is, predictably a lot of violence in this film - some of it a bit too graphic for my liking. I must be getting soft in my old age as it carries a 12A Certification in the UK for "moderate violence". The car and bike chases are exciting and the gadgetry that always seems to be readily available innovative and clever. This film is a worthy contributor to the franchise and the intellectual stretching offered by the plot very welcome. Because of its length, I'll only give it 7/10.

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