After four years, superstar Tom Cruise and his crew comes up with yet another episode in the "Mission:Impossible" film saga. I thought it would be tough to come up with something to top "M:I Ghost Protocol" (My Review). That 2011 film directed by Brad Bird was simply too awesome, and so far my favorite of the whole series. This new one may have just matched that awesomeness.
Ethan Hunt and his IMF team come face to face with the Syndicate, a rogue terrorist operation led by the chillingly ruthless Solomon Lane. Equal to IMF in talent and resources, the Syndicate sends the mysterious female agent Ilsa Faust to obtain highly secure computer files from a highly secure location. The IMF team though gets caught right in the thick of this complex web that again brings them around the world from the US to Cuba, Austria, Morocco and England. Meanwhile, they also grapple with CIA head Alan Hunley who would like nothing but to see IMF dissolved.
Tom Cruise is visibly older now, but he can still pull this Ethan Hunt character off so well. He has got his strong action star charisma going on with the bravado he displayed in those death-defying stunts he did reportedly without a double for this film. His mad plane-hanging stunt that we see in the trailer happens before the opening credits, so do not come in late. His car and motorcycle driving skills were so fantastic in those breathtaking chase scenes. He was said to have had training to hold his breath for up to six minutes to be able to do that long thrilling underwater sequence.
As the lead female in the cast, Rebecca Ferguson nailed the role of Ilsa Faust. (Her name was presumably a reference to Ingrid Bergman's character Ilsa Lund in "Casablanca", a major setting in this film.) She was the one character who had that subtle air of duplicity that makes you doubt whether you'd trust her or not. Her character was the key game changer in the story of this film, and Ms. Ferguson does not disappoint in this pivotal role. She had us on the edge of our seats in those spectacular action scenes of hers, especially that that incredibly vicious knife fight at the end.
The ensemble work of the cast behind Cruise and Ferguson was impeccable. Simon Pegg was perfectly droll as tech whiz Benji Dunn. This guy's comic timing was so daft, I loved it. Sean Harris was positively creepy as the villain Lane, so sinister without the excessive hysterics. Jeremy Renner (as Brandt) is at his deadpan best, as usual. Ving Rhames (as Stickell), Alec Baldwin (as Hunley) and Simon McBurney (as British agent Attlee) were all on point in their portrayals of spies of various abilities and loyalties.
All those complex action sequences were executed faultlessly. The brilliant cinematography, fast-paced editing and the driving musical score (which had elements of the iconic M:I theme mixed with strains from "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's "Turandot") all contributed to the success of these scenes. Among the memorable sequences for which this film will be remembered are the opera house assassination attempt scene, the underwater data card-switching scene, the car chase scene through the narrow streets with Cruise driving a 2016 BMW, and the very exciting multiple motorcycle chase scene on a zigzagging road.
Perhaps having a new director for every film in this series has kept this franchise from becoming stale. After illustrious names like Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird at the helm previously, Christopher McQuarrie (who first gained fame as the Oscar-winning writer of "The Usual Suspects") writes and confidently directs "M:I Rogue Nation" as excellent cinematic entertainment with just the perfect mix of non-stop action, political intrigue, technological savvy and witty humor. No matter how ridiculous the situations may get, they are made so crazy good, we will buy them no matter what. 9/10.