The Official Blog of Author Tristan Vick
I took my daughter Solara (she's 5 yrs old) to the new Mission Impossible (M:i5). She loved it so much she wanted to watch 1-4 too. She burned through 1-3 in one night. Then watched the 4th, Ghost Protocol, the next day.
After all was said and done, she turns to me and says, "Daddy, I didn't like the 3rd one."
Me: "Really? Why is that?"
Solara: "Because! It didn't have the impossible thing."
Wow! I thought to myself. Very shrewd observation. She's 100% correct (BTW). But I wanted to tease out an explanation, so I asked, "What do you mean, honey?"
"Well, it has all the explosions," she informed me. "But there's no impossible thing. In the first one he's hanging in the secret room. In the second one Mr. Impossible hangs from the rocks. I want to do that someday! I want to be like Mr. Impossible."
"What about the 4th and 5th movies?" I ask.
"He climbs the tall building and hangs onto the plane."
"That's right," I say.
"But in number 3 there is no impossible thing!"
*Such a smart girl, I have! And good taste too. But the best moment was while watching Mission Impossible 2 and the car chase on the cliff, and the two Audi's spinning in tandem in super slow motion, my daughter turns to me with a deadpan face and in a dry monotone asks, "What are they doing?"
"The director of this movie likes to use slow motion," I tell her.
"Why?" she asks, obviously annoyed that the cars are STILL spinning.
I laughed out loud.
After her scathing review of number 3, I asked her which she liked better, number 2 or 3? She informed me, "I like Mission Impossible 3 better. It wasn't stupid like number 2."
She spoke my mind! She did go on to add that she liked the motor cycle chase scene with Mr. Impossible (that's what she calls Ethan Hunt aka Tom Cruise) at the end of number 2 though. And I agreed with her, that was the best part.
This time around the Government has disbanded the IMF citing that it is a reckless organization and a waste of tax payer dollars. Now, Ethan Hunt must track down a secretive organization known only as the Syndicate on his own while he evades their own attempts to track him down and kill him in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Out manned and out gunned, Ethan reluctantly accepts the help of his old team members as they piece together the clues of who's behind the Syndicate and foil their evil plot to assassinate foreign heads of state.
What I Liked:
The action sequences are insane! From the opening sequence of Tom Cruise running on the wings of a military cargo plane and then sliding down and hanging off the side as it takes off, to the underwater scene, to the car chase, to the motorcycle chase, to the foot chase, this Mission Impossible is the most action packed yet. And what's more, every single moment you feel wowed. That's action done right.
Also, the dialog felt snappy and fast, and the action is non-stop, this may be the most adrenaline filled Mission Impossible yet.
What I Didn't Like:
Sadly, I have a lot of nit-picks this time around.
My main complaint is that the story is overly simplistic and the main villain is a bad cliche of cliche villains. To the point that it actually hurts this film.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad movie, but just consider that with Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol we had the rather mundane story about a stolen nuclear missile that had to be stopped before the generic villain used it on innocent people. It was your classic cold war era story retold for the 21st century, and this one is even more cliche than that!
Now we have a secret organization so evil that nobody knows they exist. Except, their diabolical plan is to assassinate a foreign dignitary. Yup. That's basically the entirety of the plot. What you see in the trailer is basically what you get.
Of course, Ethan Hunt foils the organization in the first thirty minutes of the film, and the rest consists of chase scenes and big action sequences that carry the plot to it's finally where our heroes can confront the villain.
Although I liked the new female protagonist Isla Faust, played by the stunning Rebecca Ferguson, and a lot of time was spent developing her character, I feel that they sort of spent too much time on her.
Granted, her disavowed, double-agent gone rogue status plays an intricate role in the film's plot, it seemed to me the other characters got the short end of the stick in terms of character development or simply having anything interesting to do. Jeremy Renner's William Brandt character, who was intriguing in Ghost Protocol, falls flat in this film. Simon Pegg's Benji Dunn is given more screen time, which was good, but his character is locked-in as written and doesn't have any character arc to flesh him out more--so it seems all the additional screen time was for not. Meanwhile, Ving Rhames Luther has just slightly more screen time than he usually does, but just by a hair.
Additionally, this plot felt very similar to the first Mission Impossible if it had blended with the second and took elements from the fourth. You have your cat and mouse game, like the first film. You have your heroes breaking into a seemingly impossible location, like your first film and fourth film. You have your double agents, like your second film. You have your signature motorcycle chase, like your second film. You have your global threat like the second and fourth.
Overall, this film retreads old territory while containing a cliche plot, and if it wasn't so damn well executed it would be a terrible film. That said, the film is so well acted, cut, and put together with extremely well shot action sequences that you can ignore the story (what there is of it) and simply enjoy the explosions, car jumps, and motorcycle wrecks for what they are--mindless entertainment and fun.
What Bothered Me:
Okay, I've seen a lot of big loud action movies, but I've never seen what in which I actually kept noticing how terrible the sound design was. I was literally thinking, that sounds off, or that noise doesn't fit that particular thing that happened, or what the hell was that, a bicycle horn? The sound design of this film is way off the charts in terms of inaccurate or mismatched sound. Also, there are times when the loudness going on the screen overwhelms the music, and the music is the Mission Impossible scene, and if your sound and music are competing in a desperate attempt to see who can deafen the audience first, I think you need to tone it down a notch.
Even Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen, with all it's nonsense noises and weird robot sounds filling the entire film weren't ever so distracting that they took me out of the movie. But with Mission Impossible Rogue Nation I found myself thinking that this sounds off, or this sounds terrible, or questioning what sound it was altogether.
Final Two Cents:
This was the sixth and last film I managed to cram into my summer blockbuster viewing. Although it was a solid installment in the Mission Impossible franchise, I really don't see how much more they can simplify their plots while sticking to the same old formula which nearly every Mission Impossible has had since the get go.
Give me J.J. Abram's Mission Impossible 3 any day over the last two. Like Ghost Protocol, although extremely fun with well executed action, there simply is no story driving Rogue Nation and, I'm afraid, the series and its characters have all grown rather stale.
Without a real shake up in the next film, I fear this series is on its last legs. But would I recommend it? If you are a fan of action movies with insane stunts and lots of high-octane vehicle chases, this is an easy yes. But if you wanted something with the nuance of, say, the new Bond films, or wanted better character development, or, heck, for that matter a proper story line--then I'm afraid this one undercuts it all by a mile and it would be a hard sell. But then again, nobody really goes to a Tom Cruise Mission Impossible for the intricate story. Still, I wish this film would have been a little more clever with more to offer. Still worth seeing, I think, but just barely.
By day I am an educator and a cultural ambassador. By night I entertain notions of being a literary master. In reality I am just a family man and ordinary guy who works hard and loves writing just about as much as I love my family. Just about.