Sequels, reboots, long-running franchises blah blah blah. All of this has been written about and discussed at nauseum so I won't bother with beating a dead horse. 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' is the fifth movie in the 'Mission: Impossible" franchise following the successful outing of 2011's 'Ghost Protocol". This time around Tom Cruise brought in Christopher McQuarrie to pen the script and take over direction duties after Brad Bird chose to make 'Tomorrowland' instead of this movie. 'Rogue Nation' brings back Mr. Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner and adds in the welcome newcomer Rebecca Ferguson as a double-agent and Sean Harris as the big bad.
The plot of this movie follows Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team as they try to take down an anti-IMF organization called the syndicate after the IMF itself has been dismantled by the CIA, run by Director Hundley (Alec Baldwin). This is another 'Mission: Impossible' story where Ethan Hunt and his crew are rogue and have to prove themselves worthy while taking down a villain determined to end the world or something like that. Story issues have plagued this franchise from the beginning and certain installments have been successful when they decide to develop a serviceable plot and focus on tremendous action sequences. 'Rogue Nation' does just this. Anyone with a tv or who has seen a movie in theaters this summer has likely seen the sequence of Tom Cruise hanging off of a plane that is taking off from the runway and it is just as incredible as you would imagine. This starts the movie off with a bang and thankfully McQuarrie took notes from some of Bird's pacing issues in the last movie and we don't have quite as many lulls this time around.
The returning cast is pretty fantastic here with Simon Pegg nearly stealing the show as Benji who is given a little more to do this time around. He even gets to wear a tuxedo and punches a guy! Rebecca Ferguson is the biggest standout however, as an actress that likely isn't a familiar one to most American audience members and she does truly shine here. Her character, Ilsa Faust, is a double-agent who is working for MI6 and Lane (Sean Harris) who is given some room to breathe on screen and kicks some serious ass as a much needed femme fatale who can hold her own against Ethan Hunt and does so several times in this movie. All of this is capped off with poor Jeremy Renner who just wants to lead a franchise but won't be doing that here since Cruise has decided to stick around. Even still, he is quite good and helps ground the movie along with Rhames' Luther who doesn't participate in as much of the action as well.
Without a doubt the highlight here is the action. McQuarrie has a real eye for camera placement and editing and uses this finesse within some seriously beautiful set pieces. This skill-set is put to good use right next to drawing performances from his cast that are at worst, good which in turn results in a product that is worth making a trip to the theater for. Fans of the franchise will find plenty to enjoy here and even the Bond fans out here will see a few things they like that just might hold them over until 'Spectre'.