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Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 131 minutes

OK for children.

This fifth installment could be the best of the series. The stunts are terrific. Lalo Schifrin’s theme music is still wonderful. The story presents Tom Cruise, who once again claims to do his own stunts, playing Ethan Hunt, with impossible obstacles to overcome. The pace is driving. Rebecca Ferguson is beautiful and inscrutable and certainly doesn’t look like someone named Ilsa Faust.

The film opens with Cruise clinging to the outside door of an A-400 jet as it’s taking off. While I and everyone else assumed this was accomplished in a studio with lots of CGI, everyone claims that it wasn’t. What is shown on the screen is what actually happened; the plane took off with Cruise holding onto the outside of the door of the jet.

There’s another stunt where Cruise goes underwater and has to hold his breath for an extraordinary length of time (3 minutes). They claim that he performed this stunt, too, and had to shoot it 8 times.

But for me the best of the stunts involves a long motorcycle chase on BMW’s s1000rr sport bike that is breathtaking. The camera locations, the speed of the bikes, the audio of the motors buzzing; I was thinking Steve McQueen’s 1968 car chase in “Bullitt!”

Along with all the stunts, the story is a good one with bad people who might be good people and vice versa, and a fine, evil villain. My only criticism is creating the evil organization (“The Syndicate”) out of whole cloth when there is an evil organization already present in the world. In the 1940s, the bad guys in the movies were always Nazis, who really were the bad guys. But in today’s world, even though the bad guys today are known by everyone as Islamic extremists, the studios are apparently too cowed to make them the bad guys in their movies.

But that's a minor criticism and certainly isn't more than an inconsequential annoyance in what is a very entertaining movie.