Tom Cruise returns for another ‘Mission: Impossible’

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Mission accomplished for Cruise in new ‘MI’ flick.

Interspersed with spectacular action sequences and exotic locations are a beautiful if deadly female agent, a semi-comprehensible plot and soaring riffs on Lalo Schifrin’s theme music — its only connection at this point with the TV series that was its original inspiration. “Rogue Nation” opens as Ethan Hunt (Cruise) must destroy a military cargo plane in Belarus by jumping on a wing and holding tight. “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” like the other films in this franchise starring Tom Cruise, weaves a handful of complex action set pieces into its narrative.OK, so Ethan Hunt isn’t James Bond and the Impossible Missions Force isn’t MI6, but the “MI” films are essentially Bond movies, with a touch of “Bourne” and a whole lot of Tom Cruise doing what he does best — looking about 15 years younger than his true age (Cruise recently turned 53), performing harrowing stunts, engaging in clever banter with his adversaries, and doing it all with just the hint of a smirk that tells us even when it appears certain Mr. As movie star stuntwork goes, it’s almost ho-hum. “Rogue” instantly jumps to a London vinyl record shop where Cruise meets a comely clerk in a scene with distinct echoes of Humphrey Bogart’s bookstore quickie with Dorothy Malone in “The Big Sleep.” Romance is not in the cards here, only a diabolical death as Hunt is gassed and captured by the nefarious Syndicate kingpin Solomon Lane (Sean Harris).

With the fifth instalment of the franchise, writer-director Christopher McQuarrie matches the style and edge of “Mission: Impossible III” (2006), directed by J.J. Meanwhile back in D.C., the Impossible Mission Force, represented by Jeremy Renner’s Brandt, is being grilled by CIA chief Alan Hunley (a portentously jowly Alec Baldwin), who mocks the IMF for its pursuit of the phantom Syndicate. 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.

The guy’s an action star extraordinaire, and it’s not luck or chance but work and smarts and yes, some swashbuckling derring-do that get him there. Again co-writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (whose “The Usual Suspects” screenplay won him an Oscar) echoes a classic Hollywood thriller: The Albert Hall sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” in which an assassin’s kill shot will be disguised as cymbals clash. From there the now reassembled IMF team — including Ving Rhames’ Luther Stickell — goes to Casablanca for a fantastically intricate, literally breathtaking, underwater sequence set in a turbine with a deadly countdown.

The great Alec Baldwin hams it up nicely as Hunley, the gruff and fantastically clueless head of the CIA, who forces the IMF out of existence because that’s what gruff and clueless government bureaucrats do in movies like this. 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.

While no match for its brilliant predecessor, the 2011 “Ghost Protocol,” and marred by the occasional dead-air speech about the Syndicate as a global threat, “Rogue Nation” gets its job done with style. 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.

Rebecca Ferguson does stellar work as the beautiful, deadly and alluring Ilsa Faust, an agent who also might be a double agent and could even be a double-DOUBLE agent. Ilsa and Ethan exchange smouldering glances even as Ethan is trying to decipher whether she’s trying to kill him or save his life, but there’s no time for romance in “Rogue Nation,” not with so much intrigue and suspense lurking around every corner. 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.

Part of the arrangement of allowing us to shoot in and around their opera house was to actually use the Vienna orchestra and to record in their preferred venue. They need to do this because they have to switch a code so Ethan’s sidekick Benji (Simon Pegg, excellent comic relief) can access a facility in order to, you know, thwart the bad guys. At times the deception and the intrigue and the twists and turns make it nearly impossible to follow every detail of the plot, but even when things get muddled, we know Ethan’s our hero, and we know we’ll eventually learn the true intentions of Ilsa and the rest of the players.

The two meet again in Vienna, and eventually in Morocco, where Hunt and his friends take on a mission that involves, for one thing, Hunt holding his breath underwater for an impossibly long time while fighting an impossibly strong water current and many other things. Playing: SilverCity Ancaster, SilverCity Burlington, Jackson Square, SilverCity Oakville, Oakville Mews Encore, SilverCity Hamilton Mountain, 5 Drive-In Theatre (Oakville), Starlite Drive-In Early on, when Hunt was hanging off that plane, my 12-year-old companion – who has grown up in the age of computer-generated wizardry – confidently whispered: “Ha, that’s totally a green screen.” And I was happy to be able to whisper back:

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