Omar: 4.0 out of 5

Liz and I finally made it out to the movie theater! The Movie Theater (capital letters) is like a safe haven for me, obviously being the huge film fans we are we wish we could make it out there more often but we haven’t had the chance to lately. I’ve also had the unfortunate luck lately of never being free to go to the movies when all the good movies are out and in the rare instances that I CAN go, the line-up is quite unappealing. That’s what makes our recent trip so exciting! A rare chance to see a critically acclaimed blockbuster?! Helll yesssss.

Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation, of course, stars Tom Cruise in the leading role along with Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner,  and newcomers to the series Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, and Rebecca Ferguson. The movie was directed Christopher McQuarrie who was involved in writing The Usual Suspects and Edge of Tomorrow, two movies that I really enjoyed, so I was excited to watch this one.

The premise of the movie is that Ethan Hunt and the rest of the IMF crew are facing two separate but important battles. The first of those battles is with the CIA and its director (played by Alec Baldwin) who convince the powers that be that the IMF is a costly and unnecessary operation with a messy track record. The second  battle is with the menacing Syndicate and its shadowy leader (Sean Harris) who is bent on destroying something or other for a reason I can’t remember. But that’s not the point! The point is that they’re a spooky organization that seems to be always a step ahead of the IMF and CIA. In fact the CIA don’t even believe the Syndicate exists and is part of the reason how they get the IMF to be officially disbanded. What follows is a global three-part chase between the CIA, IMF, and the Syndicate.

Let us start with some of the reasons why this movie was so enjoyable. First, I absolutely loved the action scenes. Ethan Hunt is a spy of seemingly equal skill to Jason Bourne and James Bond, though admittedly not as cool as either. The car and motorcycle chases were exciting, the hand to hand combat was awesome, and the various stunts were creative (giant water safe, hanging outside an airplane, etc). The action goes beyond Tom Cruise though as Rebecca Ferguson does  a very good job of portraying MI6 agent Ilsa Faust. Not only does Ilsa Faust have a sick name, she is also more than capable of holding her own in combat or high-speed chases. At times Faust proves to be an agent of even higher skill than Hunt which is refreshing to see. The best thing about her character is that she wasn’t reduced to the role of a love interest and seeing her always double or triple crossing people made her character quite dynamic.

The rest of the cast also does a great job for the most part. Jeremy Renner is great in the role of IMF director of sorts but Simon Pegg was possibly the best part in the role of IMF agent Benji. Benji is the groups tech-genius and behind the scenes guy and Simon Pegg is more than ideal in the role that is clearly meant to provide comedic relief. Alec Baldwin and Ving Rhames (playing a retired IMF agent) also do a good job but they’re really just there on the side and don’t do all that much. On the side of the villains, Sean Harris does an EXCELLENT job playing the bad guy! He seems to be more of a thinker than an agent in the field but he’s constantly ahead of everyone else which makes him formidable. Harris also naturally has a very menacing look and his raspy voice makes him a bit spooky. I think of the MI series in a way as a much less suave, less polished, and less serious 007 and Harris seems to exude the type of cool and menace that could easily transition into a Bond film.

The story was pretty ok for an action movie. That doesn’t mean it was bad but it was convoluted at times and I wasn’t sure what the motivation was for some of the stuff that was going on. The final chase and fight scene were a little underwhelming to me after all the grand chases and action sequences that preceded it but it wasn’t awful either. I did like the…smokey…finish, I thought the visuals there were cool. Additionally, the scale of the movie was impressive and the locations were beautiful but the cinematography never blew me away. Again, not awful but certainly nothing amazing. In the end this movie was a great time for coming out to the theater and if you have a chance I would recommend it because this is the type of movie that is best suited for the big screen. As of now I’m comfortable saying I enjoyed Ghost Protocol more than this one but this one was still a fun movie and a great entry into the series.

Keep an eye out for my next reviews, Boogie Nights (1997) and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)!!

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