I’ll be honest. I’m biding my time until we get Tom Cruise back with a buzz cut and in Aviator shades. I’m waiting for a second big dollop of Maverick. In the meantime, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation will have to do.
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is back with his IMF chums to try to uncover the roots of the Syndicate. In coming forward for a mission he thinks is legitimate, Hunt is captured by the Syndicate and encounters undercover agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). As Faust helps Hunt escape, the IMF is shut down and Hunt labelled a renegade operative, leaving those loyal to the IMF to help seek out those Syndicate bad guys.
This is not the best in the Mission Impossible franchise, in fact there is a lot that seems an imitation of better action movies that have gone before and aspects to the style of the film that make it seem outdated. For example, there is a long sequence in the Vienna Opera House featuring Puccini’s Turandot, which is reminiscent of, but not as good as, the sequence in Quantum of Solace, which has another Austrian Opera House in Bregenz, featuring Puccini’s Tosca. Did no-one think they had sort of seen an action movie with a Puccini opera before? I’m also not crazy about the way Rebecca Ferguson is objectified in this movie, something Bond has moved away from in recent times and Bourne wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.
Whilst Cruise is good as usual and tackles all the stunts with the aplomb we are accustomed to, the particular sticking point for me in this film is the wedging in of awkward humour. Where the Bond series had no choice post-Bourne but to abandoned the buffoonery and overdone comedy elements, Mission Impossible seems to have embraced it. It is quite old fashioned and an odd addition to a modern action movie that just does not work for me.
The fall guy for the humour elements is of course Simon Pegg, whose character Benji Dunn is the nerdy, shouty, techy field agent of the IMF. For me the inclusion of Simon Pegg in this movie is like being forced to sit next to a small child in the cinema who periodically pokes you in the side. Poke. Poke poke poke. It’s unnecessary and very annoying.
And why, why must the film have a “comedy” element like Benji? Jeremy Renner is also in this film and he can do funny. Tom Cruise can do funny for goodness sakes. Why do we need a fool in the mix? I can hardly blame Simon Pegg for everything, although Benji is generally like his portrayal of a mildly less Scottish Mr Scott, the weak link of the Star Trek movies. He’s directed to act like a fool, dressed in hideous shirts and bright blue shoes and asked to shout like a lunatic. It’s no wonder Pegg looks absolutely exhausted through a lot of this film. It would have been less tiring for him to be dressed in a jester’s hat and given him inflated pig’s bladder.
Whilst this particular movie is a bit disappointing, I do think the Mission Impossible franchise is still a serious contender in the action movie cannon. If there is going to be a sixth film in the series, it’s definitely going to have to make some changes to keep up with the big boys.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation continues to be screened in cinemas.