Y’know, in terms of movies, this summer has been so shit. Every week, there seems to be a new letdown, a new Hollywood debacle. Amidst the piles of summer movie dung, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is a glimmer in that mess. It rises above all the other stenches.
Rogue Nation, the 5th installment in the Mission Impossible franchise, follows our favourite IMF agent, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), as he tracks down a mysterious organization that he believes is tied to many of the recent real-world disasters or wars. However, while on the trail of this rogue group, or Syndicate, Ethan himself has become a bit of a rogue agent (hence a rogue nation! Aha, a-ha! A-hahaha!). With the IMF becoming defunct, thanks to recent reckless actions, he no longer has ties to a recognized organization. Not only does Ethan become a chaser, but he’s also the chased, as the CIA are hot on his trails. Their adventure takes you around the world with thrills and car chases and gun fights. And you get to watch it!
Rogue Nation is a very solid action movie. It’s actually quite perfect as a summer fare; the story is not too complex, the explosions are loud, and Tom Cruise is at times without a shirt (for fans of the aging thespian). It again underscores how we don’t need to be told new stories, but we can accept tried and true stories, just as long as they’re told well. And here, it does it well.
What made it great this time around is that it feels less like the Tom Cruise show when compared to the other entries. It is more about the ensemble. They give way more for the other characters to do, especially Simon Pegg and Rebeccca Ferguson, the aforementioned mysterious Brisih woman/agent/harpy/what-have-you. Even Alec Baldwin, with his limited screen time, stole the show anytime he was onscreen (my favourite line spouted by Baldwin: “Ethan Hunt is the manifestation of destiny”. The ridiculousness of that line caused the theater to break out in laughter!). However, with Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner, although they’re involved with important plot elements, they’re not given as much as everyone else.
This time around, the film was helmed by Christopher McQuarrie who directed probably one of my favourite action movies (OF ALL TIME), the underrated and underappreciated, The Way of the Gun, 15 years ago. He also wrote the Usual Suspects (So there!). With his previous outing in Jack Reacher and now Rogue Nation, he’s proved that he can handle and direct Tom Cruise in both gritty and loud bombastic styles.
If you’re looking for something fun and filled with action, you can do no wrong with Rogue Nation!
- I know it’s a geek’s wishful thinking, but I was really hoping that this movie was going to crossover with the upcoming James Bond film, Spectre. Both Rogue Nation and Spectre have similar ideas, that of a rogue organization that’s the anti-thesis of a government spy agency (IMF or MI6). They even mentioned MI6 in this movie! I was hoping that the Syndicate turned out really to be Spectre, with a walk-in James Bond cameo that would segway into Spectre this coming winter. But is it too out of left field? Having shared universes is all the rage these days thanks to Marvel. Warner Bros is copying with their DCU. In fact, Sony, which holds the rights to Spider-Man even struck a deal with Marvel to allow the webslinger to appear in Marvel produced movies. Could Sony, who also owns the rights to James Bond, not have equally struck a deal with Paramount?
- I watched the movie with the D-Box seat option (i.e. the rumble seats). This is the first time I’ve allowed my body to feel such an experience. I found it more distracting than improving my viewing experience. I mean, it’s not like during the entire movie there’s consistent motion. For example, there could be an 8 minute dialogue scene with no action (and hence, no seat motion) when all of a sudden an explosion hits and your seat gets jolted forward. It feels like some douchebag giving your seat a hard kick behind you. It’s quite a jarring experience at times. While I didn’t enjoy the shaking, the rumbling and the general gyrating actions of my chair, I did I appreciate that it was a big, sturdy and firm seat that I was comfortable in when the action was subdued. However, it is not worth $25!!! I should note that I didn’t pay $25 though. If you’re in Canada and you’re a Scene member, you can redeem the D-Box seats for 1,000 points which on face value is a good deal, as all other (and cheaper) tickets are also worth 1,000 points. However, your points are probably better spent on a select seating show or a 3D show.
- During the opening credits, one couldn’t help but notice that the movie was co-produced by some relatively unknown companies. Alongside the more familiar Bad Robot and Skydance Pictures, the movie was produced by Alibaba Pictures and China Movie Channel (CMC). To a geek whose been watching mainstream corporate schlock for the past 25 years, these 2 companies were unfamiliar and raised a geek’s eyebrow. Upon some research both Alibaba Pictures and CMC (probably more obviously) are Chinese billion dollar corporations. In fact, Alibaba Pictures is owned by the Alibaba website… yes, that Chinese website that sells all sorts of cheap shit! And now they’re funding Mission Impossible. Crazy huh!? It just made it more apparent to me how the film industry is changing in terms of financing. Now that the global market is more considered, even financing is coming from offshores. And nowadays, given that Hollywood isn’t as adventurous with its spending, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw more of this type of arrangement.
That's it for now, later geeks!