Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Rating:

IMPOSSIBLE THINGS ARE HAPPENING EVERY DAY

Main Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Cell Phone by Ananas96

I do love high tech gadgets!

It’s been a long hard day on the telephone with that darling little Tim Cook from Apple computers.  I’m supposed to keep things under wraps but I am absolutely bursting with the news – and not ordinary everyday sort of news, but more once in a lifetime sort of news.  Apple and MNM enterprises are going to join forces on an exciting new venture.  I have always enjoyed perusing the Apple store but it’s all sleek lines and minimalist design; I’ve always felt that there’s a certain lack of glamour in its products.  Well, the name of Vicki Lester is absolutely synonymous with glamour in all the best circles so this is a match made in heaven.   During our conversation, I had another absolutely brilliant idea; I am going to help Apple break into a more, shall we say déclassé, marketplace.  Lower end consumers should have access to beautiful things and I, with my long association with Pic and Save, have learned well how to bring excitement to even the most humdrum lives.

As soon as Fajer and Hellmann, my attorneys, finish up the contracts, Tim and I will be able to go public with our plans for stand-alone kiosks in dollar stores nationwide.  Our little stores within stores, to be known as iDolla’Tree and easily identifiable by the pink marabou and fairy light trim, will carry a wide assortment of accessories for the modern consumer allowing them to access the glorious worlds of MNM and Apple for under $19.99.  How are we going to be able to sell these products so inexpensively?  Well those details are still being worked out with a number of Chinese businessmen in Tianjin.  Quite frankly their English is not so good and I could only vaguely follow the negotiations over the phone.   I’m sure I’ll find someone truly excellent to hire who can handle all those maudlin little details.

After all of these tiresome negotiations, I was in a mood for a film.  Normy was firmly occupied in his music studio working on his opera, Wiggy, a story of Mad King Ludwig which he must have ready for next season at the Met and he has not been able to get the Act IV cabaletta for the baritone playing the psychiatrist to gel properly.  I suggested adding a second cor anglais and a bass flute to the orchestration for a deeper texture and to add just the right frisson to the final boat ride scene.  I left him to it and, bass flutes being somewhat on my mind, decided to catch a matinee of Tom Cruise’s new movie, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation at the multiplex.   By my count, this is the fifth installment of the franchise over the last couple of decades, Mr. Cruise having first essayed the role of Ethan Hunt back in 1996 with the original Mission Impossible movie.  Other sequels have followed every five years or so, especially when his career has hit the doldrums.

In this installment, Ethan Hunt’s Impossible Missions Force, under the direction of William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) falls afoul of a pompous bureaucrat (Alec Baldwin) and is more or less shut down officially.  Ethan is not about to come in from the cold as he is hot on the trail of an evil syndicate, cleverly known as ‘The Syndicate’.  He is busy eluding the authorities, aided by his side lined sidekicks (Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames) when he runs across an assassination plot in Austria where he ends up teaming up with a British double agent, Ilsa, who is trying to bring down The Syndicate (Rebecca Ferguson).  This unlikely duo has a major Moroccan break in to do before heroes and villains (Sean Harris as the head of The Syndicate) end up kung fu fighting through the darkened streets of London.  No, the plot didn’t make any sense to me either and I actually sat through the movie.

The plot may be nonsensical, full of holes and somewhat difficult to follow and the characters may be the purest cardboard but that is all of no matter as the action sequences, the only reason to see movies of this stripe, are top notch.  From an opening that has something to do with Ukrainians and poison gas and that ends with Tom Cruise hanging off the door of a jet in take off to a free swim exchange of security cards in an underwater vault, there’s action, adventure and suspense to keep us entertained any time the energy starts to flag.  Just as long as you don’t ask questions like why people would build an underwater security vault under a power plant in the middle of the Moroccan desert.

My favorite sequence is a prolonged three way assassination plot at the Vienna Staatsoper in which Ethan has to run around the rigging and lighting trees during a performance of Puccini’s Turandot.  The music is used throughout the sequence to score the cat and mouse game between the various players trying to get into position to take their shots or to prevent others from doing so and really punches up a fist fight on a lighting bridge high in the flies.  (The movie does play fast and loose with Turandot, ignoring Act I and bopping back and forth between Acts II and III in order to get Nessun Dorma in the right place for Calaf’s high note to cue a gunshot.   I should know as I appeared in Republic Pictures Middle Ages film adaptation of the opera, Tourney Dot which was a minor success some years back.  We were even able to recycle to sets and costumes for Ivan Ho, a musical romp about a courtesan at the tsarist court but I digress…)  Ilsa also wears a lovely greeny gold off the shoulder formal number, just the sort of thing one should wear when climbing over scenery backstage while handling a sniper rifle.

The movie was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the man who took Hollywood by storm with his first screenplay, a little picture called The Usual Suspects.  None of his other projects have quite lived up to that early promise and over the last few years, he has become Tom Cruise’s go to guy having written some of his other starring vehicles such as Valkyrie, Jack Reacher, and Edge of Tomorrow.  This project lets Cruise be Cruise (and he’s looking mighty fine for fifty-two) and uses his limited range of everyman with all the odds against him to full advantage.  As an actor, Mr. Cruise is outshone by the supporting players.  Simon Pegg effortlessly steals scene after scene from him and things always become more entertaining when Alec Baldwin turns up as a man who may or may not be working against our heroes.  Jeremy Renner, on the other hand, sleep walks his way through this role as he does through most of his others.  His A list career remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of the modern world.

If you never miss a James Bond movie, like actors being beaten and never showing a bruise or a hair out of place, thrill at heroes overcoming ingenious traps and love to see the good guys win in the end, you’ll love it.  You just won’t be able to figure out what the heck was going on ten minutes after it is over.

Airplane hacking.  Record store gassing.  Exploding ambulance.  Gratuitous facial recognition software.  Lipstick flash stick.  Bullseye diving.  Gratuitous British Prime Minister.  British spy double.  Moroccan staircase driving.

To learn more about Mrs. Norman Maine, see our Movie Rewind introduction, visit her entire back catalog and follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/missvickilester

photo by Ananas96

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