I’ve had this theory for a while about television. If you look at some of the best television series right now, they’re surviving by becoming essentially like movies. Yes, they are episodic but there isn’t a reliance on needing to cover 22 unique episodes that will play really well in syndication. Think Breaking Bad or Daredevil. You can easily point to any of those shows and they have great episodes, but the narrative story is set up more like a movie, one that makes sense as they feed into each other to tell an overarching story. (One could argue that Deep Space Nine did this years ago.)
Conversely, movies are becoming more like television. Some of them are, anyway. Getting Chris Evans or Robert Downy Jr, to show up on your television show may not always work, tell Chris, “Hey, do your own movie, then show up as a supporting player in this one for a bit” thus sort of providing different episodes of an overall Avengers franchise.
Then one could argue that Mission Impossible has been doing this for years. Each sequel is almost a new movie unto itself, only carrying a few of the characters into brand new situations and a brand new feeling. (Even the whole plot of Ethan being married was only briefly mentioned when it had to be, and then it was quickly removed.)
This incarnation of Mission Impossible (Rogue Nation, since the numbers were dropped around the time they realized that brought in more money) once again stars Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt who is once again on the run when once again the Impossible Mission Force is once again compromised and once again shut down. Apparently there’s some evil organization who does what they do but for evil, and the British Government is involved. There’s a lot of moving parts. You don’t really care about this, what you care about are the explosions as mixed with the stunts, which is awesome.
Oh, and there’s a subplot where Alec Baldwin (CIA Director Hunley) and IMF Agent Brandt (Jeremy Renner) are off on the side doing office stuff, because when you have one of the world’s most up and coming action stars, you want to stick him in a suit and have him sit in an office while Tom Cruise Runs around. Ving Rhames is back as tech dude Luther, and Simon Pegg is showing off his serious acting jobs after his rant against frivolous movies in the returning role as Benji. Rebecca Ferguson joins the cast as Ilsa Faust, who’s loyalties keep you guessing until the end.
Look, no one is going to be clutching an Oscar, thanking the entire cast and crew for their work on Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. The movie does what it’s supposed to do: it’s pretty entertaining. The movie starts with the well shown stunt of Ethan Hunt hanging onto the side of an airplane as it takes off. There’s cool car chases, great one liners, and a scene where they have to switch computer files in a tank of water that literally had me holding my breath.
To me, this is one of the reminders of why I enjoy summer movies so much. It’s just a fun movie, one that’s not too concerned about itself, one that doesn’t spend a lot of time brooding, weighing consequences, or taking subtle digs at other movie franchises. (I’m looking at you, Avengers. It’s real easy to save everyone when you’ve got like, 12 people that can fly.)
It’s just a fun movie. That’s the best thing that can be said about it. It really doesn’t need further praise than that.
Nine out of Ten