Friday, 31 July 2015
REVIEW: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE-ROGUE NATION
131 Minutes. Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris & Alec Baldwin. Director: Christopher McQuarrie.
53? 53?! When they did 'Interview With A Vampire' with the generational, seemingly millennial, Hollywood movie icon Tom Cruise they should have asked what this vampires secret is. Because this guy ain't 53? A middle-aged man doesn't do this kind of stuff. Normally reaching for the morning paper and slippers would require most this age the use of a stunt double...but not this man. Here's a guy that became a legend in the 80's with big pictures like 'Top Gun' and 'The Color Of Money'. Only to accompany these classics with some of his bravest and boldest best, like the back then oft-ignored troubled subject matter of a Vietnam vet in 'Born On The Fourth Of July' to go with the autism awareness of 'Rain Man'. This guy can really act and it was this 'Cocktail' that gave him his 'Days Of Thunder' that made him a 90's megastar, 'Maguire' movie machine like his first namesake Hanks. Between 'Samurai's' and 'Vanilla Skies' this guy hasn't stopped or slumped either for three straight decades for quite the thirty plus year reign as the star of Hollywood's walk of fame. He's even recently gone from being a fall favourite to a Summer blockbuster sure-thing circuit, even of late going out of this big budget world to the land of Sci-Fi with 'Oblivion' and one of last years best, albeit most underrated blockbusters in 'Edge Of Tomorrow'. It really does seem like 'Groundhog Day' for the 'Live. Die. Repeat' star as the franchise guy returns to his franchise of franchises for the fifth 'Mission Impossible' installment, going all 'Rogue Nation' and reuniting with director Christopher McQuarrie just when they changed lanes with their new 'Jack Reacher' star vehicle. Forget throwing the book, the fuse keeps going on this old tube CBS show reboot and its iconic title sequence of sound that has been kept alight for almost as long as Cruise's cinematic career has. After the first Brian De Palma straight-forward spy smash, came the flash of a Woo slow-motion sequel (that was probably actually 2 minutes of footage stretched over 2 hours of screen-time) and then a terrific turn of both to complete the trilogy from J.J. Abrams flare of the lens. Then out of nowhere the spirited Brad Bird, Bad Robot 'Ghost Protocol' went forth with a fun force as the biggest and best in the franchise. Now with another accepted mission the guy that has sky dived into vaults, jumped out of some of the worlds tallest buildings, climbed up the others (not to mention ran back down them) and ran and ran some more is still around and doing all his own stunts without even needing CGI for his forever young face. Here T.C. even goes land rogue in deep blue, holding his breath while we don't have to as he's even riding around on those motorbikes again (but thankfully without the matching leather) for a film that classically combines elements from its previous four epics. In control Cruise even grips on to the side of a huge plane with just his wits and his fingertips. No wonder this 'Top Gun' will only do a sequel if they do it for real in this digital age. With this guy, there is no danger zone!
Explosive when others this age are implosive, Cruise is making more of these franchise emissions possible due to all his hard work. He may just be Hollywood's greatest and most underrated stunt men, as well as actor with all due respect to the unsung heroes. All the Joe's that really suit up for your favourite superheroes as soon as their regular secret identities wear a mask. This amazing, all-action hero will still be dancing at 60 like Ali. More than just floating like a butterfly, gripping on to the sides of heavy duty aircraft, with his eye on the sparrow, or even the smallest piece of granite that could rip him to shreds (or almost break a rib) in less time than it takes to take a funny G-Force selfie face, hash-tag 'sideoftheplaneagainlol'. Even no longer a young gun, this Top Cruise is still soaring, grounding his peers. And when he's not doing that he's diving underwater and holding his breath until his cheeks are almost blown apart in a different sort of way. Cruise is straight crazy! Don't even ask him for a lift home either. Just check out how he leaves a BMW or the colour of his co-star Simon Pegg's face riding shotgun. This is vehicular manslaughter that spins round the streets of 'Knight & Day' on an epic scale that the 'Fast and Furious' or the 'Fury Road' of 'Mad Max' can't keep up with as full throttle Tom-Tom laps them again. And after all the vehicles and henchmen are totaled, Cruise still flows with the hand-to-gun combat action that made him such a thriller in the Michael Mann cab classic 'Collateral' (one if his best). Just wait until he shows the opera real drama with an action encore. No wonder this is one of the best blockbusters of another hot Summer in Marvel's Avengers' 'Age Of Ultron' and 'Ant-Man' and the robot resurrection of 'Terminator-Genisys' and the monsters of 'Jurassic World'. Cruise is no dinosaur, he's a machine showing that the Summer season doesn't end with the 'Fantastic Four' reboot or Guy Ritchie's spy's from 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' who will really have to pull something from the undercover to beat this one. Just like the 'Spectre' of the legendary Bond with the IMF's fun alternative to 007 who over almost 20 years has never changed its lead actor. Next to this even the quick fire and hand action of Bourne may need a rebirth.
Hawkeye knows this and Jeremy Renner assembles with the right team after his 'Ghost' surprise debut that looked like he could one day receive the acceptances for the lead for future films if he so chose to. Still like 'Jerry Maguire' this is still Tom's mission statement and the disarming Renner from the last movie is more 'Protocol' here. But still even if his detail is more desk duty, file this one under another dynamic performance for the range of the straight shooters bow. Cruise even recruits the original 'Jack Ryan'; Alec Baldwin who after his rocking comedy circuit is back on the hunt for Hunt like it was the 'Red October' and not the middle of Summer. With a clear and present danger in the form of Sean Harris of 'Prometheus' sinister villain, Cruise's legendary Ethan Hunt gets the old team back together. Like the all-action accompanying Q in the field of Simon Pegg and his hilarious comic-relief. Or the Felix like Ving Rhames who returns to fine form after his last film, last scene cameo put an end to his series hiatus as Ving brings back a guy that's been with Cruise from the start. Still there are some that are M.I.A. from 'MI:5' that we hope make the MI:6. Namely the third and fourth films femme fatales of Maggie Q and Paula Patton who couldn't be part of this mission plan due to scheduling conflicts...I mean one of them is 'Nikita' so you can understand. Instead new British star Rebecca Ferguson (not to be confused with the singer) makes a dynamite debut. Matching Cruise punch for punch in the acting stakes and looking the part. Lavishly looking like she's been plucked from a Connery era Bond movie with her classic screen starlet looks and compelling confidence that make her look like she's been making these type of movies for years and not someone who at only 31 has barely dipped her toe in the pools of movie glamorous locations with just a handful of flicks to her name...currently. She and he make this movie work wonders, continuing the fun trend of the last film that showed neither franchise or franchise face are ready to self destruct in five seconds. Between inventive techniques that relate to the origins of these missions and hallmark homages to this series in directional tone and testimony this is the perfect mix for another round of the Cruise cocktail. There's gorgeous gadgets that picks the locks, turns playbills into laptops and glass into dust that are so good they could even make Batman jealous, let alone leave Bond's Q looking for a new job. Still it's the amazing action from this franchise that treats planes, trains and automobiles like cinematic Candy. Matter of fact, this one film may have more stunning set-pieces than the whole franchise combined. Disavow everything else. It would take a nation of millions the hold this mission back. This year it's time to go 'Rogue'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.