I truly believe that Tom Cruise was born to pay Ethan Hunt. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an actor who is as perfect for a role as Cruise is for his Mission Impossible character. His physical acting and intensity lends itself so well to the tone of this franchise. None of these movies would be what they are without Cruise in the lead role. Through this series of films, he is fast becoming one of my favorite actors.
In this, the fifth film in the Mission Impossible series, the IMF once again faces extinction. Hunt and his crew are the only ones capable of stopping the Syndicate, a rogue criminal organization that operates secretly, much like the IMF. Being the only ones who know of the Syndicates existence, the remnants of the IMF must find a way to take them down without any outside help.
Amazing stunts have become a trademark of this franchise. This film does not disappoint in that regard at all. At 53 years old, Cruise is still every bit the stuntman he has always been. In what is quite possibly the greatest opening scene I have ever witnessed, we see him literally hanging off the side of a jet as it takes off. There is a particularly incredible motorcycle chase scene which perfectly illustrates the advantage of practical stunts over CGI. But probably the most amazing of all the films stunts is an anxiety inducing underwater scene in which Cruise had to hold his breath for an incredible six minutes during filming! I appreciated the great stunt work in this film. This is sadly becoming a lost art in this day and age and all the CGI they use now just doesn’t cut it for me.
The screenplay, written by Christopher McQuarrie, is good but not perfect. It does a very good job with explanation and exposition. It is well structured and well organized, which keeps the sophisticated plot from being convoluted. There are a few clichés at work, which is not entirely in opposition to the overall tone of the film. The dialogue is good. There are a couple lines that are really incredible.
I’ve already mentioned about how awesome Tom Cruise is in the film. That is to be expected. What really stood out to me were the performances of Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames. Pegg is believably funny and is the perfect complement to the intense performance of Cruise. He manages to weave his comedy into the film without having it feel unnatural. Rhames brings an on-screen presence to the film that is just incredible. His performance here is his best since Pulp Fiction.
I have thrown a lot of praise at this film, and rightfully so, but as good as it is, it is not perfect. The problems come in around the third act when the logic falls apart. One twist too many causes a big pot hole to emerge in the narrative that I just couldn’t get past. No spoilers, but there was something that happened here that made everything else the characters did from that point on not make any sense. It was my only big problem with the film, but it was a significant problem. Less significantly, the main female character in the film does something toward the end that I saw as a direct contradiction to what her character was supposed to be.
Even with a significant logic issue in the home stretch of the film, there is still enough good here to make this a very fun movie experience. It’s not as good as the last MI movie in my opinion, but the acting is great and the stunts alone are worth the price of admission. The Movie Man gives it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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