Wednesday, 5 August 2015

film review: mission impossible: rogue nation

firstly, sign me up for the Mission Impossible cardio workout. a fuckload of running, core strength built up by sudden changes in direction on the cobblestoned streets of overseas locations, bit of squats and knife play... sure, there's someone shooting at you the whole damn time, but that's just to motivate.

abs of steel in 6 to 8 weeks, I hear.

the latest offering from this bajillion-dollar franchise wasn't shy in coming forward with the inevitable opening action sequence (Tom Cruise on the outside of a plane while it's in the air, yo). I like a bit of ridiculous theatrical tension (is the door going to open in time? well is it?) safe in the knowledge that they cannot possibly kill off Ethan Hunt (Cruise's character, for the players at home who have been living under a rock) in the first 10 minutes. just once I'd like to see one of the big names killed off right at the start, in the style of Scream's treatment of Drew Barrymore. I'm not saying we have to kill Ethan Hunt, but we could at least think about it. Way less Tom Cruise that way.

this is the 5th Mission Impossible movie. I missed Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol but I can only assume that the IMF got some ghosts on board to help them solve crimes or whatever because ghosts have mad spy skills. I have actually seen the other 3 because of my weakness for watching things exploding (may have mentioned this in my review of Mad Men - soothes my hungover soul). say what you like about Tom Cruise, he seems to be good at action movies. still, do say what you like about him, for it is fun to be mean about a very rich white male scientologist who is short. this is his main weak point as a person, as far as I can tell. not all the weird scientology shit where he keeps his wives captive and believes things that are actually insane. gloss on by that, let's chat measurements.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is not just about breaking into stuff to steal things or double triple double agents with a side of silk dresses which need to be cut high into the crotch for practical reasons, and it's not just about physical fitness or how long you can hold your breath. It's about the politics of the international spy world (which, as far as I can tell, needs some serious mediation prefaced with some solid icebreaker work). It's about the advancement of technology where you can wear a wetsuit with a thing on it saying how much oxygen you have left in your lungs. I don't think this is a spoiler because I'm not going to tell you how much oxygen or how much time people held their breath for.

As usual I did my woman count. I say woman because there was one woman in the whole fucking movie.

Whatever, Helen. Women aren't very good spies. What about when they have a baby or get their period or something? Nobody wants to deal with that shit. Women are out of control; why, even that one woman they let be in the movie was a rogue one. I still don't know if she was a goodie or a baddie, and we need to know that stuff. Note: female spies get sweet gadgets like a lipstick that is also a USB. So it's pretty fair all round really.

Begrudging points for the kick-arse motorbike stuff that female lead Rebecca Ferguson as fairly quiet but deadly efficient Ilsa Faust pulled off, literally leaving Ethan Hunt in Moroccan dust; for the knife fight where she was paired evenly with a male agent (I keep forgetting they're called agents now - spy is such an outdated term) and more than held her own; and a small happy cheer for the lack of romantic crap driving the plot. But seriously: one actual woman? yikes.

Special mention goes to use of a variety of locations (Morocco! Underwater! London! London again!) as well as a few well-placed jokes and some very convincingly placed BMWs. SO many BMWs. A black one. A white one. A van. Some motorbikes. They were almost like the 6th or 7th character of the story. Probably male ones but.

I'd like to put forward a brief note on Tom Cruise's face, which is that it makes me really very mad when I look at it. A blessing, really, that action movies don't require a lot of close-ups. I'm not violent, generally, but it's a face I'd feel ok about hitting.

With that in mind this movie gets 2.5 stars. Right in the middle. See it if you like, but you could also wait and watch it in about a year and spend the whole time not sure if you've seen it already. I know that's what I'm going to do.