Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Simon McBurney, Jens Hulten
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
There’s this delectable scene early on in “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation,” where Tom Cruise (as Ethan Hunt) indulges in jazz banter in a sleek record store, showing off the connoisseur inside that hunky frame. One of these days, I’d like to see writer- director Mr McQuarrie (who has worked with the actor in three films) tap Tom’s knowledge of the theological as finely as he exploits his derring-do. For Tom, who performs all of his own stunts (from hanging on to an aircraft door and staying suspended underwater to manic rides on BMW vehicles) had ditched the Catholic priesthood (he was studying in a Franciscan seminary) for acting. Ah me. The Vatican’s loss was Hollywood’s gain.
After the opening shenanigans which include spectacular chases and cold-blooded killings, Hunt learns from a self-destructing vinyl record and other very reliable sources,that he is wanted dead or alive by the CIA’s new chief beef, Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) who convinces the US Senate that the Syndicate, a shadowy global terrorist organisation is a figment of Hunt’s imagination and the sooner that Hunt’s Impossible Missions Force (IMF) is disbanded, the better. On his own and on the run, Hunt is saved, fortuitously, not once, but twice by a lady, sultry MI 6 agent llsa (Rebecca Ferguson, fabulous) Faust, who may or may not have inked a Faustian pact with the satanic Syndicate headed by Solomon (Sean Harris, suitably sinister) Lane. Later, in a scene set in Morocco, she emerges from a pool in a bikini, echoing Bond girls Ursula Andress in Dr. No and Halle Berry in Die Another Day. “Come away with me”, she tells Hunt in yet another scene,as one of three alternatives to death by the Syndicate. We know of course, he won’t. (Remember his fiancee/wife Julia played by Michelle Monaghan from earlier instalments?) Anyway, the elusive Ilsa is traced by Hunt’s computer-whiz colleague Luther (Ving Rhames) Stickell, a late but most welcome addition to ex IMFers Benji (Simon Pegg,droll) Dunn and William (Jeremy Renner) Brandt who are roped in to bring Ethan back (lest we forget, alive or dead) by Hunley who goes on to surprise us yet,unlike his MI6 confreres or other nasties given to mouthing cynical platitudes like “there are no allies in statecraft, only common interests”.
As the avid movie viewer will see, this part of the plot is similar to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. With high stakes. An assassination on the life of the Austrian Archduke is attempted at the Vienna State Opera during a performance of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot. In MI Ghost Protocol, TC lobbed down Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, now he dangles from the backstage of the grand opera house even as two assassins stalk their hapless prey. The 1914 assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand had sparked the First World War. This time around, the classic aria “Nessun dorma” slips into Lalo Schifrin’s signature MI score as Ethan and company and their Bond-type gadgets and above all, bravery, courage, loyalty and friendship achieve the impossible. That is, save the world. In sum then, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation is an adrenaline charged spy drama that viewers will find fun and thrilling to watch.