The action-spy franchise continues with another very satisfyingly entertaining instalment featuring Tom Cruise doing his own stunts
Tom Cruise (Edge of Tomorrow, Oblivion) reprises his leading role as Ethan Hunt in this fifth film of this franchise and apparently he did some of the stunts by himself again. According to the reports, he trained to hold his breathe for 6 minutes to film the underwater scene in a long single-take, and the vehicles in the car-bike chase sequences were clearly driven by the 53-year-old star himself as well. Very impressive, and more importantly, the film in overall, as a spy action flick, is simply awesome.
Reuniting with Mr. Cruise is writer-director Chistopher McQuarrie, who did Jack Reacher (2012) with him. McQuarrie came up with not only an intelligent script for the rather oversaturated genre, but he's able to pull off the big action sequences, and not to mention, in wide angle shots. The high speed car-bike chase sequences are incredibly engaging, unique, and apparently, they're all real, not CGI. The scene is not casually set up, it has a reasons to the plot, and it has a bit humour as well. Making a car spin 360-degrees in a narrow alley to hit two bikers -- I've never seen anything like that before. Brilliant.
The plot may seem a bit familiar and it's probably inevitable for such a long franchise -- the heroes have met their match, and they're also being hunt down by their own authorities (again). As successfully proposed by the CIA director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin), the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) agency is being shut down by the Senate oversight committee due to their lack of subtlety in their missions and agent Ethan Hunt has become a wanted fugitive for all the seemingly absurd chaos he's caused. But Hunt is on his own mission to prove the existence of The Syndicate, a criminal organisation that's always one step ahead of him and after its leader, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), murders an innocent agent right in front of him, Hunt would stop at nothing to capture him.
Like in the 007 franchise, there's always a new "Bond Girl". Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson (Hercules) joins the cast as female lead but not as an IMF agent. She plays Ilsa Faust, a mysterious member of the Syndicate who saves Hunt's life when he's captured at the beginning. The audience would be wondering if she's one of the good guys or it is all planned by the villain. There may be typical plot conveniences but there are also many smart twist and turns in the film, which I could not have predicted. Ferguson is one beautiful chick who can really kick some ass. She doesn't just pretentiously hold a gun like the vague female heroins in other films. She actually does some of the action in wide angle shots. And the final one-on-one fight? She's the highlight, not Cruise.
British comedian Simon Pegg (Man Up, The World's End) reprises his role as the comic-relief IT specialist Benji Dunn. He's hilarious once again. Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames are back as the loyal IMF agents William Brandt and Luther Stickell respectively but their roles are largely sidelined. It's mostly Cruise, Ferguson and Pegg in this one. However, the performances of the cast are good. Even Sean Harris (Macbeth 2015) for his antagonist role which we don't see enough of, actually.
There are two or three questionable parts in the film, like the unnecessarily more dangerous decisions that the characters make just to make things more thrilling for the audience. No matter how great the action sequences were, none of them made my heart race like the Burj Khalifa scene in the previous film, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, which is the best instalment in the franchise to me. Despite that, however, the film is thoroughly fun, action-packed, thrilling and has the right amount of humour. All the classic trademark Mission: Impossible elements in it as well -- cool gadgets, heist job, disguises, "self-destructing" message, etc. There isn't a single act in the film that's weak. The third act surprisingly doesn't end with only cliches. It turns into this cat-and-mouse game between Hunt and Lane to see if one could outwit another, but with lives at stake. And it's also pretty amazing how tastefully they used the classic opera tune Nessun Dorma throughout the movie.
Mission: Impossible 5 - Rogue Nation is a very worthy followup to the great previous instalment. It made me forget how much I was missing the original classic TV series that this franchise is based on, and how much despised the first film (1996) for turning the original IMF character Jim Phelps into a villain who dies in the end. If the franchise could go on to be as good or better, I certainly don't mind more sequels, especially when Tom Cruise is not a-must for the role of Ethan Hunt. In fact, they probably don't even need to keep the same characters.
Malaysia censorship: There isn't even a kiss and the scene with the girl coming out of the pool isn't even that sexy so there's nothing really to cut. However, there's a Chinese actress named Zhang Jingchu credited as a main cast playing a character named Lauren that I almost didn't remember seeing in the movie at all. Was her major scenes removed in the final cut or was it censored here? Or maybe her scenes are so unnecessary that they'd only be shown in China.
Second opinion: My girlfriend liked it as well, saying that it's interesting, exciting and thrilling.
Verdict: The second best instalment of this film-remake franchise.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Based on: "Mission: Impossible" TV series by Bruce Geller
Genre: Spy action
Running Time: 132 minutes
Writer-director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Rebecca Ferguson
Malaysia Release Date: 30 July 2015
Local Distributor: (no info)
Production: Skydance Productions, TC Productions, Bad Robot Productions
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