Tuesday, 28 July 2015

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Not since DePalma…...

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015)
Dir. Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner,
Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, Simon McBurney, Jens Hultén

Review By Greg Klymkiw

I've got to hand it to producer Tom Cruise with this latest instalment of the Mission Impossible franchise. His savvy overseeing has delivered several key elements which manage to place Ethan Hunt well atop James Bond in the international super-spy sweepstakes.

Most importantly, by handing the directorial reins to Christopher McQuarrie (director of the solidly entertaining Jack Reacher and screenwriter of the superb Valkyrie), Cruise has nailed things down very nicely with this fine decision; Rogue Nation is easily the best-directed MI picture since Brian DePalma's dazzling inaugural entry in the series during the summer of 1996. McQuarrie (save, perhaps for DePalma himself) manages (like those "Ukraine girls" in The Beatles' "Back in the USSR") to knock you out and leave the "West"/rest behind, including John Woo's humourlessly overwrought MI:II, J.J. Abrams' non-directed MI:III and Brad Bird's close, but no cigar Ghost Protocol.

McQuarrie handles virtually every action set piece with the skill and bravura of a master. DePalma is sorely missed in one sequence involving multiple assassination attempts during an opera, not because McQuarrie handles it badly, but because one can only imagine how much better DePalma might have helmed it. Aside from this, though, McQuarrie's mise-en-scene is clean, kinetic and sprinkled with dashes of humour. In fact, Rogue Nation features a two-part car/motorcycle chase which had me twisting about in my seat like one of Lars Von Trier's spastics in The Idiots. I daresay that it might well be a contender for one of the ten best chases ever committed to film.

The plot in these roller coaster extravaganzas usually takes a back-seat to the pyrotechnics, but thankfully this one is simpler and easier to follow than most. Here, Ethan and his team raise the ire of CIA bureaucrat Alec Baldwin and he immediately disbands Ethan's team. Our plucky hero realizes how close he is to nailing a dangerous criminal mastermind, so, with stalwart assistance from regulars Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner, he goes rogue to take the scum down. That's it. End of story, really, and a fine coat hanger with which to drape one mega-thrilling action scene on top of another.

The added bonus here is one kick-ass babe played by Rebecca Ferguson. Aside from being mouth-wateringly gorgeous, she handles herself nicely in all manner of fisticuffs and, like all women, looks especially sexy brandishing firearms.

All the elements here are familiar, but McQuarrie's helmsmanship is seldom less than dazzling. If the Bond producers don't watch out as they keep hiring ham-fisted, tin-eyed losers like Marc Forster and Sam Mendes to keep ruining and wasting Daniel Craig in the horrendously dull and dour 007 films, MI is poised to be the go-to spy franchise.

NOTE: If you get a chance to see MI:RN in IMAX, please do so. I sat front row centre and enjoyed several instances of delightful upchucking.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***½ 3-and-a-half Stars

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is a Paramount Pictures release.