‘Rogue Nation’: 5 Reasons It’s the Best ‘Mission: Impossible’

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Just when Tom Cruise had been written off as an action star, he makes a triumphant comeback — at age 53 — with “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.” The summer’s most entertaining popcorn movie not only eclipses “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Jurassic World” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” with its action sequences, it also brings to mind Cruise’s prime days (“Top Gun,” “Jerry Maguire,” etc.) on the Hollywood A-list.

Here are five reasons “Mission: Impossible 5” is the strongest film in Paramount’s 19-year-old spy franchise.

(1)It’s sleeker than any James Bond movie you can remember.
The first “Mission: Impossible,” which opened nearly two decades ago in 1996, was a standard bigscreen reboot of a TV show. But the franchise received a jolt in 2006 with J.J. Abrams’ “Mission Impossible 3,” which interwove the heart-pumping twists of “Alias” (season one) into a theatrical recipe that could give Daniel Craig as 007 a run for his money.

This new “Mission: Impossible,” directed by Christopher McQuarrie under Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, ups the stakes at every level. Cruise not only dangles from an airplane in the opening sequence, he withstands multiple beatings from a villain known as the Bone Doctor (Jens Huten), goes for a terrifying dip in an underground water chamber, stops an assassination attempt at the Vienna opera, leads a car chase in Casablanca and commands a motorcycle ride through the winding roads of Morocco. If the Oscars gave a trophy for stunts, “M:I 5” would win it.

(2) The script lands on both feet.
Whereas story has never been a strong point of the “Mission: Impossible” movies, this isn’t a spy adventure that require CliffsNotes to follow along. In this installment, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is battling a secret agency known as the Syndicate, run by Solomon Lane (Sean Harris, enjoying every moment of playing the villain). Hunt is aided again, of course, by his crew at IMF, which includes Simon Pegg (the perfect comedic foil), Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames. McQuarrie, who also wrote the script, wisely keeps the narrative focused on the battle between good and evil, not letting any extraneous plot twists trip up his action.

(3) Cruise gets his sexy back.
Ever since he jumped on Oprah’s couch in 2005, Cruise has struggled to maintain his heartthrob persona. Thankfully, “Mission Impossible 5” finds him a leading lady — Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson (of TV’s “The White Queen”) — who manages to re-awaken Cruise’s sex appeal. The two have the best chemistry for a Cruise movie since he romanced Renee Zellweger in “Jerry Maguire.” For all the praise for last summer’s “The Edge of Tomorrow,” one of the central flaws of the film was the lack any romantic spark between Cruise and Emily Blunt. Even though Ferguson is only 31, the age difference between her and Cruise isn”t noticeable or distracting, because she comes across as his equal.

(4) The leading lady carries half the movie.
Ferguson doesn’t just elevate Cruise, she also carries half the film, playing a spy who may or may not be on his side. She keeps up with every punch he throws or weapon he fires. Like Rosamund Pike in “Jack Reacher,” “Mission: Impossible 5” will be remembered as a breakout vehicle for its heroine. In another summer of action tentpoles that treat female characters as afterthoughts (see: “Avengers” or “Ant Man”), “M:I 5” gives us a female lead who shares equal screen time.

(5) “M:I 5” is a throwback to how summer tentpoles should be.
Most action movies now are so serious, a byproduct of the Marvel universe, where superheroes sulk in their own darkness. And when “Jurassic World” tried to be a fun, it just came across as silly with its high-heel-wearing heroine played by Bryce Dallas Howard. But “Mission: Impossible 5” finds the right tone for a summer blockbuster. Its 131 minutes of escapist entertainment prove that not all sequels must be pale imitations of what comes before. This is the rare Hollywood franchise that only gets better with age.

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  1. Eli says:

    I am not a huge fan of Cruise or MI, but this movie ROCKED. An articulate, wordsmith script, a tone of humor and camaraderie in the league of the Oceans 11,12..films, and jaw !dropping !stunts.I had to replay some scenes because they were SO stunning. I am a fan! I immediately wanted to know who the director and script writer and Isla were, and wanted the name of Cruises fitness coach. Impressive body for a man in his fifties! :-)

  2. Louis says:

    It is better than MI: Ghost Protocol…

  3. michael. brooks says:

    Best movie ive seen all year

  4. David says:

    Why would an honest reviewer who had seen all the Mission Impossible movies claim that this by-the-numbers, pedestrian story is the “best ever” in the series?

  5. kenxepe says:

    After watching this movie, my girlfriend went to the ladies’ room. She overheard some women say, “Puro dada. Walang aksyon.” Which when translated to English means: “All talk. No action.”

