Tom Cruise May Be the Star of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, but His Female …

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation review: Far-fetched, yet drably derivative.

“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” is the fifth film in a series that has taken in more than $2 billion in worldwide box office and has provided the one role, that of secret agent Ethan Hunt, the performer can count on since the series made the jump from television to theaters in 1996.In the spectacular and witty preface to “Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation” (the sequence is essentially a TV commercial doing double duty at the film’s front end) Tom Cruise runs as only Tom Cruise can, leaps onto the wing of a giant transport plane and clings to a cargo door as the monster takes flight.

I don’t know about impossible, but given that it’s taken almost 20 years to churn out five instalments of this series – something the early Bond franchise managed in six years, and the 1960s M:I TV show in just six weeks – these missions are certainly a lot of work.Actor Tom Cruise arrives for the Canadian premiere of the film Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation in Toronto on July 27, 2015. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press) He’s scaled the tallest building in the world and clambered across a perilous cliff face, all for the sake of a role. Coupled with the success behind the long-running “Mission: Impossible” franchise, that means the latest installment could be atop the weekend box office.

In return, Cruise has been a vigilant steward of the franchise, making sure its various components (including its celebrated Lalo Schifrin theme) never fall below acceptable standards and even pushing to exceed the norm where possible. So it is with the polished and entertaining new film, the kind of neo-James Bond spy-versus-spy diversion where secrets are “triple encoded” and agents in trouble sound like ambitious dentists when they request “immediate extraction.” Both in front of and behind the camera, “Rogue Nation” has been smoothly made by people who know just how to get entertainment business done and have often worked with Cruise before. But her performance in the fifth Mission film has earned critical praise (“Ferguson is perfection in the tradition of secretive movie heroines,” says Deadline.com’s Pete Hammond) and impressed Cruise, who says, “Rebecca makes Ilsa lethal in every way.” As a disavowed British agent, Ilsa is trained to use her best weapons in a scrap — mostly, a lethal set of crushing thighs, which director Christopher McQuarrie says were directly involved in three Mission deaths. “The other stuff is great, fantastic,” says McQuarrie. “But Rebecca has these beautiful, expressive, somewhat-feline eyes which alternate between lovely and incredibly lethal.” Ferguson had a custom formal dress with a dramatic cut that allowed her to break into an instant, unencumbered sprint (and also break out a thigh-kill).

Rentrak analyst Paul Dergarabedian said his team is expecting the film to garner somewhere between $35 million and $40 million, but he said it might even do a bit better. “Tom Cruise is a marketing machine; he is literally everywhere,” Dergarabedian said. “This could be a film that outperforms a little bit. That is very much true of filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie, who was a writer on two Cruise ventures (“Valkyrie” and “Edge of Tomorrow”) and directed the actor’s “Jack Reacher” venture.

Each has a different director, and different settings, and different characters—Cruise and Ving Rhames are the only constants—and each takes on the style and personality of its director. This could set us up nicely for a good run through the end of summer — Labor Day.” Dergarabedian said “Mission: Impossible” epitomizes what a summer movie should be.

Brian DePalma’s 1996 original was stylish and borderline nonsensical; John Woo’s 2000 sequel was wildly over the top, yet still a ridiculous blast; J.J. Much of the action plays out as though screenwriters Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3) and Christopher McQuarrie (Edge of Tomorrow) sat down and designed the most improbable, inescapable booby trap they could manage, then reverse-engineered Hunt’s getaway.

The 53-year-old actor is known for pulling off his own stunts rather than relying on CGI or stuntmen and, in this fifth instalment of the Mission Impossible series, he sets out to prove he’s still got it. Abrams’ 2006 installment was more old-school Spielbergian popcorn entertainment; and Brad Bird’s 2011 entry was a glorious cartoon come to life, with some truly inspired set pieces and stunts. You could argue that all action-movie scripts follow this formula; there are no actual volcanic lairs, Maze Runner labyrinths or Shawshank prisons out of which to break.

Cruise underwent wind and speed simulations to prepare for the scene – filmed eight times to capture the needed angles – that had him barreling down a runway while clinging to the door of an Airbus A400. “Of course, there was the cold, and I couldn’t wear long underwear because there was the suit. The franchise has accumulated $740 million in domestic box-office receipts and $2.1 billion worldwide since it began in 1996. “That cliché, the hardest working man in show business — it might very well be Tom Cruise,” Dergarabedian said. “No matter what you think of his personal life, you have to give it up to him. But the big set piece in Rogue Nation – a computer control centre housed inside a whirlpool and then buried beneath a power plant – feels particularly egregious. Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and the IMF, sustains many of its 131 minutes, and the production works ingenious changes on old tropes, even though a chase is still a chase as running time goes by.

