I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

tn_mi5It’s been a joke for quite some time that Tom Cruise, like Prince or Keanu Reeves, never ages. Actually, now he’s starting to show some age, and I like it. He has a few more lines on his face, a little more character. Good work, Tom. Also his new MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movie is good.

It has been a tradition in the series to have a respectable actor in a position of authority over Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his Impossible Mission Force team. In part 1, Jon Voight played the boss and mentor. In part 2, Anthony Hopkins sent Hunt on his missions. In part 3 there was Laurence Fishburne to question his actions, and in part ghost Tom Wilkinson was “the Secretary.” Now in part 5, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION (M:I-RN), we have the most involved of all of these characters, Alec Baldwin as CIA director Alan Hunley. He gets the entire IMF agency disbanded and tries to capture or kill Hunt, who is still in the field trying to finish his last mission.

What I’m getting at is that Alec Baldwin’s famous narrator voice gets to deliver a very good Just How Badass Is He? speech for Ethan Hunt, which includes the appropriately hyperbolic phrase “he is the manifestation of destiny.” That’s one of the many advantages of having Christopher McQuarrie aboard as director and co-writer. The man made JACK REACHER. He loves a good Just How Badass Is He? speech.

The series has mostly avoided continuity, which fits well with their different-director-each-time tradition. In this installment, though, there’s discussion of the Kremlin break-in in GHOST PROTOCOL and even the CIA headquarters break-in from part 1. Hunley says it happened toward the beginning of his career with the CIA. This is a huge missed opportunity to digitally composite footage of young Alec Baldwin into that scene. Hunt has disappeared into the vent with the NOC list, the puking computer tech comes in and sees the knife stuck in his desk, and then Baldwin circa-HEAVEN’S PRISONERS comes in and says “Excuse me, I’m new here, do you know which way the bathroom is?” Or whatever a new guy would ask. I think it would’ve been a really cool scene, you guys.

mp_mi5By part 3 it seemed like Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) would be the only supporting player to return in sequels. But Simon Pegg’s comedic cameo as Benji in part 3 grew into a full-fledged team member in parts 4 and 5, and part 4’s William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) – introduced to take over the series from Cruise, was the story going around at the time – now makes a really good side man, the guy in the suit who placates the bosses and then steps into the field when necessary. Renner also has a good comedic rapport with the others, especially Rhames, it turns out.

One thing that has been a bummer: never any returning women, other than Hunt’s non-agent wife (Michelle Monaghan), who was seen in 3 and 4 but he had to abandon her for safety purposes. Thandie Newton was very capable in 2, but she was a civilian. Maggie Q was badass in 3 and Paula Patton in 4, and she was present at the end when Hunt declared that “the only thing on that mission that worked was this team.” So I hope they at least asked her. Luckily, ROGUE NATION introduces the most formidable female of the series so far, and the one with by far the best name: Ilsa Faust (played by Swedish actress I never heard of before Rebecca Ferguson).

Ilsa is a stranger who Hunt first sees while he’s hung up shirtless in a torture dungeon. One of those meet cute scenes. She works for The Syndicate, “an evil IMF” who nobody else believes exists even though Hunt was told about them in his mission message at they end of GHOST PROTOCOL and they abducted him right out of a record shop that’s an IMF front (the “your mission if you choose to accept it” message is hidden on a jazz record that he has to play in a listening booth – pretty cool). Ilsa helps him escape, but stays behind, and he (and we) spend most of the movie torn as to whether to have faith in her because she helped him or assume she’s gaining his (and our) trust for a future betrayal. I mean, what does her name mean? Is she involved in a Faustian bargain, or is she Faust? We don’t know.

Whichever side she’s on she’s a total badass, clever and daring, able to defeat and disarm large men using awesome moves, even while wearing a fancy gown.

So Hunt is out there tracking the Syndicate, and when he fails to stop, say, an assassination, the CIA sees that he was there, and blames him. So it’s similar to the first movie in that he’s left without the resources of his agency, and hunted by his own government for crimes he didn’t commit. But because of the events of the previous four movies, this time he has loyal friends that he knows he can trust to help him. He doesn’t have to go to a list of other disavowed agents and risk working with a Jean Reno or a Dougray Scott. Ensemble teamwork is one quality that has thankfully increased as the series continues. Hunt is still the focus, but he’s not alone on a cliff. For most of the movie he has Benji, Brandt, Luther or a combination of them on his headset helping him, or else he’s the one helping them.

Hunt and his team are usually one step behind The Syndicate, and three ahead of the CIA. There are many clever tricks. At least one I figured out ahead of time, but it was fun anyway.

McQuarrie previously wrote for Cruise on VALKYRIE and EDGE OF TOMORROW, and directed him in JACK REACHER. I can’t say the action is quite as squeaky clean as in REACHER, but it’s not too far off, and there’s way more of it. The ad campaign was based around the incredible stunt sequence where Cruise hangs onto the side of a plane as it lifts off, clearly done for real. It’s a huge one-upping of part 1’s climactic Chunnel sequence, where he gets blown around on top of a train, but using green-screening effects that don’t hold up too well to the scrutiny of the modern eye. Surprisingly, this now-spoiled highlight is only the opening scene. And there are other maybe less death-defying but probly even cooler set pieces. (Of course Cruise has the airplane stunt under his credit at the end. I would’ve requested that too if I was him.)

I like the chase and fight that take place backstage at the Vienna Opera House. There’s a fist fight recklessly jumping from two planks hanging high above the stage, all nicely framed at least from the waist up, sometimes head to toe, no confusing closeup bullshit. But that’s immediately topped by a suspense scene where Hunt spots multiple gunmen seemingly with their sights set on a head of state in a balcony, and has to decide what to do. It’s all set to the music of the opera, with sheet music showing us the rapidly approaching note on which they’re supposed to fire. It’s the DePalma-iest MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE scene since DePalma’s MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.

And there are car chases. And an excellent motorcycle chase that seems heavily George Lucas inspired. In case George Miller takes another decade to do his next movie it’s good to know we got some guys who can capture speed and momentum on film. Also I’m glad Tom Cruise didn’t burn his fuckin knees off. He’s leaning down low on those turns.

And then there’s another homage to the first one when the team has to once again get past an impossible security system to steal a computer file. About this scene I originally wrote: Cruise must’ve really gone underwater, but it seemed more artificial to me than, say, the submerged kitchen scene in JOSS WHEDON’S ALIEN RESURRECTION. Yet it completely works with Hunt having to perform a simple task but while holding his breath and, it turns out, dodging a giant spinning thing. Meanwhile, we keep seeing Benji’s part of the caper, which we know is about to end in his death if Hunt doesn’t finish what he’s doing.

