Reviewed by: Curtis McParland
|Featuring:||Tom Cruise … Ethan Hunt
Jeremy Renner … William Brandt
Simon Pegg … Benji Dunn
America Olivo … a villainess
Alec Baldwin … Head of the CIA
Ving Rhames … Luther Stickell
Rebecca Ferguson … Ilsa Faust
Hermione Corfield … Shop Girl
|Director:||Christopher McQuarrie—“Jack Reacher” (2012)|
“Desperate times. Desperate measures.”
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) returns to the big screen once again on one of his largest missions yet: “Rogue Nation”. Being chased by the CIA, Hunt is on the move to prove the existence of a strong terrorist organization called the Syndicate. Intercepting nerve gas being sold to this yet unproven group causes great threats to not only America, but the entire world.
Hunt, as in all “Mission” films, is not alone on his adventure. His great friend Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) returns to help, with the addition of a new female agent named Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson—“Hercules” 2014). After witnessing the existence of the Syndicate, Hunt begins his investigation of the group and what goals they are trying to achieve. However, the Syndicate reaches many of their goals before Hunt catches on to their evil plans.
Due to its reliability being questioned, the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) has been closed down, which causes Hunt to be a wanted fugitive. Hunt, however, begins to learn the secrets behind the Syndicate’s mission and goes to great lengths while not only being pursued by the CIA, but the Syndicate itself. The Syndicate is just as highly trained as the IMF, which brings a great challenge to Hunt and his cohorts, as many lives are at stake, double agents are being exposed, and time clocks are winding down.
Piece by piece, the IMF pieces together the goals of this international rogue, but find themselves in great danger as this very intellectual group attempts to outwit them at every turn. Can the Syndicate be proven? Can Ethan Hunt clear his name and save the IMF? Can the Syndicate be destroyed? Get ready for a thrill ride, as Hunt and his crew embark on a mission where trust is questioned, secrets are revealed, and friends and enemies are made. Welcome to “Rogue Nation”.
Three years after “Ghost Protocol,” Tom Cruise continues on in this popular series performing in fine fashion. This film is filled with solid performances and believable acting from its leads. Tom Cruise proves that, even at the age of 53, he can still handle performing his own stunts and taking down bad guys, punch by punch. This is director Christopher McQuarrie’s third feature film of his career, and he displays some great direction here as the audience is taken through this just over two hour actioner. However, McQuarrie’s direction is not quite as stylish as Brad Bird’s in “Ghost Protocol.” The film is very upbeat, contains steady pacing, and has a strong, witty script.
But “Rogue Nation” does contain its faults. Light continuity errors, some unrealistic action, and some incoherent elements are weaved into the film’s plot. During this fast thriller, audiences may lose track of what is going on, at times. But, regardless, you will not find yourself bored as the story alone is very engaging and keeps the audience guessing throughout. Although the action sequences are well executed, some moments are a bit unrealistic, as characters survive insane car crashes, dodge mounds of bullets, and make it through an intense motorcycle crash (without a helmet, mind you) with hardly a scratch. You must be aware, though, that some of the action really isn’t meant to be taken seriously but is just added to amp up the thrills, which the writers and director greatly achieved. At times, the film overemphasized product placements, with very clear brand names on computers, cell phones, and, of course, cars.
“Rogue Nation” is a fast-paced film that contains intense action sequences, brief language, and some brief sexual content. In a handful of shots we see a woman wear a high cut dress, revealing most of her thigh. Her skirt twirls around as she takes down bad guys, but only her legs are exposed during these very quick action sequences. The same woman is seen in a bikini in one scene and a standard swim suit in another. We briefly see her bare back as she changes out of her swim top. Some viewers may catch a very brief glimpse of the side of her breast as she changes. If you blink, you’ll probably miss it. 1 Timothy 2:9 (ESV) comes to mind, though:
“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control…”
Although nothing is seen, the same woman is quickly searched by a man making sure she’s carrying no weapons. A man is seen shirtless in a couple of scenes and an unfocused lingerie ad in a phone both may be caught by observant viewers.
Violence is the most concerning issue in “Rogue Nation,” as there are multiple intense fistfights, car and foot chases, sequences of gunplay, and some wild explosions. Multiple characters get punched and kicked, cars crash and spin out of control, airbags release after an intense crash, and one car explodes with victims inside. The violence is almost completely bloodless, though. One character does get stabbed in the chest after an intense knife fight (no blood). Broken necks and bones can be heard crunching. Characters fly through broken windows, get hit by cars, and crash and fly off of motorcycles. A man chases after a plane and holds onto the side as it takes off, struggling to hang on. One character is shot point blank in the head, but we only the body fall to the ground from a distance. Another person is shocked in the back with CPR shock paddles. There are attempts to assassinate a character, a couple of characters collapse from knockout gas, and another nearly drowns after being pummeled by underwater machinery. A man is tied to a pole and takes a few blows from a thug. Various tools and blades are seen, as his captors plan to torture him, but he escapes before they can do any major harm. A man is seen wearing a timer/pressure vest that can kill him at any moment and stun guns and tranquilizers are used, as well.
The language is brief and scattered, with a few profanities used during intense situations. “God” (paired with d*mn) and Jesus’ names are abused, once each, but are muffled and can be hard to make out due to very noisy backgrounds. Both the s-word and the word h*ll are used about three times each and the word “bull” is uttered once, as well. There is no smoking, drug, nor alcohol consumption. A few glasses of wine do get some screen time, though. As I mentioned above, tranquilizers are used and the effects are seen. Lying and deceit come into play, and a few characters get in some heated arguments. Jeremiah 17:9 says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” The deceit is clear on both sides of the story, and the lying to cover up the truth can be questioned.
