M1-5 Brings it Rogue Style

I know I write a lot about Hollywood's obsession with sequels, but that's usually because most sequels stink, and remakes fair even worse. Conversely, a good one feels much like a big-screen soap, where you get the thrill of seeing where familiar characters go next. And, let's face it - there's also something so satisfying when the formula actually works. In this case the formula worked.

This 5th installment in the MI franchise follows up where Ghost Protocols leaves off. The IMF, now perceived by the international intelligence community as a rogue nation, has been largely disbanded, and plans are underway to sift out the few remaining IMF rebels, in order to make way for a worldwide band of deadly operatives known as the Syndicate. The anti-establishment Syndicate is hellbent on erasing all memory recall of the IMF with a covert global takeover plan of the intelligence community. Ethan, never one to resist a challenge, re-assembles his rogue team to uncover the Syndicate before it can complete its international terrorist crusade.

What can be said about Mission Impossible films that has not already been said? Tom Cruise AKA Ethan Hunt is everything we find irresistible in action heroes; smart, handsome, cunning, dare-devilish, and this film packs enough fast-paced action to give any action junkie a sure-fire adrenaline rush. 

Mission Impossible films have become the tent pole gig of Cruise's film career. It's gone something like this; make two flops, then another MI film, then make a couple more so-so movies, then do another MI film - you can't lose. Luckily he's kept the old bod in excellent shape so he can still run with the best of them. Like many super-status actors with industry longevity, he "bread n' butters" his bank accounts with the big-budget audience thrill rides, while inserting character parts in between, (so we remember he can act). 

Cruise, in classic make-it-don't-fake-it style did his own stunts...yep, that scene in the trailer where you see him hanging on the side of a plane, was really Tom actually harnessed to a real jet in flight. It took eight (8) takes to get those scenes just right. By his own admission, Tom said he was scared s---less. You think? You gotta credit the guy for having guts.

Rogue Nation arrived at theaters with the full action package; explosions, stupid crazy car chases, humor, hold-your-breath suspense, plot twists, and enough gadgets to make 007 jealous. I've always had a 'thing' for films that showcase break-ins, heists, or robberies, so MI films float my boat like a gondolier in Venice. There was no snoozing on this watch; the story-line hooked you from the opening moments and held you until the credits rolled.

The Ghost Protocols team returned with two-time Academy Award nominee, Jeremy Renner (Avengers). Also back in the saddle was Brit comedian/actor, Simon Pegg, (Star Trek Into Darkness), as the panic-stricken field operative newby, and only original cast member - the super cool Ving Rhames (as Luther). They are joined by new cast members Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin. Simon Pegg's role as Benji pulled off a precision-timed fear-factor humor, and was the perfect foil to Ethan's straight-man. Rebecca Ferguson (Isla) reminded me why I like female vigilantes, playing her chick-power part with a refined don't-test-me attitude.

Director, Chris McQuarrie (Edge of Tomorrow), delivered an edgy script that allowed audiences to sit back, enjoy the oh-so-familiar musical score and watch Cruise bat another mission across home plate. After all, this was the Tom Cruise show - but I'm not complaining, the theater goers seemed content, and the box office took up a world-wide collection of $300 million for the cause.

Now, is it just me, or do you find yourself sitting until the credits finish rolling for that after movie scene? Drat those Marvel films!


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