I almost feel like I owe Cruise an apology for that after hearing the Q&A Podcast about ROGUE NATION. Turns out it’s more real than I thought. He did a ridiculous amount of training to be able to hold his breathe for over 3 1/2 minutes for the scene. They even shot it as a “oner” before realizing that it worked better as a team effort. Makes me want to see it again, but I suppose it’s a compliment that I thought it was a great scene even when I assumed it was mostly a bunch of computery business.

There’s a specific thing that happens in this scene that I want to discuss, because it’s when I knew the movie really had me. But it’s a spoilerSPOILERspoiler, so kindly skip to the next paragraph if you haven’t seen it yet. When Hunt failed to open the hatch and started to drown I realized… oh shit, Ilsa Motherfuckin Faust knows he’s in trouble, she’s gonna zoom in and rescue him! And of course she does, but I didn’t see it coming that she would show up in her underwear, like some teen that ends up at a lake party without a swimming suit. I’m not the type to complain about a beautiful woman in her underwear, but what I love about it is that it shows this was not plan B. They did not prepare for this possiblity, but she comes through anyway. She does what it takes. That’s when she steals the movie. I was also thinking it answered the question of whether to trust her or not, but then of course…

This is a very entertaining movie, and I hope it gets McQuarrie in the directing chair more. It’s the kind of movie I like best in the summer, where it takes itself seriously, but also has a bunch of laughs. And there’s some strong “oh shit, how is he gonna get out of this?” tension. I wouldn’t say it matches the level of mastery that DePalma got to, that perfect balance of artful cinema and popcorn fun. This is nitpicking, but a couple times I thought it was just slightly off… like, the almost perfect lead-in to the title sequence felt like it was missing one shot, or one beat? Maybe that’s just me.

There’s an awful lot of fighting that goes on without the people nearby noticing it. Sometimes you just gotta suspend the ol’ disbelief, like in the great fight in the scaffolding, in which it seems like all the grunting and clanging would’ve been noticed by someone. Other times it kind of says something that nobody pays attention to them. When the team sits down at an outdoor restaurant and there are guns pointed and a bomb vest that’s counting down from three minutes, there are innocent diners just a few feet away, minding their own business and not eavesdropping. Like I pointed out in my recent revisit of DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE, these background bystanders raise the stakes, and also introduce this scary idea that the IMF are just barely stopping catastrophes right under our noses, and we have no idea. The world you live in is just a sugar-coated topping.

It got out during filming that they had to stop filming for a week to try to rework the ending. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “McQuarrie was given the extra time to work out a new and improved finale with a writer friend whose identity remains a mystery and who will neither be paid nor credited.” At this time I am prepared to admit that yes, I was the unnamed, unpaid, uncredited writer. To be honest though the lack of credit is fair, because all I did was try to sell McQuarrie on my young-Alec-Baldwin-trying-to-find-the-CIA-bathroom flashback idea, so eventually he asked me to leave.

(Actually it turns out McQuarrie said on that podcast that it was Dylan Kussman, an actor known for WILD THINGS 2. And DEAD POET’S SOCIETY. He was also in WAY OF THE GUN, X-MEN 2 and JACK REACHER, all McQuarrie-connected.)

That story sounded like bad news for the movie, but in retrospect it must’ve been a good idea, because I think this has a really good ending, and it’s such a companion to the opening that they must’ve reworked that too when they figured it out. The leader of the Syndicate, Solomon Lane, is played by Sean Harris, who I didn’t recognize from playing one of the assholes in PROMETHEUS because I swear they modeled his look after the police sketch of the Zodiac killer. He’s not a Hunt doppelganger who should have a fight with him like the villain of part 2, he’s a nerd with a gun, and we know how that sort of thing usually goes. They chase him into, like, a factory or something, he keeps shooting and shouting out taunts, eventually he plummets to his death or some crap.

They skip all that and do something much more simple, but also more effective. They outsmart him, they defeat him, and the whole team is present, posing, not flinching as he takes his last shots, and as he realizes he’s lost. It’s beautiful.

You know what I say? Mission acco– actually somebody already used that one I bet. How bout “this is one MISSION I’M POSSIBLy gonna see again at some point!” Nah, that’s obvious too. Anyway point is I liked it though.

acr_mi5

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2015 at 7:32 am and is filed under Action, Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

69 Responses to “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”

  1. This one was thoroughly entertaining, despite the non-escalation of spectacle that we have come to expect from this and every series. In a way, that’s what I like about it. After the for-babies GHOST PROTOCOL–which featured a villain so cartooney that his entire plan was to destroy the whole world with a big rocket for no reason. He even got conveniently killed by falling from a great height like your standard Disney bad guy–it was nice to see a big summer movie with the confidence to trust an adult audience to be entertained by suspense and silence and not spectacle and scale. It’s “adult” in the sense that its themes would not entice a teenage audience, not because it’s “fuckin’ hardcore, bro.” There’s a world-weariness to Hunt that comes from us knowing how long ago that CIA break-in was, and it’s shared by Ilsa, who is both the best thing about the movie and far and away the best female character in the franchise. Which, admittedly, is not that hard a bar to clear, considering the series had previously pretty much only featured women as eye candy or designated hostages, with the exception of Kristen Scott Thomas’ brief appearance in the first one. Ilsa was neither. She’s gorgeous but not flawless. She looks like she’s lived. She’s not some pore-free ingenue happy to be dragged from set-piece to set-piece. She’s an active participant in the plot, and not in the lazy heel-turn femme fatale way. Her motivations indicated a real inner life and agency that so many action movies refuse to grant their female characters. There’s more on her mind than Hunt. In fact, it’s more her story than his. I cared more about whether or not she would get out from under the thumb of the corrupt intelligence community than whether or not this latest criminal mastermind would be captured. I also like that it never got physical with Hunt. Her importance to him was as an ally, not a lay. There was more respect there than attraction. Goony-eyed teenage romance had no place in this story. It was a collaboration between grown-ups.

    But the way you know she was great is that Paul hated her. Irrefutable evidence for her awesomeness right there.

    Good movie. Not so much a reinvention as a refinement. McQuarrie’s on a roll. Cant wait to see what he comes out with next.

  2. My own crank missed opprtunity “complaint”:

    Ving Rhames plays pretty much the same character in ENTRAPMENT, that Sean Connery/ Catherine Zeta-Jones heist film. Make it so both films happen in the same universe so we can import Sean Connery or Catherine Zeta-Jones into the MI universe as those characters, through Luther Stickell.

    Or make a spin off Luther Stickell movie where all he does is go from one action drama ensemble cast to another action drama ensemble cast in different plots, as the same low key supplier/ hacker, always bringing the crucial key piece of equipment or essential hack in the nick of time. The movie is just about he goes from one subgemre to another and how he juggles all the prima donna demands and why he doesn’t raise his profile. Everyone thinks he is only their guy, when in fact all teams in all subgenres would fail if he decided to walk away. But he never does.