  6. Antwon303 says:

    I just saw it tonight and LOVED it. Ghost Protocol was a tad better but Rogue Nation was immensely entertaining. Mad respect for Tom Cruise. Dude gives 1000% for his craft. Hanging off the side of a freaking plane! I remember Rebecca Ferguson from “The White Queen” and her casting as the femme fatale is a stroke of genius…again props to Tom for suggesting her for the role. They had awesome chemistry and she matched him on every level. I have a feeling she’ll be in the next one. Go see this movie…it was fantastic.

  7. elishiakc says:

    I loved Rogue Nation, but why was the lack of romantic chemistry between Cruise and Blunt seen as a central flaw in Edge of Tomorrow? Is it required that the male and female leads be romantically linked? Can they not just have a deep respect for one another and what they’ve been through together? You know, like male leads get to do…

  8. Miss D says:

    It’s pretty good but GHOST PROTOCOL is better.

    Rebecca Ferguson is awesome in ROGUE NATION, tho.

  9. Mitchum says:

    Another reason this film works is Cruise is great, but he has an awesome supporting cast as well. Paula Patton is simply lovely to look at, besides being a terrific actor.

  10. tony2308 says:

    Jack Reacher starred a breakout performance from Rosamund Pike? I think you mean Gone Girl.

  11. Anonymous says:

    CORRECTION: I don’t enjoy a movie based on actors personal belief is what I meant in previous comment. Tom is smart has charisma and brings his all into his movies!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I must say don’t care about the critics or nay Sayers. Edge of tomorrow was also a really good movie! Loved watching it and repeat. Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise. – They did a great job. Say what you will I enjoy a movie based on the actors personal beliefs. I go to watch someone with charisma who delivers a good time and I like to watch every single time. Tom cruise don’t go anywhere please!!!! Keep it coming

  13. Anonymous says:

    Tom Cruise still the A-lists movie star. Always enjoy watching his movies. He is the man. Brings all the things you want to enjoy in movies. Shared his spotlight with a female lead like none other. WOW. All the cast Renner, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca ferguson and now Alec Baldwin – Amazing!! The epitome of entertainment when you see a movie. And all enjoyable to watch actors-this is an ensemble cast loving it!

  14. Rj Cristy says:

    I like the movie. I’m thinking if I could watch it again (beyond being busy, there’s nothing that stops me). Anyway, yes, very spectacular and creative. I like Ghost Protocol the best. Must watch

  15. Deecee says:

    AGREED!! This is the best M:I ever!!! And better than any James Bond movie in recent years since its last reboot. Absolutely FANTASTIC. And the female lead was icing on the cake.

    • Vic says:

      Looking at how utterly beautiful Paula Patton is, makes me wonder how any man on earth could be gay. Robin Thicke is the biggest loser of the 21st century.

  16. peter says:

    can’t wait to see this movie. So many critics have been waiting with great anticipation!
    Yes Tom Cruise still is the Man!

  17. lolu cree says:

    i went to see MI 5 last nite at the local IMAX and it was just amazing!!!! i wanted to stay and watch it again after the credit rolls. the IMAX screen is huge and it is the only way to do the stunts and action of this film. TC is sexy as hell at 53! and Simon Pegg is superbly funny…..

  18. jillian bullock says:

    I always said there should be Oscars for stunts. Stunt people, and Tom Cruise, work their asses off to give amazing, and dangerous, performances and should be rewarded. Academy Awards add a Stunt category, please.

  19. paul ferrer says:

    How can you possibly say Mission Impossible Rogue Nation is the best of the series after the big opening scene the film just repeats action scenes from previous films but not on the same scale as Ghost Protocol the plot is very Casino Royale with Ilsa very much like Vesper. Like most of the Mission Impossible films it has to do with stealing a USB drive with an ending as silly as National Treasure 2.

    Within all of the Mission Impossible films there has always been corruption within the IMF making the scene with Alec Baldwin and Jeremy Renner at the start talking about the good that IMF is more down to luck than judgement reminding me of the scene in Lethal Weapon 3 when detective says about Riggs and Murtaugh ” From what I’ve seen of their records, the only thing they do contribute is mayhem and chaos”. Riggs replies . “No, I’m Chaos, and he’s Mayhem. We’re a double act. What are we, required reading, or something?” Lorna Cole: As a matter of fact, you are. It’s a cross between Police Gazette and Mad Magazine.

