Published Jul 31, 2015Somewhere along the line, the makers of the long-running, Tom Cruise-starring franchise Mission: Impossible decided to stop creating unintentionally hilarious films and create an actually funny, action-packed one. British actor Simon Pegg's character Benji Dunn may have been added in the third film to help give the series some much needed comic relief, but it's taken until the fifth iteration, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, for it to find the right balance between humour and awe-inspiring action, and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie seems to be the one to thank for that.
This is the fourth film McQuarrie has worked on involving Cruise (the first three being Valkyrie, Jack Reacher and Edge of Tomorrow), and it seems like he really gets a sense of the characters Cruise plays (let's be honest, they're all pretty much the same), because rarely has the aging star seemed so comfortable on screen.
Doing away with the rampant and ridiculous action of the last film (2011's Ghost Protocol), Rogue Nation establishes its most memorable scene (the one involving Cruise, as short but sexy secret agent Ethan Hunt, hanging off the side of a cargo plane as it takes off) almost immediately and uses the rest of the film to put him in situations that more closely resemble the fun and ingenuity of Goldeneye-era 007, rather than the gruesome and grotesque torture porn that started to take hold of the genre over a decade ago.
The result: a surprisingly fun spy thriller, and although you're introduced at the start to a secret terrorist organization called The Syndicate with vague connections to the IMF, etc., ultimately none of it is really that important, because Rogue Nation simply finds Cruise doing what Cruise does best (riding motorcycles, punching people in the face, running, yelling, jumping on things, being very serious and, last but not least, more running).
When stacked up next to its predecessors, Rogue Nation fits neatly into the top-middle of in the Mission: Impossible franchise (behind the first one and that one where Philip Seymour Hoffman showed us how creepy and cold-hearted he could really be). It's not spectacular, but like Hunt himself, it gets the job done. And really, what more do you need from a summer action film?