  3. The Original Paul

    August 3rd, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Majestyk – to be clear, I don’t hate the character, or the actor. I think the performance was fine (she’s certainly got more “badass” in her than Emilia Clarke). I hate what the story does with her. The “Is she / isn’t she” thing is as old and tired as most of the story points from this movie. Total waste of what should’ve been a badass character. What I also couldn’t get over, though, was how old she looked. Maybe it was just the print I was seeing, but the actress looked at least in her mid thirties or early fourties. With a Tom Cruise who looks less youthful than he has for decades now, it came off to me as a bunch of middle-aged people. Honestly it seemed like a symptom of just how tired and stale this series has gotten.

    The opera sequence was fantastic though. I’ll give it that. Perhaps the biggest disappointment for me with this film is that it started off really, really well. The opera sequence – great. The record shop – great. (That was pretty much the only time during this film that I was really surprised by what was going on.) The introduction of the villain – great. (Although he basically gets to do nothing and have zero personality from that point on. I do like the dramatic irony of his final capture though.) After that, though, it just fell apart. It had a couple of good action scenes and Simon Pegg, but other than that, not much else for me.

    And I completely disagree with Vern over the plot, by the way. This thing wouldn’t be out of place in a Scooby Doo episode (it even has a classic Old Man Smithers as the bad guy who turns out to be behind everything.) I know that both MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and Scooby Doo did the whole “mask” thing, but that’s pretty much where the similarities ended. Is it really necessary to lift tropes wholesale from a kids’ TV show and use them in a big-budget Hollywood movie that is itself a sequel to what’s probably one of the smartest big-budget summer movies ever made?

    Look, we all know I have issues with this series. And maybe you could criticise me for having unrealistic expectations. The problem is that those expectations were thoroughly met in the first MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. Is it asking too much for the sequels to at least TRY to come up with something unpredictable? It even does that thing where the Mole challenges the Bad Guy to shoot her, and the bad guy raises his gun – and shoots the guy behind her. (Never mind that I pretty much knew this was going to happen as soon as Isla started her “Either kill me or use me” speec, why exactly did he do that incidentally?) If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Yep, this series is not only ripping off 24, it’s now ripping off previous MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movies. And if you didn’t need the “Tom Cruise diving into a giant anus” scene to symbolise this series disappearing completely up its own arse, the fact that it rips off its own prequels does the job instead. Unforgiveable. But talking of which…

    Can somebody apart from me PLEASE comment on the fact that Tom Cruise gets to dive into a giant anus in this film?! I can’t be the only one who was thinking that, right? There weren’t many people in the cinema when I saw this one and I didn’t see anybody else sniggering, but come on… you can’t not think it!

  4. I thought this one was a lot of fun. Like Vern, I thought Cruise is finally showing his age, but he’s aging into one of those badass guys that looks like he’s hewn from a block of mahogany, except lighter in color. Anyway, badass but world weary. It went so well with what Majestyk was talking about – the intelligent action for adults. I thought both he and Ferguson played that scene at the end so well when *SPOILER* they were sitting and discussing their options and she said they could just disappear. The yearning and struggle and just plain being exhausted with their lives was clear as day in just a few silent moments. And Rhames, “Oh, boy” perfectly vocalized that.

    And, can I just say, I fucking love Simon Pegg? When he sees Brant and Luther in the other car and you just see his expression and how he points at them was my favorite funny moment of the movie.

  5. The Original Paul

    August 3rd, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Maggie – I’m more harsh on this movie than I might otherwise be (honestly the only thing that I really dislike about it is the constant Isla stuff… unfortunately, that’s most of the movie.) If it didn’t include her, wasn’t as predictable, and didn’t have the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE label attached to it, I’d be praising it as a good action flick, which is fundamentally what it is.

    Totally agree on the Simon Pegg bit that you highlight though. He was easily the best thing about this movie for me.

  6. The Original Paul

    August 3rd, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Disagree on the “intelligent” part though. This is not a smart movie. I mean, compare the heist in it to the heist in MI:1 (I’m sorry to keep making that comparison, but c’mon now.) It depends on a (literal) giant-ass coolant tube that will stop if a particle of metal gets swallowed, but can’t detect an entire human being.

    Y’know what they could’ve done to convince me this was intelligent? Put a fucking grate over the giant anus.

  7. Jeez, Paul, I’m sorry this one movie had an actress in it that didn’t look like she’s in her early twenties starring opposite a fifty-year-old man. That’s a perfectly valid criticism of a movie, it not being about young people. Movies are supposed to be about young people that’s a rule. I hope somebody got fired over that blunder.

  8. I wasn’t saying the movie was flawless by calling it intelligent. I personally was really annoyed by the attempt to make the audience think *SPOILER* Brant was betraying Ethan. I don’t know who they thought they were fooling with that. I just think overall it was nice to have some hints of depth to it like the scene I described.

  9. I thought Ferguson looked gorgeous. I would kill to look as “old” as she did.

  10. The Original Paul

    August 3rd, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Maggie – the bit you mention with Brandt… yeah… not only did it not work in this movie, but it had also been done before, and done better, in MI:4 (Brandt in MI:4 was to that movie what Isla was to this one. Although the way it was done bothered me far less. It wasn’t played as a series of “gotcha” twists like Isla, but as a way to slowly reveal the motivations of his character, thereby giving the audience an “emotional stake” in what happens to him. Basically, I like it when films withhold information for the sake of giving me a good mystery to chew on, or for the sake of making some kind of emotional impact; but I hate it when they do it for the sake of “outsmarting” me, especially when they utterly fail to do so. Funnily enough, the only moment in the film that I ever thought Isla might actually be bad was when she suggested they disappear together. This seemed to be so much the opposite of Cruise’s motivation that I thought they might be setting up a late-game twist.)

    Majestyk – no need for sarcasm. (I appreciate this is coming from the guy who keeps calling the coolant thing an “anus”, but again, how the heck can you not?) This movie could be full of eighty-year-olds for all I care (and a couple of my favorite movies are, for the record. Although I’ll laugh like a drain if they fill MI:6 with the cast of WAKING NED.) I’d still have a problem with it if it continuously featured tropes and scenes that looked like they were scripted before said eighty-year-olds were even born, which is my main criticism of MI:5. If you have a movie that’s stuffed full of tropes that come from the nineteen-sixties or nineteen-seventies, then fill it with actors who look like they were born around about the same time, don’t blame the guy who makes the obvious comparison!

    Also can I point out that you’re basically criticising the commentor here who’s probably been the most vocal about not judging actresses on their appearance rather than their ability (which I was very careful to avoid doing here when commenting on her age by the way), based on one completely out-of-context remark about one actress, and ignored my wider point? Don’t pull that shit with me please.

  11. “What I also couldn’t get over, though, was how old she looked. Maybe it was just the print I was seeing, but the actress looked at least in her mid thirties or early fourties.”

