I know it often feels like this is Bond, James Bond’s world and we’re all just living in it with rather less panache than he does (and nowhere near enough martinis, shaken, not stirred), but I have lately had the feeling, the Bond franchise’s renaissance under the dashing Daniel Craig notwithstanding, that there are better modern spy movies to be had in the Bourne and yes, Mission: Impossible franchises.
I grant you that Tom Cruise is not everyone’s cup of cyanide-laced tea but as Ethan Hunt, head of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF), he has been nothing less than resolutely impressive as a spy willing to do anything to save his team, and yes, of course, the world.
The last outing for the franchise was back in early 2012 in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which saw Ethan and the team, which included Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner, subjected to all manner of life-in-mortal-peril situations such as plunging 100m down in a carpark, dangling 113 stories from a sheer glass skyscraper over the desert of Dubai and being rather too close to the Kremlin blowing up into small teensy-weensy pieces.
It was, as I described in my review, “a classically good action movie, updated with a good heaping’ helpin’ dose of post modern sensibility, emotional gravitas, reasonably well rounded characters and a plot that actually had a modicum of consistency and believability to it.”
And the now the same indestructible team, with the addition of Rebecca Ferguson as a glamourously mysterious operative who ends up helping Ethan escape a rather precarious, doomed-to-die situation, are back in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, directed by Christopher McQuarrie and produced by J J Abrams, Tom Cruise and David Ellison.
As is the usual case, the IMF are up against it in a big way, being pursued by a shadowy team of highly-skilled, remorseless operatives known as the Syndicate – the Rogue Nation of the title – who only job it seems is making Ethan and his team dangle not from any more skyscrapers.
Or in the case of the full and teaser trailers released in the last few days, from the side of a fast-taking off Airbus A400M plane whose door is stubbornly refusing to open with the never-say-die Ethan clinging grimly to its side.
It looks like the latest entry in the Mission: Impossible franchise has all the hallmarks of the series well and truly, and most pleasingly, in place – bombastic over the top action, an earnest mission, tongue nevertheless most firmly in cheek, some humour, elegantly-orchestrated action set pieces and the sort of camaraderie than can only come done when you’re a tight knit team facing down unstoppable, well-equipped enemies.
In short, everything I love about this gloriously over-the-top franchise.
Bring it on … but get me in the plane first please!
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation opens in USA and UK on 31 July 2015 and in Australia on 6 August.