After an incredibly accomplished mission in "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," Tom Cruise ("Edge of Tomorrow," "Oblivion," "Jack Reacher") returns to accept another impossible mission as agent Ethan Hunt. Or rather, forced to accept.
Ethan is on the run from the CIA (Alec Baldwin, "To Rome With Love"), and on the hunt for the Syndicate, a shadowy organization consisting of rogue agents, missing or presumed dead, that has been disrupting governmental structures around the world under the guise of global catastrophes. It looks like IMF (Impossible Mission Force) might have met its match.
IMF faces the oversight committee for its unorthodox tactics, unnecessarily reckless and leaving international chaos behind. The CIA also believes that the Syndicate is a figment of Ethan's imagination. The IMF is dismantled and lead agent William Brandt (Jeremy Renner, "The Avengers: Age of Ultron"," "American Hustle," "The Bourne Legacy") and tech sidekick Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) are folded into the CIA. The timing couldn't be worse, as the Syndicate is yet again successful in its elaborate attempts in assassinating a world leader.
A cold-blooded face represents the Syndicate, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). Solomon is after a ledger containing crucial information about the organization's operations. Eventually, Ethan reunites with his team, and also joined by long-time operative Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), trailing and putting together clues from Vienna, Casablanca and London. The veteran team gels well, with occasional humorous interactions.
The presence of a new superspy, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) brings a fresh dynamic. A female version of Ethan Hunt, not only she capably holds her own in every fight, run or chase, she also manages to save Ethan's life. Yet, she purposely leaves him behind each time. Friend or foe, she's elusive and sophisticated, a mysterious piece of the puzzle. Paula Patton was great in 'Ghost Protocol,' but a lot can be explored with Ferguson's character and hopefully she returns for another mission.
Directed and written by Christopher McQuarrie ("The Tourist"), 'Rogue Nation' is chocked full of show-stopping set pieces and action sequences from start to finish. As if scaling Burj Khalifa wasn't enough, Cruise leaps and clings onto the side of an Airbus taking off before parachuting with a secret cargo. And diving deep into an abyss of water, holding his breath and gets spun around. Other standout sequences include sharpshooting, rooftop running and rappelling down an opera house, and high-speed motorcycle chase through a desert highway and hairpin turns.
It's not all death-defying stunts, however. The movie piles on twist after twist almost to the point of being overplotted. But it wraps itself satisfyingly in the end.
Following its big, bold and breathtaking predecessor, the perils and intrigues in "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation" makes this latest entry impossibly thrilling.
DVD (blu-ray): http://tinyurl.com/roguenationdvd