    Justify it all you want, but those are your words. You’re the one who said that an actress in her thirties looking like she’s in her thirties is a detriment to your enjoyment of the film. I think that says a lot about the double standards people have for men and women in the pubic eye. In the same review where Vern praises Tom Cruise for the character that the ravages of time have granted his face, you felt the need to criticize a stunningly beautiful actress for the entirely character-appropriate trait of not looking like she’s spent her entire life with cucumber slices over her eyes. I think that’s fucked up.

  12. The Original Paul

    August 3rd, 2015 at 11:30 am

    And again you take it out of context and ignore the next bit, which I’ll quote here.

    “With a Tom Cruise who looks less youthful than he has for decades now, it came off to me as a bunch of middle-aged people. Honestly it seemed like a symptom of just how tired and stale this series has gotten.”

    “Symptom” was the wrong word. “Symbol” is what I meant.

    But where was the criticism exactly? Where was it even implied that I was criticising the actress for looking old? That wasn’t my point at all, and I don’t see how it can be read that way.

  13. This movie was fun as hell. That long take of Cruise taking off with the plane actually stunned me when it hit me what I was watching.
    And Original Paul, please never change your name…its nice knowing which posts to skip.

  14. It did seem out of character for you, though, I’ll grant you that.

    As for your larger points, they’re just a matter of taste. The tropes you’re complaining about were old hat decades before the first movie came out. They’re just the kind of things that happen in spy movies. If I didn’t want to see those things, I wouldn’t go see a spy movie. But if you’re sick of them, I can’t argue with that. I don’t see what an actress’ apparent age has to do with it, though, especially when it wouldn’t make sense for a younger actress to play the role of a tired, world-weary veteran secret agent, which is why I disputed that particular point and not the others.

    Seriously, I know I overuse sarcasm but that shit you said kind of legitimately offended me. It just seems so hypocritical for a community that worships older action heroes and character actors to criticize this talented actress who looks lovely for her age or any other for not being a starlet anymore. You can claim ignorance but you said that her appearance made the film “came off to me as a bunch of middle-aged people” as if that is somehow an inherently bad thing. Why can’t films be about middle-aged people? What else is Tom Cruise gonna play? This isn’t WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, he can’t just pretend to be a teenager and get away with it.

    In any case, she’s still two full decades younger than he is. It’s not like they went nuts and gave him an actually age-appropriate leading lady or anything. This is still Hollywood after all.

  15. The Original Paul

    August 3rd, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Ok, I’ll withdraw that. You know what, “bunch of middle-aged people” sounds wrong. Derogatory, even. So fair point on that.

    Maybe if I could restate the point I was trying to make, it would be something like this: MI:5 movie uses tropes that I’ve seen for years. The twists and turns are the same that I’ve seen in other movies, down to scenes being flat-out replicated (as was the case when, for example, Benji said “I misjudged you” or Isla challenged Lane to kill her.) There’s a certain “style” of storytelling, and it’s really iterative. It’s not bringing anything new or unpredictable to the table.

    So – getting to the age point – maybe this movie is trying to appeal to an “older” audience in the same way as something like WHITE HOUSE DOWN was. I think I said something along the lines of “it feels like slipping on a comfortable old pair of slippers” when talking about WHD. The problem with doing this with a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movie is, well, it’s a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movie. The reason I love the first one as much as I do is because of its intelligence, wit, and unpredictability. Heck, I’ve watched it four or five times and I’m still spotting things that I didn’t see before. I just don’t see this ever being the case with MI:5.

    You talk about this being for an “older” audience as a sign of its intelligence. Well, with the greatest of respect, I don’t see it that way. I do agree with it being for an “older” audience, but in this case, it’s not a positive thing. I feel like it’s aiming at – even pandering to – the people who thought the original MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE was “too confusing” (which might also be read as “too smart”). The people who want their MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movies to be the same predictable action fare that they’ve come to expect from other series. And that’s not what I want. That’s why I say this movie feels “old”. And that’s why the noticeably older cast feels like a symbol of this.

    The next obvious question is: why does this bother me so much when something like GENISYS did not? Well… I absolutely love THE TERMINATOR and T2. And there’s no doubt at all that GENISYS is a far worse movie than MI:5 on many, many objective grounds; there’s certainly no high points like the scene Maggie mentioned, or the Opera scene, or even the motorcycle chase, in GENISYS. But when it comes down to it, THE TERMINATOR and T2 were horror movies with love stories that had a sci-fi bent. There are lots of horror movies out there, lots of sci-fi movies out there, lots of love stories out there. I don’t think THE TERMINATOR or T2 did anything unique in the same way as MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE did. They just did what they did exceptionally well.

    MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, on the other hand, is unique. I couldn’t name you another movie, let alone another blockbuster, that does what it does. And that’s what I’m missing from the sequels. They’re just action movies. Sometimes pretty good ones, true; but I want more than that from them.

  16. The Original Paul

    August 3rd, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I wrote that last post before seeing yours, but I think I’ve answered it.

  17. I get your points but I think you took an off-putting way to get to them that ended up hurting your credibility. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and believe you didn’t mean your remarks the way they came across and we’ll just put it behind us.

    I will say that I don’t see what’s so original about the first one. It’s a good movie, no question, but the twists are pretty standard “the mentor is really the villain” stuff, the kind of thing you’ll see in a BLOODFIST sequel. The suspense set-pieces are flawlessly executed because it’s De Palma, but he’d been doing much more striking stuff for decades before that. M:I was his cash-in movie, where he took all the tricks he’d been building up with more outre material and used it for a remake of a fuckin’ Baby Boomer TV show starring the biggest movie star in the world. Hardly a high risk personal passion project. It’s a good movie but I suspect your fanatical attachment to it has more to do with it being the first movie of its type that you’d seen at that point in your life than it does with any inherent originality in the movie itself. No sequel could ever live up to that, even this one, which is closer in tone to the first movie than any of the other sequels, which basically tossed out the suspense and the twists altogether in favor of pure action.

  18. The Original Paul

    August 3rd, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Oh, and “matter of taste”, as you put it, is exactly right.

    It feels like I have this same conversation with every passing MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE sequel. Especially #3. The AICN brigade loved the shit out of that film. It was exactly what they expected it to be. Whereas to me, much more than MI:5, it was pretty much the greatest embodiment of mediocrity that I could imagine. There was one scene that had any impact to it at all, and they put it right at the start of the movie. Everything after that was totally derivative and predictable. And to some people that might be a positive thing – heck, I enjoyed WHITE HOUSE DOWN for much the same reason, and that used just about every stupid action movie trope imaginable, right down to the President having a priceless artefact close to his chest that ended up stopping the bullet that would’ve killed him – but not with this series. We’ve seen how good it can get.

