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Non-Review Review: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation moves like the clappers.

The movie speeds along through a selection of impressive stunt work and setpieces, constantly ramping up the tension and raising the stakes. The threat is constantly larger, the game ever more deadly. The film escalates and escalates, to the point where foreign heads of state are nothing more than pieces on a chessboard, fodder for impressive action sequences and swift double-crosses. In a way, this is the approach that made Mission: Impossible III and Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol taken to its logical conclusion. Momentum is key.

Cruising...

Cruising…

However, there are points where it feels like Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation hits the limit of this approach – that it serves as a control case to demonstrate just how far you can push this sort of suped up storytelling without breaking the emotional tethers that hold all this together. There are several major emotional beats in Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation that simply don’t land because the film has never eased its foot off the gas long enough to develop any of its characters beyond familiar archetypes.

This is perhaps the biggest problem with the film, but writer and director Christopher McQuarrie is shrewd enough that he never lets it get entirely out of hand. If the movie’s biggest emotional moments never have the necessary punch, that is not enough to sink the film; there is always another big action setpiece or another reversal or another tense thrill ride waiting after this underwhelming character beat. Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation might move so fast that it seldom has room for its characters, but it also moves so fast that this is seldom a fatal flaw.

Winging it...

Winging it…

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Non-Review Review: Mission Impossible

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

I can understand you’re very upset.

Kitrich, you’ve never seen me very upset.

Tom Cruise really wants to be James Bond. I mean, I think that’s the driving force behind the Mission: Impossible films, an attempt to construct an American James Bond franchise around the character of Ethan Hunt – they certainly aren’t the biggest of the blockbuster movies, and yet Cruise has used his influence to produce a trilogy of films (with a fourth one in the works). Between that and Knight & Day, I think the role of a globe-trotting secret agent action hero just appeals to the actor. I think he pretty much wants to be an American James Bond  and – truth be told – I think he’s a great candidate for it.

Just hangin' out...

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Non-Review Review: Mission Impossible II

The single best description of this movie I have ever read was that it was “a two-hour long shaving commercial.”

I hope that thing has Cruise control...

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