DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION (director/writer: Christopher McQuarrie; screenwriter: based on a story by Drew Pearce; cinematographer: Robert Elswit; editor: Eddie Hamilton; music:  Joe Kraemer; cast: Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Jeremy Renner (William Brandt), Simon Pegg (Benji), Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa Faust), Ving Rhames (Luther Stickell), Sean Harris (Solomon Lane), Alec Baldwin (Alan Hunley),  Simon McBurney (Atlee), Tom Hollander (Prime Minister), Zhang Jingchu (Lauren), Jens Hulten (Janik Vinter); Runtime: 131; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: J. J. Abrams/Bryan Burk/David Ellison/Dana Goldberg/Don Granger/Tom Cruise; Paramount Pictures; 2015)

"It's all baloney, but the disposable film fills a summertime need for breezy entertainment."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This is the 53-year-old Tom Cruise's fifth time starring in the popular Mission Impossible franchise series and once again providing the main thrills with his daring physical action performance. IMF was lifted from the CBS series Mission: Impossible (1966-1973). Director-writer Christopher McQuarrie ("Jack Reacher"/"The Way of the Gun") operates with an engrossing spy mystery plot, a formulaic presentation with satisfactory twists, the usual motorcycle chases, deceptions, disguises, outstanding production values and many decent set-pieces. It's based on the story by Drew Pearce.

Early on we learn that the covert IMF, headed by the analyst Brandt (Jeremy Renner), chief field operative Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), techie maven Benji (Simon Pegg) and tracker agent Luther (Ving Rhames), have been shut down by the surly CIA head, Hunley (Alec Baldwin), not convinced the group they are targeting as terrorists actually exist. They are now forced to be under his supervision. Ethan goes rogue, and Brandt and Benji are forced to work for the CIA in tracking down their pal Ethan.

The opening scene, in a Minsk field, has Ethan (doing his own stunt) leap onto the wing of an A400 military transport plane to unload nerve gas missiles being transported by a Chechen separatist terrorist group. It results in Ethan captured in London by a stealth international terrorist group known as The Syndicate, headed by the sinister genius Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). Ethan is severely beaten by the nicknamed Dr. Bones (Jens Hulten) and is slated to be executed when he gets unexpected help from one of his captors, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson, Swedish actress), who may not be working for the Syndicate as first thought, and escapes.

The pic's signature set piece takes place in Morocco. It's up to Ethan to recover a top-secret computer chip in the heavily guarded and secure Taurus underwater chamber, where our man must hold his breath for three minutes. When he runs into difficulty, the plucky Ilsa again saves him, but steals the invaluable chip. When Ilsa is tracked down in London, the IMF team scheme to put an end to the Syndicate, recover the chip and save the life of the threatened English Prime Minister.

It's all baloney, but the disposable film fills a summertime need for breezy entertainment. This commercial spy film will never be thought of as anything more than a time filler, but it came out reasonably well since most such blockbuster action genre films are not even watchable.

REVIEWED ON 7/31/2015       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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