IMF Vs. The Syndicate In Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
When a mission goes wrong, The CIA wants the Impossible Mission Force disbanded in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. While Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his fellow agents intercept a load of nerve gas in Russia, Ethan falls into a trap when he tries to learn of his next assignment. He gets captured by the Syndicate, a collection of rogue agents that intelligence agencies around the world have listed as disavowed or dead. The Syndicate manages to stay one step ahead of all other covert agencies, including the IMF. The Syndicate plans to torture Hunt, but Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), one of its members, unexpectedly comes to his aid. Ethan escapes his captors, only to learn from William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) that Congress has dissolved IMF, thanks to a successful lobby from CIA executive Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin). Brandt and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) have been absorbed into the CIA, with their activities closely monitored. Meanwhile, Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) opted for retirement. Hunley wants Hunt brought to Langley, but stays ahead of any effort to bring him into the fold as he pursues the shadow organization.
During this time, Ethan anonymously sends Benji tickets to a performance of Turandot in Vienna, as Ethan suspects the Syndicate leader will be in attendance. Benji comes to try and confirm the leader's presence. This person has also deployed Ilsa and two others to assassinate the Austrian chancellor. Hunt and Dunn succeed in stopping their attempts, but a car bomb kills the fleeing chancellor. Ilsa again assists Ethan as the Syndicate gives chase, and knows that the Syndicate leader is Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). She also knows that a comprehensive list of all Syndicate operatives is stored in Morocco. She, Ethan, and Benji devise a plan to go there and retrieve that list. Brandt and Stickell are notified of what is happening, and come to protect the trio. Once Ethan gets the list, Benji makes a copy of it for Ilsa, whom they learn works as a covert MI6 agent. She gives her copy to her superior, Chief Atlee (Simon McBurney). Atlee unexpectedly sends her back to her assignment, keeping certain knowledge about Lane and the Syndicate to himself. Lane follows for the list, which contains more than just names.
The M:I series has recovered nicely from the snoozefest known as Mission: Impossible III. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation has some good twists, thanks to Christopher McQuarrie, who wrote and directed this installment. Viewers surely know what will happen for the IMF on both fronts. Ethan Hunt will concede no mistakes to Hunley in his handling of his assignments. The Syndicate, he knows, threatens all legitimate intelligence operations, as it knows everything they know to keep themselves viable. I also like that Rogue Nation has more of a sense of teamwork than any of the previous entries. Ethan and Luther have been in all five movies, Benji debuted in M:I III, and Brandt joined the team in Ghost Protocol. None of these men are happy with CIA oversight, and Ethan manages to avoid it with plenty of help. Some of the action and dialogue are a bit cliche, but more than enough of it excites as the IMF continue their work while maintaining a lower profile than ususal.
The growing team helps to humanize Cruise's character a bit. In an early scene, Hunt watches helplessly as the Syndicate executes an IMF operative. Later, the quick-thinking agent convinces Lane he has the information the leader wants to take the heat off his colleagues. He also owes a debt of gratitude to Ilsa when complications arise during the theft of information Lane wants and knows will permit him to operate unencumbered. Ferguson makes a fine appearance as Faust, who somehow manages to do enough to not lead Lane to drastic action. She shows she can fight any of Lane's men, and proves her agility and skill with a knife. Rhames, Pegg, and Renner still prove their worth to the film series, while Baldwin is a welcome addition as the shrewd Hunley. Harris and McBurney also provide noteworthy support in their limited roles.
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation not only tells the tale of a mission, but also tells the tale of a secret mission behind the secret operations. Someone knows the work of the Impossible Mission Force, and wants to see the end to the IMF in a far different way than the CIA does. The changes seem to split the force in three ways, but they team with a double agent to fight a band of agents with a more nefarious agenda from those of actual intelligence agencies. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation delivers action and intrigue as the franchise shows that it, like Ethan Hunt, has a few tricks left over in its cinematic bag to please an audience.
On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation 3.5 stars. Pretty good for a fifth entry.