Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation review: Thrills, chills, wicked heroine and Tom Cruise in control

Gayatri Gauri

Aug 10, 2015 07:22:23 IST

Tom Stuntman Forever-Youngman Cruise is 53 years old and he’s still chasing the ‘impossible’. In the opening sequence of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, he runs on to an airplane wing and hangs by its side with death-defying arrogance, at an altitude of a few thousand feet. For real. No CGI. No stunt double. As Alec Baldwin exasperatedly says at one point in Rogue Nation, “Hunt is the living manifestation of destiny”.

Later, since the sky is clearly not enough, Cruise also dives deep into a frightening waterhole, fighting against “airtight” security. He has for company the drop dead gorgeous Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) for company. At one point, flashing seductive eyes, she says to him, “Come away with me”. So tempting, but there are a few comrades to die for in Cruise’s to-do list as Ethan Hunt.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation review: Thrills, chills, wicked heroine and Tom Cruise in control

Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation. Image from Facebook.

So that’s the friendship-with-romance angle in the fifth instalment of the Mission Impossible franchise. Whatever happened to Cruise’s wife from the previous series? No one cares. As long as middle-aged Cruise retains his hurricane mojo, it’s all good. As for the camaraderie between the IMF boys, high school friendships are far more convincing than what we see here.

Whenever Cruise (because let’s face it: Ethan Hunt only matters because he’s Cruise) tries to dissuade Benji (Simon Pegg) from joining him, Benji protests in an over-the-top fashion so that we never forget he’s there for comic relief. Sometimes it works . Like when he squeals, ”Join the IMF, see the world. On a screen. From a closet.”

For those looking for Cruise’s regular stunts, sit back, relax and get ready to hold your breath. This film is sheer oxygen for the action junkie. There are four, anxiety-ridden, palpitation-inducing sequences, complete with a hypnotic musical score to match. More than enough for the Mission series fan to leave the theatres, wearing a grin as wide as Cruise’s.

Director and co-writer Christopher McQuarrie, who wrote the memorable The Usual Suspects and The Edge of Tomorrow, doesn’t disappoint. He creates a sinister villain who can give you the chills just with a stroke of his hand across Ilsa’s cheek. Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) is a mild looking man, who stares like a ghost through his glasses, and runs The Syndicate.

Cruise/Hunt is out to expose The Syndicate and prove a point to the CIA director, who has dissolved the IMF force, which had been led by William Brandt (Jeremy Renner). This means Cruise/ Hunt has two opponents—the CIA and Lane’s Syndicate. Somewhere during chases across Paris, Vienna, Morocco and London, Ilsa and her slimy boss, Atlee (Simon McBurney) get involved. How? It’s complicated. Suffice to say there’s more to Ilsa that meets the eye, and what meets the eye is pleasing at every level.

Whether Isla is climbing a stairway while flashing a thigh-high slit of her evening gown, or emerging out of a pool in a bikini a la Bond girls, or breaking necks with smooth dexterity, or out-riding a gang of leather-clad bikers, Fergusson is magnificent.

She also gives ample opportunity for Cruise to show off his skills. It’s all spectacular enough for you to abandon logic entirely. So, as Cruise vrooms after Ilsa and smoothly negotiates hairpin bends at breakneck speed, one dismisses how he'd just been inside a car that somersaulted and toppled over a few times. Oh, and seconds before that, he was almost given up as dead. And much before that, our stunt ace was performing like a circus artiste across ropes and planks in the backstage of a theatre, while the Vienna State Opera played below him.

McQuarrie and his cinematographer manoeuvre the camera and choreograph fight scenes beautifully, particularly in the scene with the theatre. They match the increasing tempo of the fight to the accompanying music. If there has to be a reason to watch this film, it is this sequence. Those familiar with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much may feel nostalgic.

McQuarrie's Rogue Nation takes care of all the expected elements, including the stunts, spy gadgets and the one masterstroke from Cruise that will save the day. In keeping with the series' bombastic pace, there's little reason to complain. As for Cruise ageing — now that's the real mission impossible.

Updated Date: Aug 10, 2015 07:27:34 IST