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Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation

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Rebecca Ferguson was perfectly cast -- she's not taller than Tom!

I heard a movie critic on the radio say this was the best of the Mission: Impossible movies. I saw a critic online that said this was the third best, and proceeded to list the order. I’d never be able to do a list like that, because these movies are all so forgettable. I get a little more into facts about the movie. For example, the first Mission: Impossible came out 10 years before the first Iron Man movie.

Did you know that Tom Cruise was only 4-years-old when this TV series first aired in 1966? Oh, and if you want to talk about Cruise and age, this one will blow you away. He’s three years older than Wilfred Brimley was when he played a grandfather in Cocoon. The most energetic thing Brimley did in Cocoon was a cannonball into the pool. Cruise had himself tied to the outside of a cargo plane that was taking off, for a stunt in the opening scene.

Amazing.

Since these Mission: Impossible movies pop up every five years or so, what stunt will Cruise give us at 58?

That opening scene gives you the first eye-rolling moment, too. My guest at the screening leaned in and asked, “If he’s jumping off the plane with all those bombs on parachutes, what happens when they all hit the ground?”

It was a great point, but a movie like this doesn’t care about being realistic. Hell, it doesn’t even care about an actual story. There was no script written for this. Just like the Mad Max movie months ago, it has amazing chase scenes and stunts, but no story.

Oh you can try to argue there’s a story; a “Syndicate” that wants to terrorize everyone. An evil villain with a Russian accent, that feels like he should’ve been in a James Bond movie back in 1978. They didn’t even bother to give us the motivation behind all his actions.

Imagine my confusion when I saw Jeremy Renner walk onto the screen. He’s been in the Bourne Identity and Avenger movies. For a second, I forgot which film I was watching.

Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson (White Queen) brings some sexy flirtatiousness to the role as a double-agent. There’s something also refreshing that they cast a woman that comes across as intelligent, and not just Ronda Rousey spewing out dumb lines. It would’ve been a little more enjoyable if they didn’t have her changing loyalties so often. We were never really sure how to feel about her.

Ving Rhames (the only actor aside from Cruise, that’s been in all five films) had a few scenes that were nothing special.

Alec Baldwin, who bugs me in real life, is starting to bug me on screen, too. He’s always doing the same angry, military guys (we just saw him play this character in Aloha last month).

Simon Pegg, always welcome comedic relief, had a few funny lines and was given a bit more to do. That was nice.

It’s just a shame that writer/director Christopher McQuarrie couldn’t write a script. He gave us the terrific screenplay for The Usual Suspects. He wrote and directed Cruise in Jack Reacher, which wasn’t half bad. He also teamed up with Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow, which took a familiar story and made it surprisingly original and fun.

We can give credit to cinematographer Robert Elswit for this being well-shot, and all the stunt men. We got an amazing motorcycle chase through Morocco. There was an interesting fight scene at the Vienna State Opera (even if it reminded me a bit of Quantum of Solace and Foul Play); a cool knife fight in a London mausoleum.

It’s amazing how much expository dialogue was given to us, yet the plot was still sometimes hard to follow, and there wasn’t much of a story. They should’ve just done it like Mad Max – make it one long chase scene. The set pieces in Havana, London, Vienna…all incredible.

By the second half of the movie, it loses steam. It could’ve used 20 minutes cut out and what little script was written, shouldn’t have been so derivative.

That being said, audiences are going to love it.

I can’t go higher than 2 ½ stars out of 5.

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