Wednesday 29 July 2015

Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation ... Too much cruising

I FOUND Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation interesting for two reasons, despite its lethargy.
    Firstly, Malaysia is mentioned in the first few minutes of the film and viewers get a bird's eye view of its capital, Kuala Lumpur. Somehow, an IMF agent can tap into Russian security systems at the top of the KL Tower. Why? Pourquoi?

  Our estimable hero, agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Hunt), then mentions a plane with 236 people on board that disappeared over the Pacific without a trace. This refer to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8 last year.
   The second interesting part is tough, agile and beautiful MI6 double agent Ilsa Faust, played by Anglo-Swede Rebecca Ferguson. In fact, if there's one redeeming part in this film, it's her.
    She stuns viewers with her lithe body, lissomeness, dark hair, piercing blue eyes and the ability to jump on a man and bring him down with a wrestling-like leghold.
    Ilsa is the pivot on which the film turns. Without her, it'd just be another spy film about a double agent, discredited agents, breaking into an impenetrable facility, and car and motorcycle chases.
Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) and Ethan (Tom Cruise) shoot their way out of trouble.
   I feel that writer-director Christopher McQuarrie, who directed Cruise in Jack Reacher, was more than willing to give a chance to Ferguson to lead the film.
   Agent Ethan is battered and bruised in this film, and Elsa reminds him that she saved him twice from certain deaths.
   Ethan chases Ilsa on a motorcycle on a mountainous and curvy road in Morocco, with baddies in pursuit. Thus, I don't think this can be compared to the car race on a mountainous and curvy road in Spain between Ethan and Nyah (Thandie Newton) in M:I-2.
   I enjoyed the film whenever Ilsa was in it. There was no romance between her and Ethan, although she must have quivered a bit seeing Ethan/Cruise topless and flexing his sinewy body early on. I liked the part where they shot their way out of a tight spot with only one gun but depending on each other to guide them out of it.
   Ethan reprises the part from the fourth film where he dangled outside the Burj Khalifa in Dubai without seemingly any safety harness, and most importantly, without any edit in the scene.
  In the fifth film, he dangled outside a cargo plane door that went airborne without seemingly any safety harness, and most importantly, without any edit in the scene.
Every guy's dream.
   The Rogue Nation in the title is about an anti-IMF secret organisation, the Syndicate, that keen's on sowing chaos in the world.
   No one has heard of it its existence, much less about its head, Lane (Sean Harris), who tests Ilsa's loyalty by getting her to kill the Austrian chancellor at the Vienna opera house.
    There's a cat-and-mouse game going on behind the scenes at the opera house, with Ethan doing his best to stop Ilsa, a gargantuan blond killer and another male killer from committing their dastardly act. This goes on while Puccini's Nessun Dorma is sung below on stage. In fact, this aria is heard throughout the film.
   Back in the good ol' US of A, CIA director Hunley (a deliciously assertive Alec Baldwin, enjoying a renaissance) demands the closure of IMF during a congressional hearing, blaming it for a string of attacks across the world, for example, the explosion at the Kremlin, which appeared in the fourth film.
Ilsa makes a splash.
   Brandt (Jeremy Renner) repeats the familiar "I can't comment" refrain, much to the exasperation of Hunley and the legislators. Renner was so much more engaging in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Here, he looks constrained by his tight-fitting clothes, and Cruise doing all the running and jumping.
  Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) provides levity in an otherwise mundane film. He demands to be out in the field but looks decidedly ill at ease when up and about. Both he and Ethan, as well as lascivious males in the audience, enjoy the view of Ilsa stepping out of a pool in a black bikini.
   In conclusion, I was hoping the film would self-destruct after five minutes.

2½ out of 5 stars 


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