Mis­sion ac­com­plished again

Tom Cruise’s fran­chise jug­ger­naut has no signs of slow­ing

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ON STAGE -

CALL it testos­terone­fu­elled reck­less­ness, hubris or feel­ing the need... the need for speed, Tom Cruise cer­tainly puts on a show in the fifth in­stal­ment of the Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble fran­chise.

He clings to the side of an air­plane as it takes flight, slaloms at dizzy­ing speed on a mo­tor­cy­cle and per­forms death-de­fy­ing leaps as se­cret agent Ethan Hunt.

The 53-year-old star per­forms most of these hair-rais­ing stunts him­self, al­low­ing writer-di­rec­tor Christo­pher McQuar­rie to cap­ture ev­ery pulse­quick­en­ing sec­ond in thrilling close-up with min­i­mum dig­i­tal trick­ery.

Cruise’s com­mit­ment to his role puts fel­low ac­tion stars to shame – un­like the films of Stal­lone and Sch­warzeneg­ger, the script is de­void of wry one-lin­ers to poke fun at his ad­vanc­ing years.

McQuar­rie, Os­car-win­ning screen­writer of The Usual Sus­pects, book­marks slam-bang ac­tion se­quences with in­ten­tion­ally am­bigu­ous ex­changes be­tween ri­val op­er­a­tives, who ac­knowl­edge the fu­til­ity of their ef­forts as pawns in the spy game.

Their in­evitable deaths will go un­no­ticed and fresh-faced young agents will step for­ward, con­tin­u­ing the bru­tal tug-of-war be­tween po­lit­i­cal ide­al­ism and global ter­ror­ism.

The film opens with the Im­pos­si­ble Mis­sions Force (IMF) hi­jack­ing a ship­ment of nerve gas from Chechen sep­a­ratists.

Soon af­ter, CIA Di­rec­tor Alan Hun­ley (Alec Bald­win) suc­ceeds in shut­ting down IMF for a to­tal dis­re­gard for pro­to­col, which led to the de­struc­tion of the Krem­lin in the pre­vi­ous film.

The hun­ters be­come the hunted when a shad­owy or­gan­i­sa­tion known as the Syn­di­cate, fronted by Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), tar­gets IMF for ex­tinc­tion.

Hunt covertly re­unites with col­leagues Wil­liam Brandt (Jeremy Ren­ner), Benji Dunn (Si­mon Pegg) and com­puter hacker Luther Stick­ell (Ving Rhames) to bring down The Syn­di­cate us­ing ev­ery gad­get, dis­guise and turbo-charged ve­hi­cle at their dis­posal.

The op­er­a­tion brings Hunt into close con­tact with un­der­cover MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Re­becca Fer­gu­son) and her slip­pery han­dler (Si­mon McBur­ney), a sadis­tic hench­man known as the Bone Doc­tor (Jens Hul­ten) and the un­sus­pect­ing Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter (Tom Hol­lan­der).

“This may very well be our last mis­sion,” Brandt tells Hunt. “Make it count.”

Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble – Rogue Na­tion is slickly bolted to­gether by McQuar­rie and editor Ed­die Hamil­ton (Kick-Ass, Kings­man: The Se­cret Ser­vice).

Turbo-charged scenes of car­nage are punc­tu­ated by IMF’s ex­is­ten­tial cri­sis in a world that re­gards their meth­ods as ‘out­dated’.

Cruise som­er­saults, punches and tum­bles through ev­ery frame with­out break­ing sweat, while Pegg, who was pi­geon-holed as comic re­lief in the pre­vi­ous in­stal­ment, steps up in a piv­otal sup­port­ing role.

Fer­gu­son’s ice maiden doesn’t thaw suf­fi­ciently un­der Cruise’s smoul­der­ing gaze to kin­dle on-screen chem­istry, but her femme fa­tale snaps sev­eral limbs and necks in im­pres­sive hand-to-hand com­bat se­quences.

Hu­mour is used spar­ingly to dif­fuse ten­sion, leav­ing us hun­gry for another ex­plo­sion of IMF an­tics to the pul­sat­ing rhythm of Lalo Schifrin’s iconic theme.

On this ev­i­dence, Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble and its gung-ho lead­ing man won’t be self-de­struc­t­ing any time soon.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and Ilsa Faust (Re­becca Fer­gu­son) team up for Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble – Rogue Na­tion

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