Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mission: Impossible 5 -- Rogue Nation

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
Ethan is traversing the globe looking for the leader of the Syndicate, an independent organization and "rogue nation" that sows the seeds of discord and instability throughout the world.  He crosses paths with Ilsa, a mysterious agent who seems to be playing all sides, and they work together to steal a file that contains the Syndicate's bank records.  The Syndicate kidnaps and ransoms Benji in exchange for the data, and Hunt looks for a way to bring the Syndicate down while saving his friend.

Memorable Quote:
I can neither confirm nor deny details of any such operation without the Secretary's approval.  ~Brandt

The opera scene, despite being somewhat derivative of the opera scene from Quantum of Solace, is fun and well choreographed, and the operatic music lends some gravitas.

The opening scene with Ethan hanging off the plane is overly goofy and CGI'ed.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Ilsa has a rabbit's foot key chain, a subtle reference to MI3.
  • 17:44 mark -- the bad guys are horrendous shots as Ethan runs away down the narrow tunnel.  You'd think they were trying not to hit him. 
  • 41:35 -- there are hundreds of people in the square yet no one sees Ilsa and Hunt sliding down an 8 story-length rope.
  • Shouldn't the intelligence community be supporting Hunt given his service record?  It's like how in every season of 24, Jack Bauer's superiors end up distrusting his motives despite the fact that he saved the world during the previous season.
  • They stipulate that they can't take oxygen tanks into the underwater chamber but what about one of those little breathing sticks (which you see in movies and almost certainly don't work in real life)?
  • Why would Hunley, given his suspicion of Brandt, allow Luther to man a computer at headquarters under Brandt's supervision?
  • With all due respect to Tom Cruise, is it possible he's getting too old to play the super spy?  He pulled it off this time around, but there were moments where I thought, "He's getting old."  And just last month he broke his ankle filming MI6 which shut down production.  It could be time for Ethan to transition to a mentor role (à la Anthony Hopkins in MI2) and leave the heavy lifting to a young buck. 
  • I like how they pretended that Julia doesn't exist -- they should have just done that in Ghost Protocol also instead of the weird cameo at the end. 

Final Analysis:
A surprisingly good movie!  I say surprisingly because I had only seen once before in the theater before now, and I didn't think much of it at the time (in fact I had gone into this thinking that it was the worst movie of the lot).  But often it takes me a few viewings to warm up to an action/adventure movie, and this movie is not only significantly better than Ghost Protocol, but I'm going to (gasp) rank it slightly ahead of MI3, something I never saw coming.

The tone of the movie is solid -- there's some genuinely funny moments (e.g. the banter between Renner and Baldwin, Cruise failing at jumping over a car) without it being too much or over the top.  There's also a better Benji in that he's funny but not as cartoonish as he was in MI4. Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa) and Sean Harris (Lane) both give great performances (Harris has a fantastic villain voice), and Baldwin is solid as a supporting character.  And all in all the plot was pretty clever and the scenes were fun and rewatchable.

So that wraps up the Mission Impossible project!  At least until MI6 comes out on video -- I'll see it in the theater but will need a second viewing to process everything.  As for next steps with the blog, stay tuned!

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