  19. The Original Paul

    August 3rd, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    “I will say that I don’t see what’s so original about the first one.”

    I’ve answered this one before, but I’ll say again: mostly the character of Ethan Hunt. I don’t think there’s ever been a better portrayal of pure human intelligence on-screen. Maybe Kurt Russell in THE THING comes close. Other than that, I got nothing. And that’s coming from somebody who’s seen a lot of mystery, suspense and spy movies, from Hitchcock to Film Noir to modern action to seventies’ Cold War thrillers and just about everything in-between. The stuff Cruise does with his eyes in the original MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE is astounding. It conveys so much. There are scenes where there are three or four “layers” going on – someone is trying to fool someone else, that someone else might be aware of it but might be trying to hide it, etc – and they work perfectly because the actors, especially Cruise himself, convey all of this perfectly.

    And yes, the suspense is good, the twists are good – heck, I think the construction of the film is damn near flawless, at least until the action scene at the end – but there are plenty of other films that do this. (THE USUAL SUSPECTS springs to mind.) All of this is good, but it isn’t unique. Ethan, however, is unique. I’ve never seen another movie protagonist do what he does, in terms of the way Cruise conveys his thoughts through the most subtle of gestures and eye-movements, the way he relays them to the audience, the way there can be several “layers” of deception going on at once. That’s what I’m missing from the sequels. They not only made Ethan Hunt fallible, they took away the intelligence that he had.

  20. What if Tom Cruise spends a shitload of money to make behind the scenes footage look as if he would really do all those death defying stunts? I mean, what else would a super rich person do with all his money?

  21. The most welcome thing about this movie aside from the heavy amount of team work was that it brings the tension from part 1 back in full force. There were a lot of legitimate nail biting “stealing the list”-esque scenes. DePalma would’ve given McQuarrie a pat on the back. Also loved that it paid tribute to the crazy bike stunts from part 2 by reminding us that Ethan is a crazy fucking biker. Most of all I loved that they avoided the same mistake GOLDENEYE did with the fate of Bizarro Ethan Hunt.

    Really I don’t think it’s arguable. This is the second best in the series so far. They even made a character that I hated in part 3 and just found superflous in part 4 (Benji) into someone I finally gave a damn about. Best part? they seem to have a pseudo-Jim Phelps again. Unless Baldwin is conspiciously absent from part 6.

  22. Oh and Ilsa was brilliant. I damn near clapped when she delivered the killing blow to “right hand man”. She’s like Ethan Hunt’s Catwoman.

  23. A friend of mine was out bike riding a while back when he texted me to say a plane kept zooming past him over and over.

    A little later he texted again, saying he was pretty sure a man was holding on to the side.

    Sure enough, the next day we found out it was Tommy doing the now famous stunt.

    So yeah, he really loves doing that shit for his art and God bless him for it. I still hate GHOST PROTOCOL though. Just thought I’d add that.

  24. Man, I love Tom. Not ashamed to gush. Yeah, in an early scene with Tom (where he’s sitting kinda side on in half darkness), it was apparent he’s starting to show his age. And it’s a good thing. He looks like he’s been around the block a few times. Personally, I like the idea of getting weathered in as I approach my mid forties. The crows feet around my eyes, my dark hair getting lighter as the grey’s come through (I will never ever be one of those middle age guys who colour their hair, even my daughter has been unsuccessful in trying to talk me into it).

    Something I admire about my favourite actors like Cruise and Cage amongst others, is that they don’t let themselves go as they get older, they look fairly fit. I used to have fluctuating weight in my teens to early thirties because I didn’t really know much about diet, or value exercise that much. But I seem to have found a routine that’s worked for the past decade or so that’s kept me fit enough. Light to moderate weights that I do at home (fuck the gym), and lot’s of fresh air walking around the neighbourhood. I live half an hour from the north-western basin of the Blue Mountain range, and I also try and go there for a big bush walk about once a month. (I like long romantic walks on the beach and candlelight dinners – just kidding). I attempted jogging for a brief period, but it seemed too rough on the ankles – I’ve got a high instep in my feet. So walking is good enough for me.

    Point is, just because I get older, doesn’t mean I have to let myself go. Clint is another good example. He always seemed to be doing push ups or chin ups, or jogging in some of his movies like HEARTBREAK RIDGE or EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE, and he was well into his late fifties at that stage.

  25. Ms. Ferguson and I were born in the same year (the year RISKY BUSINESS was released!). I’d say she’s aged much, much better than me and most of the men and women of similar age I know.

    I mean to be sure I guess she’d have to grow out her beard so we could compare the number of white hairs in it to mine but

    I think my favorite thing in this movie is how out of it Ethan is after he (SPOILER?!) almost drowns, and how that doesn’t really slow him down. He knows he’s chasing that lady for some reason so he puts his head down and plows forward while his brain finishes rebooting.

  26. Rebecca Ferguson looked lovely. I don’t think her age made her look out of place with Cruise at all.

    My thoughts on ROGUE NATION align with The Original Paul. It’s a good and enjoyable film but its not as fantastic as a lot of critics say. None of the stunts for example match the Dubai scene in GHOST PROTOCOL.

    The Underwater break in? Was done much for suspensefully in MI: 1 and the Kremlin scene in Ghost Protocol.

  27. ironcupshrug- I was born 2 months before her and she looks significant older than me. However that’s genetics for ya and also a more stress free lifestyle than an actors. I have extreme peace of mind which has helped me a lot in terms of health and appearance.

    I still have my hair, I don’t have any grays and I have like 2 wrinkles at most with little prominence. I still get carded and get pegged at 5 to 10 years younger than 31 depending on who you ask. But again; genetics. It’d be foolish of me to expect my fellow 30 something year olds to fall under the same umbrella.

    With that said she’s still very attractive and I do think that the fact that she didn’t look wet behind the ears really helped sell her character greatly. More movies should aspire to do that. Same with casting Belluci as a Bond girl.

  28. Saw it today. Liked it a lot.

    I had no problems with Ferguson’s looks, (apart from that she looks identical to Kelly Oxford from Twitter) however I did get distracted by Attley’s baldness. It’s a strange pattern he has there, the hairline is perfect at the front with not much behind it except these wisps that, when combed back, stand up like a framework for where the rest of the hair should be. I’m impressed they managed to clone it so exactly for the disguise.

    I did think the sketch of the villain that Hunt drew looked a lot like Simon Pegg. Would have been cool if Ving Rhames had taken a look at it and then turned to Benji. “You got something you want to tell us, motherfucker?”

    Pretty cool how the team worked together, all taking a turn to save Hunt’s arse from an untimely death (spoilers): Benji opening the plane door, Ilsa digging out her handy defibrillator after Hunt drowns, Brandt running over the gunman.

    Also, during the opera fight: Was the assassin a really tall guy, or was that a gag about Cruise being short?

