Review for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
The IMF organisation is under investigation for misconduct, so it doesn’t help that it seems that Ethan Hunt is on a self-appointed mission to find and bring down the shadowy Syndicate, an anti-IMF devoted to using covert means to bring down governments, economies and sow mayhem around the world. He finally comes face to face with the leader of the Syndicate, only to be captured and interrogated. It’s only with the aid of a mysterious woman in the ranks of the Syndicate that he’s able to escape. He may have finally obtained proof of the Syndicate’s existence, but it’s too late, the IMF has been closed down, and he’s been disavowed as a rogue agent. He’ll have to continue the hunt on his own, his only lead, that mysterious woman.
Rogue Nation’s 2.40:1 widescreen 1080p transfer is as good as, if not better than that given to Ghost Protocol. The image is clear and sharp, although it too gets the orange and teal colour timing that is practically obligatory for action movies these days. Detail levels are excellent, colours are rich and consistent, and the Abrams lens flare is present and correct in another Bad Robot production. Once again a Mission Impossible film thrills with its locations, sets and action set-pieces and it all looks fantastic on this disc. Even the occasional moments of black crush that I noticed in Ghost Protocol are absent here.
Gone are the days of lossy audio in Mission Impossible films as we actually take it to the next generation with Rogue Nation’s English Dolby Atmos track. My setup managed 5.1 of the core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD track, and that sounded fantastic by itself, a rich, enveloping and vibrant surround experience that really inserts you into the action, envelops you in the music, while the keeping the dialogue clear throughout. You also have the choice of DD 5.1 German, Spanish, French, Italian and English audio descriptive, with subtitles in these languages plus Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish.
Once again we get a smattering of EPK featurettes, and if you actually wanted more than that, you had to suffer Paramount’s offensive strategy of splitting extras across various store exclusives and formats. Got to buy ‘em all! The disc boots to an animated menu.
On this single disc release, you’ll find a very useful audio commentary from Tom Cruise, and director Christopher McQuarrie.
Lighting the Fuse (5:57), Cruise Control (6:33), Heroes... (8:06), Cruising Altitude (8:23), Mission: Immersible (6:45), Sand Theft Auto (5:35), and The Missions Continue (7:08), are your ephemeral and forgettable behind the scenes peeks.
Tom Cruise is the new Jackie Chan! It’s not just the fact that he does many of his own stunts, to the point that he winds up in casualty, although the sheer nuttiness of swinging around outside the Burj Kalifa like Tarzan, or clinging on to a plane taking off both deserve special mention. But when you listen to the commentary, check the IMDB trivia comments, you’ll see that modern Mission Impossible movies are made like the kung-fu flicks of old. They come up with the action set pieces first, and then stitch them together with some spy-flick plot threads. The difference is that those kung-fu flicks often looked threadbare, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation has some decent embroidery to its plot, enough to make the story hang together well.
The fifth Mission Impossible film offers something new for the franchise, a nemesis for the IMF that rivals Thrush in the Man From U.N.C.L.E, or Spectre in James Bond, an organisation put together purely to act in opposition to Ethan Hunt’s employers, and with a villainous lead charismatic enough to carry the film with presence and malicious venom, and with an understandable motivation, certainly an improvement over Ghost Protocol’s Hendricks.
Despite its ‘put together on the fly’ nature, I like the story in Rogue Nation, a more cohesive plot that gels well, the villain is certainly an improvement on before, and in terms of the action stakes, Rogue Nation is the most impressive Mission to date. The weak point for me is in the character writing and interactions. Certainly the Mission Impossible movies have always been Tom Cruise star vehicles, and naturally he’s always front and centre, but in Ghost Protocol, there was more of an ensemble feel to the cast, the IMF team felt like just that, a team. In Rogue Nation they seem to be more antagonistic, pulling in different directions, and while early on in the film Benji and Ethan start working together, you don’t see that level of interactivity with the rest of the team until the climax of the film. Ghost Protocol had that going through its narrative.
Mission Impossible joins the ranks of its forebears as another great piece of bubblegum entertainment, a summer blockbuster to happily much your popcorn away to, and it proves that for me, Mission Impossible 2 was just an overly stylistic blip. It certainly bodes well for the sixth in the franchise, out next year, delays for Tom Cruise’s broken ankle notwithstanding.