So many Hollywood action movies have so many hands on the steering wheel that spectacle outweighs awe; they’re so compromised and communal, serving so many masters, that they can feel like confused platforms for product placement blasted 50 feet high and screaming into your ears. Besides, it’s basically the computer-vault scene from the very first Mission: Impossible movie, only louder, faster and (you’ll recall in that one how Hunt produced a single bead of sweat that almost undid his efforts) much, much wetter. So dangerous that Cruise had to wear custom contact lenses to protect his eyes, the stunt was repeated eight times until actor and director had the coverage they needed.

Hunt has to log into this waterlogged system to reprogram a “gait analysis” security system to allow his confederate Benji (Simon Pegg) to steal a microchip that contains vital information needed to stop a bespectacled baddie (Sean Harris) from committing – wait, where was I? They are, thus, obviously the creation of Cruise, who famously is the hardest-working leading man in the history of the medium. (If you doubt this, he’ll be happy to remind you.) The guy is a lunatic, but he is our lunatic. That leaves Hunt as a man without a country, an international fugitive sought by the CIA just as he is closing in on a nefarious organization known as the Syndicate. His compulsive, almost oppressive need to entertain us may have turned him into a simulacrum of a human being who no longer can relate to other individuals in any meaningful fashion, but it’s impossible to argue that his crazy lifelong quest has actually failed to entertain us. A group as dangerous as its name is bland, the Syndicate is manned exclusively by missing or presumed dead former government secret agents like the Bone Doctor (Jens Hulten), who’s there to hurt you, not help you.

Even when he’s in bad movies, he has no idea he’s in a bad movie, or at least never acts like it: Cruise is incapable of winking at the camera and separating himself from what’s going on around him. This isn’t cool anymore, of course—half the job of actors today seems to be silently commenting to the audience on the performance they’re currently giving—and Cruise, along with all his other eccentricities, is pegged as what the cynical call a “try-hard,” as if there were something actually wrong with putting the time and effort to maximize your abilities in your chosen field. There’s little in the way of other competition for the latest “Mission Impossible.” Most of the other films showing in theaters this weekend, including Walt Disney Co’s DIS, +0.16% “Ant-Man” from Marvel Studios, will likely see drops in attendance from their previous weeks, with revenues ending somewhere in the teens. “‘Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation’ will most assumedly be the No. 1 movie this weekend,” Dergarabedian said. “The movie is already a success in terms of its marketing, reviews and the amount of buzz it’s creating. For all the flak the guy takes, other actors are famously in awe of him, the way he takes his occupation and strangles and shapes it until it is exactly what he commands it to be. With just his own merry men (returning “M:I” veterans Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames) to help him, Hunt, no surprise, is determined to stop the Syndicate because, to quote an associate, he is “the living manifestation of destiny.” Try putting that on your resume.

And when he decides to assassinate a world leader at the Vienna State Opera, he’s able to send in multiple hit men and women, plus find time to rig a car bomb, just in case. Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson brings a bit of unexpected maturity and substance to the role of the inscrutable Ilsa Faust, an individual who is fully Hunt’s equal, and then some, in derring-do.

In another movie trope, the Impossible Missions Force (to be confused at your peril with the International Monetary Fund) has been disbanded by a grouchy CIA honcho (Alec Baldwin), making it almost impossible for IMF boss Brandt (Jeremy Renner) to help. It’s a great film in an entirely different way, though, precise and controlled rather than unhinged, hitting familiar notes in new ways rather than striving for something truly original and unlike anything we’ve seen before. Rogue Nation highlights the upside of professionalism and expertise: This is what happens when your movie is made by smart people consistently making the correct decision. And in a year brimming with spy stories – Kingsman came out in February, Spy last month, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. next, and Spectre in the fall – you need to bring your A game to stand out. Ferguson’s cool, elusive nature is a perfect contrast to Cruise’s manic kineticism; she’s an actress I wasn’t previously familiar with, and one I suspect we’ll be watching for a long time. 5.

There isn’t the whiz-bang Brad Bird zaniness of the last film: This is more European, a sleek, precise thriller that builds its set pieces meticulously and metes out information judiciously before knocking you over. And lest you think this movie’s too cerebral, there’s a motorcycle chase that tops the also-fantastic one in Furious 7, but doesn’t need endless CGI to do it. (The scene also ends with a visual punchline that provides the movie’s biggest laugh.) Credit for all this has to go to Cruise.

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