Riding the coattails of the surprisingly good Mission, Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011), M.I. 5, Rogue Nation (2015) is a solid homage to the spy thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock.

Tom Cruise once again dons the role of Ethan Hunt, a secret agent with I.M.F. (Impossible Mission Force). Hunt is after an alleged group known as “The Syndicate”, whom he believes is causing global terror. Meanwhile, C.I.A. Chief Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) has I.M.F shut down and attempts to track down Ethan Hunt. Ethan must outwit both “The Syndicate” and his own government if he is to prove the necessity of the I.M.F.

By now, Tom Cruise is a given when it comes to big screen popcorn entertainment. He attacks every role like his life depended on it. Your average Hollywood celeb won’t hang off a plane thousands of feet in the air for an audience! Cruse will. Tom will risk his neck, if only to make one new fan.

But, what would a movie star be without good material? Christopher McQuarrie (screenwriter of The Usual Suspects and director of Jack Reacher) has done his homework. Clearly he is a student of the spy genre and even pulls bits from classic films. The opera scene is reference to The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934). There is also a female agent with questionable motivations, a nod North by Northwest (1959).

Feminists will be glad to see Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) a spy who is just as cunning as her male counterparts. Faust can charm you when necessary, out-shoot you and then leave you eating her dust on a long stretch of road! The character separates Rogue Nation (2015) from generic, testosterone-fuelled action movies that mass audiences have accepted without question.

McQuarrie tries to breathe new life into an old genre and the effort is admirable. The script contains enough twists and turns to throw a smart audience off-balance. The action sequences are well-shot and edited. First person camera angles put you right in the middle of heart-pounding chases! Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg even did ALL of their own driving stunts! {according to IMDb}

* The villain Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), gets an honorable mention from me for that quietly menacing voice and demeanor.

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation (2015) is an honorable tribute to espionage films. Despite some clichés, it’s good to see McQuarrie’s respect for the father of the spy genre, Alfred Hitchcock. Respect for your elders still exists in the recycling center known as present-day Hollywood.

-Curtis Parvin 8/20/15

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