Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation: Came for Ethan Hunt, stayed for Rebecca Ferguson

Published 11:45 am Saturday, August 1, 2015

by Lauren Bradshaw

The second I walked out of “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” I immediately wanted to turn around and high-knee run like Tom Cruise back into the theater to watch it a second time. And just writing this review has made me want to drop everything and go see it again. From the INSANE action scenes that we have come to know and love in this franchise, to the beautiful score, and most importantly REBECCA FERGUSON, “Rogue Nation” is hands down my favorite film in the franchise.

Building off of the events at the end of “Ghost Protocol,” the CIA Director (Alec Baldwin) has disbanded the IMF, bringing their employees under the supervision of the Agency. But one IMF employee can’t be “brought in.” Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is on an “impossible” mission to prove the existence of a secret criminal organization called The Syndicate (IMF’s evil twin) and then bring it down. But with no resources to fall back on, Hunt gets in over his head and is captured by the enemy. Pain and torture are coming Ethan’s way, that is, until an undercover British agent in The Syndicate, Ilsa Faust (Ferguson), helps to free him.

Now on the run from the CIA and The Syndicate, Ethan enlists the help of his technologically savvy friend Benji (Simon Pegg) to help him put a stop to the shadow organization and get the IMF reinstated. But is this mission truly too impossible? After all, he is without a widespread support system, without a country, and has finally met his match in Syndicate leader Simon Lane. Dun dun dun.

What “Rogue Nation” lacks in a giant action set piece like the death-defying Burj Khalifa climb in “Ghost Protocol,” it makes up for in mini-action vignettes that keep the excitement flowing throughout the entire movie. And that plane scene that you have seen over and over in the trailer (and heard about in all interviews with Tom Cruise) takes place in the first 5 minutes of the film, so you have the whole rest of the movie for new surprises! My personal favorite was the scene in the Vienna Opera House, set to the tune of my favorite opera song, “Nessun dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot.” So. Much. Fun! This is the scene that I am going to watch over and over when it comes out on Blu-ray. I also loved the motorcycle chase and the claustrophobic underwater scene.

Yo, Tom Cruise, I’mma let you finish, but Rebecca Ferguson (“The White Queen”) is the best part of “Rogue Nation.” I don’t think it is a stretch to say that this movie wouldn’t be half of what it is without her. Her character Ilsa is the backbone of this film, and the character I was most interested in every time she came onscreen. Sucks to be Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames. It seems a lot of their screen time/character development was sacrificed to make room for more Ferguson, but I am certainly not complaining. With her awesome, high-paced fight scenes, beautiful costumes, and overall badassness (that motorcycle scene!!!), I could write a whole article on her alone. Did I mention she saves Ethan Hunt 3-plus times?!

Besides her general badassness, I really appreciated that the film never made Ferguson and Cruise full-on love interests. Of course there is tons of chemistry between the two actors and a fair share of sexual tension, but the way they show their attraction is through heroism and bravery, not lovey dovey kissing. Speaking of, even when it feels like the action of the movie is leading up to a big kiss scene, Ethan and Ilsa go in for the hug. FINALLY! Usually big studio films require some sort of romance and I am glad we were given a female character who was her own person and didn’t end up with the leading man at the end. I hope this role gets her all of the attention she deserves and that we see her in many more movies to come… including “Mission: Impossible 6.”

It’s not often that the fifth film in a franchise is its best, but “Rogue Nation” proves that Cruise and co. still have a lot more gas in the tank, both in terms of story ideas and in death-defying stunts. And how cool is it that this film and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the two best action blockbusters this summer, feature women in fantastic, dynamic roles. That will get my acclaim any day.

My Review: A

LAUREN BRADSHAW grew up in Courtland, graduated from Southampton Academy and doubled-majored in foreign affairs and history at the University of Virginia. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area and can be reached at flickchickdc@gmail.com