  20. home31 says:

    Best movie of 2015! Tom Cruise is still got it! Fantastic action, great story, humor with suspense! What a popcorn movie should be! Ethan will always do what his instinct them him, for the better of his mission and his team! It’s not just about him, it’s about doing that right thing and doing what necessary for the better good! Mission has found the right balance between all these things! You care about Ethan and company! We know these character’s and the first have as action and second your on the edge olbf your seat, what will Ethan do, what can the team do! Ghost Protocol is fantastic and so is this movie, you don’t have to leave your brain at the door to enjoy this movie! It’s a must see 2 hours and 11 minutes fly by! Will be seeing it again on the big screen and buying the bluray when it comes out! I say bring on the next mission!

  21. H.M. says:

    Why is it that when I see a lame, hyper ventilating article here odds are that the columnist is always this silly young man. He sounds like he spent some time in Mr. Cruise’s closet with him.

    • Deecee says:

      If you Think that you are a cynic. Because everybody I know that went to go see it agrees with every point. So even if that was the case. He is definitely expressing what most of the viewers thought. And remember it is called entertainment! Is why we go to the movies for escapism fun!

  22. Guest says:

    I really enjoyed this movie. Great stunts, great storyline, great acting.

  23. jhs39 says:

    The Marvel Universe isn’t really known for sulky, dark super heroes–that would be the D.C. Universe.

  24. Cole says:

    I don’t work for Paramount or any studio and I can say after just getting back from seeing this film, that THIS is why I go to movies. This is entertainment, not lame crap from Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and some of these other so-called “filmmakers.” “Mission” is not good, it is absolutely GREAT.

  25. James says:

    It’s like Paramount’s P.R. department wrote this article. Oh wait…..they probably did.

  26. Tom Siebert says:

    It’s good, but it’s not THAT good! Brad Bird’s “Ghost Protocol” was better. Still, impressive when the fifth entry in the franchise stacks up as the second best — stunning action sequences, terrific cast with breakout perf from the double agent gal, damned if Tom Cruise isn’t the last of the True Movie Stars. No matter what you say about the guy — and you can say a lot — he’s still got “It.”

    The script, though…..clever and funny, but just TOO ridiculous in spots, and I’m not talking about the stunt work. How do they do all this globe hopping with all that crazy technology and weaponry? Hunt can’t take a small oxygen tank for his deep dive? Rogue IMF gang can use face recognition tech to track bad guys, but not the CIA to track the IMF? Etc., etc., etc.

    Afterwards, you’ll be scratching your head and having a few laughs, but while it’s on-screen you’ll have the best ride of the summer. Except maybe for “Mad Max.”

    • Cole says:

      This film is wa-y-y-y- better than Ghost, which I liked also, but there is no comparison. This movie is outstanding.

    • Ernst Blofeld says:

      Well, he may still have “it”, but Bond/Craig has more “That”! I’ll happily spend my $16 on SPECTRE, rather than on yet another round of Cruise running, jumping, running, jumping (I had enough of his jumping after I witnessed what he did to Oprah’s sofa). Thanks.

      • Since your brought up SPECTRE, I see the upcoming entry to the Bond Saga facing a few problems having now seen Rouge Nation. *********SPOILERS********** I have yet to see SPECTRE but judging from the trailer and what any Bond fan knows about the organization, it is going to look like a copy cat of Rougue Nation. SPECTRE is a clandestine organization that acts as the “anti-MI6” and The Syndicate is a clandestine organization that acts as the “anti-IMF.” Lane is the antithesis of Ethan Hunt, just as Blofeld is the antithesis of Bond. (I know Sam Mendes has said that Christoph Waltz isn’t Blofeld but we all know that he most likely is.) The locations are the same: London, Morocco, etc. The idea of having to go dark in order the find The Syndicate is already something hinted in the trailer about Bond’s search for SPECTRE. I wouldn’t be surprised if SPECTRE turns out to be the Deep Impact to Rouge Nation’s Armageddon.

      • Deecee says:

        I beg to differ but I am a bond movie fan for decades and still love any bond movie — but this is better and definitely more entertaining than any Bond movie since Pierce Brosnan left.

  27. Lawrence of Al says:

    Not as entertaining as Max or JW. But fun overall. Oh and just because they have a strong female led doesn’t score any extra points for me. Half the films that come out nowadays have an tough female character. She didn’t do anything above show her butt cleavage. While nice to see internet images have taken most of that aww factor away.

    Also it sounds as if you overly hyped this to get buts in the seats. It has one set piece that’s cool (water) and another that loses its luster from a year of trailer bait.

  28. Timmy says:

    Sorry, it is good but not as good as Fury Road.

  29. jacobfkeller says:

    Wasn’t it “JACK Reacher”?

  30. Jodhan Singh @ The Noc List says:

    Looking forward to seeing it!
    Just one question…who wrote Tom Cruise off as a movie star?!?!

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