  29. Um… Did I inadvertantly kill this thread?

    Guys?

    Guys…?

  30. I also thought Pegg and the villain shared an uncanny resemblance, Jimbolo. When he got weirdly all up in Pegg’s face in that one scene, I half-expected him to say “We meet again…brother.”

    That would have been really, really stupid but it might have been worth it to see Benji have some personal stake in what’s going on for a change.

  31. In defence of Paul, he highlighted some cool things about the original MISSION IMPOSSIBLE a few weeks back when Vern reviewed it. We all occasionally think some stupid things, though most of us have operational filters so we try and refrain from voicing them. Paul, your filter may be fucked, and due for a major service, but you are still gold.

  32. Saw it today and really had a good time with it, though there are some weird things about. Five entries in and I think EVERY MI movie’s plot has involved Hunt having to steal something for the villain. Only ONE of them doesn’t feature Hunt going rogue. And in this one, oddly, Simon Pegg gets to do more action stuff than Jeremy Renner. But Ilsa was great, the villain was creepy and the action stuff was good. I also liked the climax, even if surely those gunshots should have ricocheted? Seeing Tom Hollander and Simon McBurney as the PM and head of MI6 was funny though, as they have a completely reversed power dynamic in the BBC sitcom REV. Also, Hollander in that role lets me imagine the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE universe and the IN THE LOOP universe are one and the same, with Hollander’s character somehow managing to pull off the greatest political comeback ever.

    “That would have been really, really stupid but it might have been worth it to see Benji have some personal stake in what’s going on for a change.”
    It does stick in my mind when I watch spy shows or movies where there’s a non-American member of a US agency, because you never see it the other way around. And then in the latter half, when they have a conversation where they keep saying “British Intelligence”, the fact Benji’s British isn’t even alluded to.

    Majestyk- “After the for-babies GHOST PROTOCOL–which featured a villain so cartooney that his entire plan was to destroy the whole world with a big rocket for no reason. He even got conveniently killed by falling from a great height like your standard Disney bad guy”
    In fairness, M, the villain DID have a reason for initiating a nuclear war: he thought the world would be stronger coming out of the destruction. It’s crazy logic, but it’s still a motivation. Also, his death by falling wasn’t a “fall”. He intentionally throws himself from the great height to try to keep Hunt from stopping the plan. He’s a villain who puts his goals over his own survival, which is a rare bit of integrity in a blockbuster villain.

  33. No, I get that. They’re just superficial similarities. But I actually like the movie a lot more when I look at it as a PG animated feature. The tone and plot finally make sense to me when I apply cartoon logic to them.

  34. GHOST PROTOCOL was as stupid as M:I 2 if you look at it strictly on the surface but I also feel that was part of it’s charm. It was a very entertaining movie. Maybe it felt so animated because Bird brought some animation filmatism quirks to live action with it but there in lies it’s genius. It’s on the completely other side of the spectrum from the Abrams one.

  35. @ The Original Paul – If you would like to see where the originality of the first MISSION IMPOSSIBLE stems from I recommend two films both from the great director, Jules Dassin; RIFIFI (1955) and TOPKAPI (1964). They are extraordinary heist films that both break the genre mold in different ways. Rififi is a hard boiled crime thriller that features an extended, totally silent heist sequence that makes Ethan Hunt’s excursion into CIA headquarters seem like a walk in the park. Topkapi is a breezy, fun international heist thriller that puts the team dynamic of the whole M:I series to shame. The line up of stunning character actors is amazing and the final heist sequence will take your breath away.
    If you would like to see where DePalma got his inspiration for M:I look no further than these two classic gems.

  36. I used to like M:I 2 back in the day. But returning to it did me no favor. The worst part of it is how the female lead in the beginning is treated like she is a strong independant woman (of course she is a thief!) but ends up being passed around between the male leads like a toy. This is a problem that is not exclusive to this particular movie, but it still wrong and hard to defend even in the ol timey days of 2002.

    I don´t think I even like the action that much anymore either. Even though I got a kick out of them watching it in theatres.

    The best part of it is that they use Hitchcock NOTORIOUS as a blue print for the plot, because it means you can follow the damn thing quite easily.

  37. I recently watched MISSIONS I to IV in one sitting to cure me of my Cruisitis, and this time I found #III to be the weakest. But I like that they’re all quite different. And none of them are bad.

  38. Maybe the blatant malechauvinim in part 2 is made to be tongue-in-cheek, I don´t know but I find the female part to be almost to the detriment to the entire film.
    Part 3 is least memorable, both in plot and action however.

  39. Shoot, that could be Thandie Newton’s acting too. She tends to send out this “deer in the headlights” vibe in every movie she’s in.

  40. I thought this was pleasant, likable, but also might be the first MI movie I don’t have any desire to see twice. (I mean, I’ve even seen the 2nd one twice just to make sure it was as bad as I thought it was!) The action is competent, the story is fine, the acting is good. I don’t have any real complaints other than I saw alot of the twists (and reversals of twists) coming a mile away. I know Paul’s already apologized for some ill-chosen words above, so I’ll go easy on him but re-iterate that not only is Ferguson really really good-looking in this movie, but also the most memorable thing about it. It’s a real star-making performance, and who cares if she doesn’t look like she’s in her 20s. This movie is about Ethan Hunt meeting two equal, mirror-image versions of himself – (the villain is 49 by the way), and Ilsa is supposed to have been experienced enough to have been disgraced earlier and tired of the game – if Ferguson wasn’t so perfect in the role I’d argue she should be played by someone even older! (Wait, per wikipedia Ferguson has an 8 year old son in real life. I hate the whole “MILF” thing but Good Lord, what a MILF)

    One minor sorta-complaint – SPOILER – I wish she got with Ethan in the end. I know I just complained that the kiss in Edge of Tomorrow was unnecessary, but for some reason i didn’t want it to happen there but really wanted it happen here (maybe it was McQuarrie’s re-use of the opera music for those last two scenes, playing with our emotions). Either way, people can continue to shit on Cruise, but what other actor would essentially take a back seat and give the juiciest stuff to two strong, bad-ass women two summers in a row?

  41. Yup. Loved this one. It was the little details (like cruise scuffing his knee and reacting to it while leaning into a turn on the bike), and the wonderful symmetry of the ending that really made this feel like the kind of really-well-made summer movie I always worry has disappeared. Great stuff.

    I wonder who the next director will be?

  42. Shoot, before we get too carried away with the MI2 dissing, may I humbly remind you of your card-carrying status as a defender of batman and robin (lower caps intentional)? I hereby challenge you to a chest-bumping contest! Dammit, see what you’ve reduced me to..?

