Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Is this Mission, Impossible? Can you guess what happens next from these film stills?.

There’s some interesting talk in the cleverly satisfying script of “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” about the element of luck. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation lands in cinemas on Friday July 30, 19 years after the first time Ethan Hunt hung suspended from the ceiling as he tried to swipe files from a computer.In the stifling heat of Morocco where he and Simon Pegg filmed much of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Tom Cruise executed the same prank over two days that had Pegg later realizing he was simply being kept alive so that Cruise could continue torturing him.Over the past few years, American comedy superstar Amy Schumer has made quite a name for herself, pushing a hyper-provocative brand of humour that erases boundaries as it crosses them.

There’s Bond of course, the grand daddy of them all, all Viagra’d up thesedays by an overdue injection of decent talent in front of and behind the camera. Then Ethan was faced with having to destroy a deadly genetically modified disease in his second impossible mission, before having to save his girlfriend from a dangerous rogue arms dealer in the third. The Shaun of the Dead actor dropped by The Tonight Show on Tuesday to share that Cruise liked to sneakily turn on Pegg’s seat warmers while they were driving.

If you have encountered Schumer either as a superb stand-up practitioner or via her brilliant TV series Inside Amy Schumer, you will already know it was just a matter of time before a transition to movies beckoned. Then there’s Bourne; for a few years a pretender to the throne, but now probably dead and buried unless Matt Damon suffers a catastrophic divorce and needs a payday in a hurry. Then the IMF had to go rogue when it was implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin and now the team face trying to eradicate an anti-IMF in the latest of the tricky assignments.

That doesn’t sound like a lot, but the prank was genius in its simplicity — the way Pegg tells it, it seems as if he had been driven halfway to madness before he figured out what Cruise was up to. While Trainwreck stands as a perfectly acceptable, entry-level assignment for the big-screen debutante, it surprisingly does not play up to Schumer’s acknowledged strengths as one of mainstream comedy’s most incendiary innovators. Whatever you decide about that, let’s be clear about this: When it comes to Tom Cruise and his durability as an action hero, luck has little to do with it. A convoluted and cockamamie yarn about a secret black-ops spy network killing world leaders for fun feels as if it has been lifted from the bad old days of Bond movies.

A committed commitment-phobe since her father (Colin Quinn) abandoned the family decades prior, Amy parties too hard, picks up one-night-stands too easily, and puts it all behind her the morning after (the occasional humiliating “walk of shame” notwithstanding). To make matters worse, anyone who isn’t Tom Cruise (looking a little ragged these days as franchise spearhead Ethan Hunt) has to stand around movie-splaining all developments (sample dialogue: “If A, B or C happens, then this could spell D, E or F for G, H or I.”) as they happen. After a stunning pre-credits sequence which sees Ethan run after, jump aboard and summarily disarm a jet plane full of nerve-gas missiles, the rot sets in quickly for .

Let’s give kudos to a few other folks, too, starting with director-writer Christopher McQuarrie, who, like each director in the franchise, puts his own stamp on the proceedings. Hunt’s longtime handlers at the IMF (led by Jeremy Renner as Agent Brandt) have been absorbed by the CIA, whose blustery boss (Alec Baldwin) wants Hunt and his buddies yanked from the field ASAP. However, after putting its gender-reversal credentials on the table, Trainwreck gently sets about removing them one by one, becoming a more conventional comedy of sexual manners as it does. McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects”) does this with both a wry script that often makes fun of what’s happening, and some seriously entertaining action pieces, including a complicated assassination sequence set in Vienna’s glittering opera house during a lavish production of Puccini’s “Turandot.” (Parents: here’s a chance to get some opera into your kids’ summer — sort of like hiding the broccoli in the brownie mix.) Also invaluable is returning “MI” vet Simon Pegg as Benji, the wise-cracking (and safe-cracking) computer whiz who provides a crucial dose not only of humor but also of humanity here.

Hunt, as is his style, ignores the order to down tools, and goes off the grid to expose and eradicate ‘The Syndicate’ (an anti-IMF mob comprised of bad dudes long presumed to be dead by all authorities). The turning point for Amy comes very early and (largely because Trainwreck is directed by serial storytelling slow-coach Judd Apatow) then takes ages to be resolved. Welcome newcomers include Alec Baldwin, as a pompous CIA boss with deliciously dry delivery, and Rebecca Ferguson, making the most and then some of the obligatory female role.

A series of globetrotting location switches invariably ushers in an action sequence of high quality (Austria for an assassination at the Vienna Opera, Morocco for a deep dive inside a subterranean water facility, Great Britain for a kidnapping of the PM) and then yet more explanatory yapping of low quality. Amy’s bizarrely aggressive editor (a near-unrecognisable and very funny Tilda Swinton) puts her on a story where she must do a hatchet job on a leading sports medico named Aaron (Bill Hader). Somewhat predictably, the laws of opposite-attraction kick in very quickly, forcing Amy to confront and process an emotional side to her being she has suppressed for far too long. In fact, it begins with the scene you’re most likely to have heard about, because it involves Cruise’s own stunt work, in which the actor actually places himself on the wing of an airborne jet, and then — why not? — lets his legs slip, hanging on by only his hands as the landscape beneath gets tinier and tinier. As for Alec Baldwin, he may never live down having to deliver the worst line of idiotic dialogue (”Ethan Hunt is the living manifestation of destiny, and he has made you his mission”) this side of an Adam Sandler picture.

Once Apatow’s sluggish pacing turns the mid-section of Trainwreck into a bit of a grind, it is Schumer’s chemistry with Hader that keeps the right amount of laughs coming. The centre-piece, for me at least, is a motorbike chase that actually looked genuinely fast and dangerous, which is a rarity now on our CGI-drenched screens. The aforementioned Swinton and Quinn are definite standouts, but they have plenty of company with the likes of NBA legend LeBron James (as Aaron’s overly protective and insanely frugal BFF), wrestling icon John Cena (as Amy’s self-obsessed part-time toyboy) and Brie Larson (Amy’s conservative sister) all pulling their weight when it really counts.

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