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Review: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

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Tom Cruise stars in Paramount Pictures' "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation"

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is not only the fifth film in the Mission: Impossible film franchise, it’s also being released nearly two decades after the first one. I don’t think anyone would have figured that this series would be going on as long as it has, but here we are with Tom Cruise leading his band of super spies into high tech battles of espionage with the zest for life that allows him to keep pushing these things out for anyone who wants to watch them.

In this fifth installment of this series, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the rest of the IMF are faced with being disbanded (again) while also chasing down a mythical organization known as The Syndicate. No one believes that this group exist, but Hunt has to do his best to prove them wrong as he knows that they are doing everything in their power to create a new world order through a series of terrorist attacks. In continuously learning about the threat, they find out that come to understand that this may actually be their most impossible mission to date.

Although Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation kicks off with action before the opening credits start up, it turns out to be slower than expected. I was hoping for something with a ton of speed and excitement, but it doesn’t ever truly come close to finding that kind of pace consistently. When it does execute that kind of pacing, it’s pretty good, but there are just too many points where it slows down and does next to nothing. These slow parts are sometimes being used to build a story, but it doesn’t work when looking at the movie as a whole.

When taking a closer look, I guess you can also say that it’s longer than it needs to be. This attempt at building some kind of story just takes up time. I would go to great lengths to describe how much I hate this stuff in modern day film, but it happens so much that I expect it to happen all the time now as it’s a part of just about all of the so-called blockbusters these days. There appears to be an unwritten rule that states if it cost a bunch of money to make, it has to be at least a little over two hours.

In connection to my complaints about the foolish attempt to develop a story in Rogue Nation, I have to take a look at the action. This portion of the movie makes it all that they’re working for seem meaningless as we’re watching something that’s close to a cartoonish arcade game. As a matter of fact, Ethan Hunt and his team might as well have been on “god mode.” I swear it’s like these guys were using cheat codes that the villains weren’t allowed to use. I don’t know how you can be considered such huge threat to the world, but you have no shot at beating the protagonist. The antagonists never present any kind of threat through the entire movie.

It would have been nice to see villains who actually appear to be menacing in some way. These guys in Rogue Nation are as harmless as a gang of caged poodles. Yeah, they have guns and knives and everything, but they clearly have no idea how to use them even though they’re supposed to be highly trained. As a matter of fact, these baddies are up for the worst group of international terrorists in cinematic history.

This may not happen, but I would like to see a movie like this where the bad guys can actually shoot. I know these types of action flicks aren’t grounded in reality, but giving the villains better aim would seem to make things that much more captivating in these extremely fictionalized worlds. Doing that would make things more intriguing while justifying the effort to add some kind of well developed story.

It would have also been nice if the crew behind Rogue Nation actually offered up a bit more than a handful of forgetful antagonist for Ethan Hunt and his crew to chop through. Having an opportunity and a reason to actually dislike these guys on a personal level would have assisted in making this entire affair better. Instead, they’re just here because the movie needs villains. They don’t do much, and they’re all bland and empty.

With all of that said, there are some fun bits throughout Rogue Nation. The opening is nice, and there are a couple of other action sequences that are done really, really well. Because of scenes like this, I can’t hate this movie. Rogue Nation clearly falls short of Ghost Protocol, but there is some fun to be had if you can accept the lack of depth that we’re asked to watch. It definitely could have been improved in the areas that I spoke about, but it’s decent in terms of mindless entertainment.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Tom Cruise
Jeremy Renner
Simon Pegg
Rebecca Ferguson
Ving Rhames
Sean Harris
Alec Baldwin

Film Length: 130 minutes

Release Date: July 31, 2015

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

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