Although the deceit by some characters is used to protect the lives of the innocent, one may also bring into question if it is morally right to do so, if it’s for a worthy cause. “Rogue Nation” appears to indicate that it is okay. But what does God’s Word say? Consider the story of Rahab in Joshua chapter 2. She hid spies in her home and lied to the enemy when they came searching for them. There are mixed opinions about whether lying is always a sin, but I strongly recommend that you read through this story in the book of Joshua. One must also keep in mind the 9th Commandment in Exodus 20:16: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” This again is open to a number of Scriptural interpretations, but this Commandment can be compared to the word “lie.”
There are positive themes that can be taken from “Rogue Nation,” as the value of friendship is cherished, morals and dedication are respected, and characters fight for what they believe in with great courage. One character realizes the mistake he made in judging another, and, instead of a typical romantic kiss, two characters embrace and share a friendly hug instead. Regardless of being pursued by both the CIA and the Syndicate, Ethan Hunt shows great loyalty to his country and will stop at nothing to bring the terrorist organization down. Characters are willing to sacrifice their own lives for others, and, although the CIA is chasing Hunt, they still have good intentions as they also pursue the Syndicate. Hunt just has to gain their trust and prove that the CIA most definitely needs an Impossible Missions Force.
Proverbs 17:7 says that “A friend loves at all times…” and in 18:24 “…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Hunt and Dunn’s relationship applies to these verses, as they look out for each other constantly and are always willing to take that extra step to keep those whom they love safe.
The content contained within “Rogue Nation” is fairly mild, in comparison to most PG-13 action films of this day, due to lighter language, near bloodless violence, and no strong sexual content. However, this film does have its flaws, as scattered profanities are uttered, brief partial nudity is on display, and some intense sequences of violence may make some audiences cringe.
Although “Rogue Nation” contains these faults, I think the pros still outweigh the cons, as friendships are honored and justice prevails. I recommend this film with caution for ages 15 and up, due to the nature of its violence and brief sexual content. But if you look past the moments of intensity in this film, one can see the true solid core behind Ethan Hunt and the IMF: to protect innocent lives and bring justice to evil-doers in this very corrupt, sinful world. This fifth mission, if you choose to accept it, is one of the biggest thrill rides of the year.
Violence: Very Heavy / Language: Moderate—“Jesus” (1), “God” (1), “God-d*mn” (1), “hell” (3), s-words (3) / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…“Rogue Nation” is immersive, unpredictable and crammed with more sharp plot hooks than a fishing basket. It’s one of the best wide-release movies of the summer. …[3½/4]
—Colin Covert, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune
…This is the rare sequel that leaves its franchise feeling not exhausted but surprisingly resurgent at 19 years and counting. …
—Justin Chang, Variety
…one of the most fun, exciting popcorn movies in the last few months, but there’s a lot of mature content, including too much killing and some innuendo, so extreme caution is advised…
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…The chance of a love connection between these rival spies fascinates more than the predictably entertaining car and motorbike chases, ticking time bombs and “impossible” action set pieces… [3/4]
—Peter Howell, Toronto Star Newspapers
…“Rogue Nation” is not the series’ best, but it’s not bad either. …the film embraces the series’ identity as a cinematic stunt show held together with a handful of gnarly plot twists. …
—Peter Suderman, The Washington Times
…Tom Cruise scores big… You leave feeling like you found a film that gave you your money’s worth. These days that can seem like the most impossible mission of all.
—Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)
…foul language, sex and violence coming in at a restrained level for a 2015 actioner. It may even be marginally less violent and profane than your newest favorite superhero movie. …
—Paul Asay, Plugged In
…Best mission yet is one you should choose to accept… I did try to think of something I didn't like about the movie but... that appears to be impossible.
—Susan Ellingburg, Crosswalk
…an absolute blast - for a while… “Rogue Nation” becomes flat and self-important, demanding that we take it at face value. …Cruise wants to have it both ways, feeding the Hollywood blockbuster machine while trying to squeeze in respectability. The movie is better when it’s poking sly fun at Cruise’s superheroic screen persona… than when it asks you to buy into its far-fetched antics. Nobody wants a campy “Mission: Impossible” picture, but I don’t think anyone wants to see a grave “Mission: Impossible,” either. …
—Rene Rodriguez, The Miami Herald
…Ferguson does well as a female badass, quite capable of deftly punching the lights out of any man in the room. …The cast is good fun, particularly Pegg, whose comic looseness helps balance Cruise’s, well, Cruise-ness. The Intense Tom Cruise Face… [3/4]
—Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
…Once again, the action sequences are outstanding. …Rebecca Ferguson… brings more gravitas than usual to the lead female role in a spy thriller. …
—Clint O'Connor, The Plain Dealer
…High-speed hijinks more business than fun… There's a difference between velocity and momentum, and while the chases, shootouts and close quarters combat rarely flag, our interest does. … [2½/4]
—Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
…It’s a giggle and a thrill, and after all these years (and whatever you think of him), Tom Cruise still does it exceptionally well. …
—Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
…Best of the series… The thinking person's mindless entertainment. …
—Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
…“Rogue Nation” gets convoluted in its series of twists, though McQuarrie offers a surprising amount of welcome humor, sometimes with the gadgetry… and other times in the exhaustion that comes after one death-defying episode or another. …
—Brian Truitt, USA Today
…Cruise has played Ethan Hunt so often it would be understandable if he phoned it in, but one of the pleasures of “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” is that he doesn't. As the film’s plot gets twistier and twistier, as knowing who you can trust becomes increasingly difficult, Ethan Hunt never wavers. …
—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
…Better than Bourne, Better than Bond… It’s official: Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible” is now my favorite ongoing espionage action franchise. …
—Scott Mendelson, Forbes