“It’s no surprise that Cruise insisted on being strapped to the Airbus to start “Rogue Nation”. Or that he hired an underwater trainer so he could learn to hold his breath for well over 6 minutes–leading to one of this movie’s most dramatic sequences filmed in a single cut.” – REEL BRIEF.com
By now it would be nearly mission impossible to find moviegoers unaware of Tom Cruise’s penchant for doing his own movie stunts. Reprising his clandestine Ethan Hunt character for a 5th time, the 53-year old Cruise doesn’t disappoint fans wanting to see death-defying action and thrills. “Rogue Nation” immediately feeds the curiosity seekers with the famous scene rolled out in the film’s initial trailer; Cruise hanging on for dear life outside an Airbus A400M aircraft as it takes off with precious cargo. That’s the Tom Cruise action hero we’ve come to adore and respect over the years—immersing himself mentally and physically into an on-camera circus performer as we gaze in amazement and shock.
This latest spook film carries the same ingredients we’ve become accustomed to from protagonist Agent Hunt (Cruise) and his associates–keeping coveted knowledge and power outside the grasp of terrorists under the moniker of the Syndicate. As per “Mission: Impossible” movie protocol, betrayal and trust issues abound for cast and Western countries. Between the simplistic storyline stands challenges, or “missions”, deemed too dangerous or possible to accomplish nary a spy. Well, except one.
The newest chapter of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise showcases a few new faces amongst the proven crowd, earning it mixed results. Attempting to infiltrate Hunt’s circle of trust is none other than Alec Baldwin, who overplays his CIA director part to the point of being dull and forgettable.
Another misfit that brings down the Impossible Mission Force’s professionalism and overall film–almost to the point of being a spoof–is Simon Pegg’s lackadaisical Benji Dunn character. The lack of seriousness and ineptitude displayed throughout by Dunn only waters down the special skills of Cruise, Jeremy Renner and handyman Ving Rhames—who is the only actor besides Cruise to appear in all five “Mission: Impossible” films.
Easily this movie’s most compelling star is Cruise’s eye-raising counterpart Ilsa, portrayed by newcomer Rebecca Ferguson. She’s not only the one who continually keeps Ethan Hunt alive, but is also the sole entity caught in the middle between disavowed, dangerous spies and her government. While Ilsa’s assortment of mixed martial arts moves may resemble the Queen in the game of Chess, Cruise rightfully remains the centerpiece King of “Rogue Nation”.
Cruise is an exceptional actor, earning three Academy Award nominations over a spectacular 34-year film career that started off with immediate success at age of 19. The young man who introduced himself to us in the 1980s with “Taps” and “Risky Business”, has grown up right before our eyes, both physically and professionally. By 1986, he reached the pinnacle any Hollywood movie star could aspire to, flying F-14 Tomcats in the mega-blockbuster “Top Gun”. As an established box office sensation, Cruise then dedicated himself to dramatic roles in such films as “Rain Man,” “Born on the Fourth of July” and “A Few Good Men”—diversifying his acting portfolio with meatier leading roles.
It wasn’t until the inaugural “Mission: Impossible” film in 1996, that has forever linked Cruise to action movies, effortlessly discarding his many other acting talents to the side in a heaping ball of flames.
Although the “Mission: Impossible” series may not challenge Cruise beyond a shrug or bewildered look, it does offer him a chance to exhibit his enormous physical talent. It’s no surprise that Cruise insisted on being strapped to the Airbus to start “Rogue Nation”. Or that he hired an underwater trainer so he could learn to hold his breath for well over 6 minutes–leading to one of this movie’s most dramatic sequences filmed in a single cut. It’s fitting that our action hero Cruise, who casually sidestepped a real-life accident with a double-decker bus while filming in London for “Rogue Nation”, resorts to thrills and spills on camera at this point of his career. The real question that remains unclear is how will Cruise elect to entertain us in M:I 6? Desperate times, desperate measures.
“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” is rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity. Its running time is 2 hours and 12 minutes.
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