Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation trailer reaction

RogueNation1What goes around comes around, again and again. Mission: Impossible originally ran for 171 episodes from September 1966 to March 1973, then for a further two seasons fifteen years later before being launched as a movie franchise in 1998. Hugely successful, with global takings of over $2 billion for the first four releases, unlike other movie franchises the release schedule has been slow and notable for each entry having a different director, Brian De Palma, John Woo, J J Abrams, Brad Bird and now Christopher McQuarrie, a writer/director who has a long association with Tom cruise, returning as both star and producer in what will no doubt be another showcase for his physical skills.

Originally slated for release on Christmas Day, in a move almost unheard of the release date has been advanced over five months, meaning this summer blockbuster will self destruct in just over four months time. The first trailer has been released, and the team have accepted the mission…

RogueNation2Dario Persechino – My view of the Mission: Impossible series has always been that Tom Cruise really wants to be James Bond.

Taking out the team at the start of the first movie set the tone for what followed as a vehicle for Cruise to get as close as he would ever get to a double-O number. The movies were standard action fare with peaks and troughs but rarely felt like Mission: Impossible.

That changed with Ghost Protocol. It was back to a team working on missions, and with a good cast. Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg made excellent additions taking the camera focus away from Cruise enough that it did not feel like a one man show. The trailer for this has me slightly worried that balance may have shifted back.

A good team is present and the return of Ving Rhames to the franchise is excellent, but the trailer focuses on Cruise stunts with the occasional Pegg comic relief line. While the action sequences look good, how many quirky stunts can you really do before it becomes old hat? I am hoping Alec Baldwin will get a decent amount of screen time, and the idea of a counter-IMF does at least give the potential for competent villains. While I am hoping for a second Ghost Protocol, the trailer has not lit my fuse.

RogueNation5Adam Dworak – Tom Cruise in his prime! What else do you need? He jumps, he kicks, he rides a plane. This man can do no wrong and he is a guarantee of a successful movie.

The problem is… the movie itself. It’s just another “spy” story. After Bond, Bourne and dozens of other movies from that genre what can we expect that is new and exciting? I am afraid nothing.

And while it’s nice to see Simon Pegg’s international career is growing it’s a shame that this talented actor has been reduced by Hollywood to comic relief.

RogueNation3Michael Flett – I was indifferent to the first two Mission: Impossible films – I didn’t even see the first one at the cinema, and the second one was only notable in that the delays kept Dougray Scott from playing Wolverine in the first X-Men movie, for which we are all eternally grateful.

Unexpectedly, I loved the third one which felt so different from what had gone before, playing with the format not only in a pre-credit sequence cliffhanger not resolved until half way through the film but in the audacity of the ideas – a helicopter chase through a wind farm! Plus, Michelle Monaghan, whom I adore. And Philip Seymour Hoffman. And Billy Crudup. What a cast!

RogueNation6But Ghost Protocol blew me away utterly. I remember saying at the time that Brad Bird, who had just made The Incredibles, directed it like he was still doing animated, putting the camera wherever he wanted, getting incredible footage, and it was also the first time that Tom Cruise had felt vulnerable in a film, that it looked like the stunts actually hurt.

This looks… good. It looks professional. Unlike so many of the big action franchises it doesn’t play up the cheese factor, it goes for the wow but plays it utterly straight, but Christopher McQuarrie has his work cut out for him.

I’ve not seen either of his two previous films as director, The Way of the Gun or Jack Reacher, and of what he’s written – Usual Suspects, Valkyrie and Edge of Tomorrow were certainly passable but not outstanding. I avoided The Tourist and Jack the Giant Slayer with no regrets, and from what I understand from the reviews, that was the right choice.

So what have we here?

“The time has come to dissolve the IMF…”

Doesn’t this smack of the plot of the first film? In fact, doesn’t this smack of the plot of Ghost Protocol, too? Ethan and his team working outside the scope of the organisation.

RogueNation8I have no doubt this will be entertaining, and certainly they have confidence in it, bringing it forward five months – I just hope that means they have time to finish everything as they planned, that it’s a sign of confidence and preparedness rather than Force Awakens panic.

I’ve never been a fan of Alec Baldwin, and he seems to be playing the same role as Jon Voight did in the first one and Billy Crudup did in the third. The Syndicate are the anti-IMF – well, having defeated Quantum James Bond is taking on SPECTRE this year, Chuck Bartowski had Fulcrum and the Ring, so I guess it had to happen, but it seems to be following rather than leading. And wasn’t there a backstage fight at the opera in Quantum of Solace?

RogueNation10Yes the stunts will be spectacular, but the story has to come first. Though that closing moment with the aeroplane… if they’re showing that in the trailer, hopefully that means they’re saving something even bigger for the night of release.

Simon Pegg is apparently being Simon Pegg, which is fine, but he’s proved he’s capable of more than that so hopefully he’ll get the chance to show just how good he can be. It’s always good to see Ving Rhames. It would be nice if this was a proper ensemble piece rather than a Cruiser vehicle – oh, look, and the contractual “Tom Cruise running” sequence…

I don’t know Rebecca Ferguson at all, but she seems quite at home in the role, though it narks me how many times she’s taking her clothes off in this clip. Though Tom Cruise gets his top off too. He’s fifty two years old. How does he still look like that? Has he given up actual food and just exists on the Scientology diet, consuming the life force of babies?

Les Anderson – And Alec Baldwin is just five years older than him. I try to avoid Tom Cruise films – I find him too smug for my liking. Although he was bearable in Edge of Tomorrow.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is scheduled for release on 31st July 2015 and will also screen in IMAX




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