    Seriously though, I love MI’s 1 & 2 about equal, and I’m purely biased because I love DePalma and Woo’s cinematic flair and how they make each one distinctively their own. I can’t say the same about Abrams, Bird & McQ. They’re good workhorses and I’ll put McQ above the others because he’s got a closer kinship to badass cinema with his WAY OF THE GUN and shows more originality than the other two.

  43. I just saw it today and loved it. Thought the action set pieces were first rate. The opera sequence was great suspense and directed. I loved Simon Pegg being Ethan’s sidekick and the friendships with Renner and Rhames. Rebecca Ferguson was definitely the highlight. Herc she was in the recent Dwayne Johnson version of Hercules as Ergenia. A more critically acclaimed role was in the historical TV mini-series “The White Queen” where she played the lead Elizabeth Woodville, the wife of King Edward IV. Original Paul, she’s 32. She’s not young but she’s certainly not old(and I didn’t think she did in the movie) I think it works that she looks like an experienced spy who’s seen and done a lot of bad shit and it has already wearing on her. Interesting to hear about the ending being changed. I’m glad they did because it’s actually more satisfying to see the bad guy locked in a cage being gassed just as he did to Ethan in the beginning of the movie.

  44. poeface-BATMAN & ROBIN (caps lock intentional) is a worse film overall. But its camp value is undeniable. The ….wait how the hell did THAT movie slip into this thread?!

  45. I’m worried now that this has screwed THE MAN FROM UNCLE a bit by coming out so close to it, and that people will have their spy fill till SPECTRE and not bother going to see TMFU. I’m really sold on UNCLE and I’d hate for a repeat of when THE LOSERS got overshadowed by A-TEAM and EXPENDABLES.

  46. Kinda fitting, since the success of the M:I franchise is the only reason it exists in the first place.

  47. The Original Paul

    August 6th, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Darryll – RIFIFI has been on my “to watch” list for ages. I’ll definitely check it out sooner rather than later now that you’ve said that. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I think I said this elsewhere, but I liked the irony of Lane’s fate in this one. Definitely one of the more satisfying moments in the film.

    I thought Ferguson’s performance was good (again, I hated the constant “gotcha twists” of the character, but not the character herself). The trouble is, any badass-waif performance is going to be compared to Emily Blunt’s in EDGE OF TOMORROW. And that is just not a comparison that you want to invite.

    I’ll probably see THE MAN FROM UNCLE if it gets decent reviews. Another of those shows I grew up with but don’t remember too much about (much like MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE in fact).

  48. I think if UNCLE fails it would be based on it’s own merits. It just doesn’t look all that interesting in the trailers. “Oh it’s Superman with the guy who was once going to play Batman and they’re putting on really suspect foreign accents. Hooray!” said no one.

  49. I don’t think waifs have shoulders like that.

    Though when I watched FURY ROAD I was def thinking “damn, it’s too bad Edge of Tomorrow came out within the last 12 months ’cause I just can’t accept this tough one-armed lady in the shadow of Emily Blunt, who has the market cornered on women who do more than knit and talk about dudes for *at least* the next decade”.

  50. The Original Paul

    August 6th, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Ironcup – good call on Charlize Theron. Can’t believe I forgot her.

    I will stick to my guns about Blunt though, at least as compared to Ferguson. They both have some badass moments action-wise, so it really comes down to character. That scene where she asks Cruise why it matters whether she lives or dies hit me harder than anything than anything Ferguson did in MI:5.

  51. The Original Paul

    August 6th, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    “than anything… Ferguson did in MI:5”.

    Yeah I have no idea how that typo even happened.

  52. You should watch RIFIFI, Paul. I would rank RIFIFI just beneath THE ASPHALT JUNGLE as the best noir film of the fifties.

  53. I enjoyed it, just slightly less than Mission: Ghost. Faust was really badass, though I initially mistook her for the chick from Luther. All her running up people reminded me a bit of Onk Bak, just less elbows and such. I dunno, I felt the stakes were just a tad lower in this runaround, and the whole underwater bit wasn’t as bollock-squeezing tense as the glass climbing bits last time. Still, a sound summer movie, well worth a watch.

    Curious Aside – I wonder if Simon Pegg would have believed you 20 years ago when he was doing Spaced that he’d be sharing so much screen time with Tom Cruise.

    I’m a pessimist, and while I was fooled into thinking Benjie was gonna die in this one, it’s getting to the point where Hunt and his Team are pretty much unstoppable/unkillable now. Like the Avengers, despite how bastardly the bad guy is, we know from the offset it’s not going to be enough. Maybe this is why I wasn’t as sold as last time?

  54. The Original Paul

    August 7th, 2015 at 3:42 am

    Shoot – I’m definitely going to do that. I’ve heard of it before, but it’s just not something that’s really been on my radar. I will try and remedy that.

    And people – if I ever sound a little dismissive of FURY ROAD, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the film. I saw it in pretty much the worst conditions possible and still thought it was a good film. And that’s despite not generally being a fan of the MAD MAX series or post-apocalyptic genre generally. I honestly envy all of you people who went to see FURY ROAD in the cinema and didn’t come out of it with a recurrence of twenty-year-old hearing problems.

  55. Just got back from seeing M:I 5, and I’ll just vouch for all the positive comments. Ilsa is really great. I also love that McQuarrie sneaked in some of the Casablanca obsession he’s had since The Usual Suspects. At this point, I actually think that I enjoy McQuarrie’s work more than Bryan Singer. Not to knock Singer. I liked the latest X-Men, but I get far more excited learning about new films from McQuarrie than I do about Singer.

  56. Paul, I don’ think you really get what Ilsa’s arc even was. Once she had that meeting with what’s-his-face (Atley?) it became clear this was not a will she/won’t she story. Rather, it was a story about whether or not she was going to be able to get out of this game she has gotten sick of. That’s why I think it’s reasonable to go so far as to call her the main character of this movie, because her motive mirrors that of the villain, who also wants out of this accursed game but has chosen a very different means to achieve that.

  57. To continue me and Paul’s discussion from the forums, I will agree that Rhames isn’t really used well here – him and Benji are basically both magic computer hackers, so it would be redundant for him to be on the main team. Which is why I guess he got sidelined, but then he’s also kind of redundant on the Baldwin/Renner pursuit team! Speaking of which, does anyone know why he (basically) sat out MI4? Btw, I think without question Luther’s best role was in III, where you really got the sense him and Ethan were old friends and equals, talking about personal stuff while making the PSH mask, Luther trying to talk him out of marriage, trying to talk him out of dumping PSH out of the plane, etc…

    Speaking of this and character arcs, I might be a bit slow but I didn’t understand everything going on w/ Benji’s storyline – during the interrogation, he seemed kind of spiteful towards Ethan, saying they weren’t friends and he had no loyalty to him, and he passed the polygraph test. Then a few minutes later, he seemed more than happy to help Ethan once they got back in contact, so did Benji learn to beat the polygraph test? Or was the story/arc that he truly was mad at Ethan, and didn’t think they really were friends, but learned at the end (through the bomb scene) how much Ethan cares for him? I like the second theory better but it seemed a little undercooked and muddled. I think that arc would have worked better for Renner, who hasn’t been on as many adventures with Ethan as Benji has, and their shaky relationship was the whole crux of the last movie. Plus how much better would the bomb scene at the end have been with Renner? I think alot more of us would be willing to buy Renner dying than Pegg (especially b/c Renner was in the trailer so little most of us thought he died in the opening scene, or at least I did)

  58. neal he found a way to always lie on the polygraphs. He even says it when he meets with Ethan and goes and I’m paraphrasing here cause it’s been days since I last saw this movie “I may lie to that polygraph machine every week but I’m still your friend”.

