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Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

The last Mission Impossible movie, "Ghost Protocol" was one of my top 3 flicks of 2011. My hope going into the latest installment, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION was that it wouldn't be too much of a letdown.

Letdown? NO. This is by far the best MI movie and exceeds the last great installment in every way.

In the best pre-titles sequence since "Skyfall", we find Ethan Hunt (the ageless Tom Cruise) running over the top of/hanging off of a massive airplane filled with chemical weapons. You've seen some of the footage in the trailers, but you haven't seen the best of it. The fact that it's really Cruise hanging on that plane does make a difference. He's all in, and you will be too.

After an excellent title sequence, the adventure is off and running. Hunt and his team are facing two adversaries this time.

Alec Baldwin is new head of CIA Hunley, determined to shut down the IMF as a reckless agency. At the same time a secret, rogue organization is financing and executing terrorist operations around the world to destabilize governments. Called "The Syndicate", they are escalating their mayhem quickly as the IMF is taken out of commission.

The entire film finds Hunt and his team also as a rogue operation, battling against time to discover the head of the terrorists while hiding from the CIA.

Jeremy Renner is back and solid as Brandt, Simon Pegg is excellent in comic relief as Benjy, their computer expert hungry for the field and Ving Rhames is back as Luther.

The smartest addition to the cast is Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust. She helps Ethan escape capture early on, but left us all twisting and turning the entire film on just whose side she is really on. Ferguson is a complete bad-ass. Whether she is leading a high speed bike chase through Morocco, beating up men twice her size at a rapid pace or slinking through the opera in an evening ball gown that hides plenty of weapons, she ranks up with Ripley and Sarah Connor as film's best female action heroes.

What Tom Cruise has always done extremely well as a producer of the series is bring in a different director each time to craft a different vision for each chapter.

This time, he reunites with his writer/director from one of last summer's most under-appreciated films, 'Edge of Tomorrow" Christopher McQuarrie.

McQuarrie crafts a clever story that spins the pieces of the "Impossible" legacy in ingenious ways, keeping you off guard of what you "think" you know about the IMF.

His early sequence in which Ethan accepts his latest mission in the London record store is very smart, taking something you are already enjoying as a clever spin on a familiar piece and then flipping it on its head.

The motorcycle/car chase through the streets of Morocco is fantastic. When you think its over, Cruise jumps on a bike and takes it to the next level for another five minutes. Excellent.

The assassination sequence in the Vienna Opera House is a fantastic mash-up of Brian DePalma & Alfred Hitchcock as you watch many players with many motives converge around and above the stage. Excellent.

The ending is satisfying, smart and fun.

I loved Michael Giacchino's music in "Ghost Protocol" but composer Joe Kraemer takes it to the next level here, taking the original Lalo Schifrin themes you know from the TV series and elevating it into a full orchestra take that feels like John Barry in his OO7 peak form. The music is always present. If you don't normally notice film music, listen from the opening Paramount logo through the end of the main titles and see if Kraemer (who Cruise brought aboard after Jack Reacher) doesn't blow you away.

This isn't just the best film of the summer, it's my favorite film of the year so far.

If you are seeking action-filled, fast & exciting fun at the movies, accept the mission and check it out on the big screen.

A perfect summer entertainment and a fantastic A+, with a well deserved spot in my all-time Top 100.

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