Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation: Predictable Fun

I recently traveled to Singapore, which entailed 40 hours total on a plane. This gave me the opportunity to watch every single movie I missed this summer, so you can expect a slew of movie reviews to catch you up on the 2015 releases that are now available on DVD. First up, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation.

This movie got great reviews when it came out. However, since I only watched it after seeing Spectre, I was struck by the similarities between the Mission: Impossible and Bond franchises. Both feature super spies who run around engaging in death-defying stunts, charming sexy ladies with questionable motives, and gruffly dealing with geeky boffins who provide tech support that is in need of excessive troubleshooting. And this time around, both men have gone rogue, relying on their friends to provide back-up as they go against the orders of their respective countries to investigate a shadowy criminal organization and expose corruption at the highest levels of government.

So what makes Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt different from Daniel Craig's James Bond? Well one is uniquely British, while the other is uniquely American. This mean that the Mission: Impossible movies will always have this veneer of earnestness, a sense of the important righteousness of the leading man's crusade, which is in vast contrast to the coolly ironic self-deprecation of a Bond film. Tom Cruise never disappoints as an action star but he certainly does not kindle any romantic flames like Daniel Craig can. As a result, Mission: Impossible is the perfect summer blockbuster; a fun action-filled romp that will keep you vastly entertained, but will not require any use of your brain.

I was quite impressed with Rebecca Ferguson, the leading lady who plays Ilsa Faust in the movie. She holds her own in a myriad of action sequences with Cruise, beating up villains, toting guns, riding bikes and generally kicking ass, all while wearing impossibly high heels that made my feet hurt just by looking at them. However, she certainly comes in for her fair share of objectification over the course of this movie. While the Bond movies have never been a feminist paradise, generally Bond is also required to strip down and engage in some amorous foreplay. In Mission: Impossible, the heroine seems to constantly be reduced to some state of undress, while Hunt has one shirtless scene and then spends the rest of the movie in earnest fist fights, with almost no hint of romantic chemistry with the half-dressed woman beside him.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is a great piece of entertainment, an action-packed fun film that delivers exactly what you expect. It also features Simon Pegg as Benji, the requisite tech support guy, who offers up the British sarcasm and comic relief you need to keep this franchise from getting too self-important. While James Bond is still my go-to for action with a dash of lust and intelligence, Mission: Impossible is certainly a viable option for people who are going to the movies for completely predictable escapism. You don't always know what you're going to get with a Bond movie, but you certainly know what you're going to get with Mission: Impossible. 

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