    I do think it’s a shame that Rhames doesn’t have more of a presence in these movies.

    The original showed a lot of promise and I looked forward to seeing Ethan Hunt and Luther Stickell as #1 and #2 of the IMF squad respectively but it seems like he hasn’t really earned that #2 spot despite being the only recurring actor outside of The Cruiser.

    Perhaps the next one should be focused around Luther narrative wise and give him that well deserved character development he has earned over the last 19 years.

    It would be appropriate. After all I hated Benji for the last 2 movies because he was a caricature. In this one McQuarrie made him an actual character and I ended up liking his presence in these movies finally. He is now officially the Martin Landau of this version of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.

    It seems in general that they’re going more and more closer to the ensemble exploration of the TV show with the sequels. They even seem to be including more elements from the show like The Syndicate. This is a smart move since they have stuff like U.N.C.L.E. gunning for the throne. Making the M:I movies more like modern versions of the shows would help them stand out going forward. So in that spirit like the shows had episodes that focused on different individual team members the movies shall do the same with Ethan as a major player but not always the focus.

    This one sort of did that with Benji to an extent and definitely with Ilsa (does anybody NOT see her eventually coming back and joining IMF?) so I feel they need to keep on that path and do the same next time with Luther. Making it a more personal story for him and showing us sides of his character we haven’t seen yet. They got nothing to really lose by doing that and honestly where else can they really go at this point with Hunt?

  59. I had a lot of fun with THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The movie could have probably did with a bit more action, but the characters, spy stuff and overall still were really well done and the films full of great lines(“Be sure to take it like a pussy”).

  60. ^overall style. Oh and I got a weird message where I had to enter my e-mail address and leave a note requesting access to get that last comment posted for some reason

  61. The Original Paul

    August 15th, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Phillip – nah, I understand perfectly. It was precisely the fact that after that scene with Atlee they’re still trying to make her look suspicious that I object to. Although having said that, the best example is that scene near the end where she proposes that they just disappear, which is so much the exact opposite of everything Cruise and his team have done up until that point that it was pretty much the only time in the entire film that I thought she might actually turn out to have her own agenda. The exact same thing happened with a treacherous character in the original MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, don’t forget. Is that supposed to be a coincidence? I know I’ve given this film some stick for not living up to the legacy of the original, but I can’t believe they didn’t have the original MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE in mind when they wrote this scene. Honestly I think it’s one of the best scenes in MI:5. It has the emotional hit that Maggie has pointed out earlier in the comments, but it also has enough genuine ambiguity about the characters’ motives – or at least about Isla’s – to give it an extra bit of tension.

    (The “treacherous character suggests they give up and disappear” thing is another trope, by the way, and the last time I remember this trope happening was in an episode of ALIAS – directed by the same guy who did MI:3, by the way – when a character proposes that he and protagonist Sydney just give up fighting and disappear together. Sydney is tempted but refuses this offer. Ten minutes later said character is revealed as a treacherous assassin-for-hire and the major secret antagonist of the past three or four episodes. My point is that this is another trope of this type of movie and it’s normally associated with traitors and turncoats. At any rate, I think it’s clear enough that they filmmakers put it in with the intention of making Isla look suspicious.)

  62. The Original Paul

    August 15th, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Stu – I got the same thing. Just put in the Captcha and it works fine.

  63. But Paul, what are we talking about here when we say she’s suspicious? I figure we are talking about whether or not she is working with Solomon, right? We’re not just talking about her having her own agenda, right, because she quite clearly does and that is never in debate after the Atlee meeting. But also once that meeting with Atlee happens her identity as a villain is no longer an issue of debate, there is no suspicion at all. Solomon is trying to woo her still, as we see from the abortive exchange scene, but there is no hint at all that she plans to work for him or is allied with him beyond the horizon of her own personal necessity. Solomon knows that, and so do we. If there is a spy genre trope in here, I think it’s being subverted. The character really does want to go away with Cruise because she thinks this game sucks and she thinks he might feel the same way.

  64. The Original Paul

    August 19th, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Phillip – I agree about the subversion, which is kinda my point. My point is simply that we’ve seen the “character offers Tom Cruise the chance to get away from it all” thing before in this series, and the character in question turned out to be a treacherous double-agent. Ilsa has just gotten rid of Atlee, she’s duped Lane – who’s to say she’s not duping Cruise as well? Again, this was the only point in the film where I actually thought she might turn out to be an antagonist.

  65. I liked this one. And as a fan of Jens Hultén (from the Johan Falk-series) I am glad to see he got to do more than in SKYFALL. Apparently his character was a lot smaller to begin with, but McQuarrie liked him so much so that he gave him a couple of scenes in which he and Ferguson speaks swedish (second Cruise movie to feature Swedish.) It still is a one-note henchman character and it´s not clear why these two characters speak swedish, but it was kind of fun to see Seth Rydell appear next to Ethan Hunt. Also I remember Ferguson from an old really rubbish tv soap opera from the 90´s. Glad to see her career went in the right direction.

  66. Also, there is something hilariously oppressive about “weekly polygraph tests”. I loved that bit.

  67. I also think the balance between goofy spy shit and suspension works well in this one. Even more so than in almost every other installment, except the first one which is on par. It doesn´t have a setpiece that replicate the suspense of the skyscraper stuff in the last one, sure and in hindsight I REALLY wish I saw GHOST PROTOCOL in the cinema for that sequence alone. But the operahouse sequence, the underwater stuff and the bike chase delivered more in quantity enough so that I was satisfied. And you guys can keep discussing the plot, which is the same kind of unimportant blablabla as standard of these type of films. I don´t really think they´re interesting enough to think about. Although, this time I felt it was much easier to follow than usual.

  68. I´ve been rewatching a lot of the old tv episodes. It strikes me how little of the shows spirit is in these movies nowadays. It´s more about the set pieces than the cleverly designed sting operations. They are more MISSION IMPLAUSIBLE than IMPOSSIBLE. A shame really. Did enjoy part 5, though. Especially since Jens Hultén was in it.

  69. Meet the women of Mission Impossible 6.

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