Master spy Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) of the Impossible Mission Force returns for another go as he uncovers evidence of a criminal network working to create chaos all over the world.
Like an anti-IMF, the Syndicate works from the shadows, tearing down rival organizations in order to take control and build influence. It might seem a bit familiar — spy movies with underground networks are all the rage right now — but the dynamite is in the details.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is the best of the series with impactful pacing, tense action sequences, and characters who go against the norm.
After the U. S government puts the IMF out of commission and gives CIA director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) full control, Ethan becomes a wanted man forced to dismantle the Syndicate alone. Fortunately, loyal friend and teammate Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) answers Hunt’s call for help by heading to Vienna under the guise of claiming a prize package.
They’re joined by Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a disavowed MI-6 operative who fails to assassinate the Chancellor of Austria. Faust is a mystery — is she friend or foe — but she’s got a direct line to Syndicate boss Solomon Lane, (Sean Harris).
It’s all about execution, and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation has an incredibly sharp edge. The action sequences are practical, creating a sense of realism along with a heavy dose of tension as Hunt hangs off planes and rides his motorcycle sideways around mountain path corners against traffic.
Pegg gets plenty of time and not just as comic relief — since his introduction, his character Dunn has been the film series’ man behind the scenes. Demanding to be set free from his desk, Dunn proves himself a capable field agent without bogging Rogue Nation into a rote buddy action-comedy movie dragged down by cliches.
Plotlines abound to keep the drama intense as the rest of the IMF cast work various avenues to keep the mission going, fighting off bureaucracy and their own doubts. Adding Faust to the mix adds another intricate plot piece, and I’m grateful she wasn’t simply reduced to being Hunt’s love interest. Rather, she’s an agent capable of holding her own and beating Hunt to the punch.
Rogue Nation might sound like another run-of-the-mill spy movie on paper, but this isn’t your father’s Mission Impossible. The action is explosive, the characters continue to develop, and the surprises bring the series into a modern age that will force the rest of the genre to follow.