The Mission Impossible series has only gotten better with age. The first was very good - Brian DePalma brought us into the world of secret missions, missions we chose to accept. John Woo took the second in a different, more action focused direction (my least favorite of the series). J.J. Abrams brought the series back from purgatory, mixing the spy elements and insane stunts, and cast Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the best MI villain to date, and finally Brad Bird took us to Dubai in Ghost Protocol. Now, it's Jack Reacher's Christopher McQuarrie's turn.
In Rogue Nation, Ethan Hunt and the IMF team take on their toughest mission yet - going up against The Syndicate, an organization made up of black listed operatives attempting to throw the world into turmoil, all while IMF is being disbanded by the government. Of course there are twists and turns, and things are never what they seem.
Tom Cruise is great as usual, and the fact that he does most of his own stunts adds immensely to the film. The scene with the plane (the one in the trailer) happens within the first five minutes, and it's clear that it's actually Tom Cruise hanging off of the aircraft while it's flying. Of course he was strapped in (the straps were removed in post), but it adds a level of immersion that doesn't exist when you throw a stunt double in there and paint an actors face on later (if they even show a face). The rest of the cast is great as usual - Renner, Pegg and Rhames have the same chemistry they had in the last flick, and Rebecca Ferguson is a welcome addition to the cast. I did think some of the jokes here fell flat.
The action here is great, although I don't think it quite lived up to the stunts and set pieces in Ghost Protocol (pretty tough to top that building scene). If McQuarrie can do one thing right, it's shoot vehicle scenes, and there's a great one here featuring cars and motorcycles. The scene that stole the show, however, is set in an opera house. Set only to the music of the opera, Hunt and a baddie fight quietly over the show - it's so well done and suspenseful.
I wasn't 100% satisfied with the ending, but I'll leave that offline, as I do not want to spoil anything for those who haven't seen it. I wish it would have gone a bit differently, although it was clever.
One other side note, I was a bit annoyed by how much Microsoft product placement was in this movie. Close ups of Windows Phones, Microsoft Surface Tablets, and even an XBox One with a shot of the Halo box - it's distractedly all over the place. I have a Surface - I just hope that it doesn't freeze while browsing - imagine trying to use it on a top secret mission that the world depends on!