Whether you like him or not, you have to give it to Tom Cruise for being one of the ballsiest actors currently working. It was one thing to climb on the side of the world’s tallest building in Ghost Protocol, but to hang off of an actual airplane as it takes off is an entirely different story. With Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation, the series takes it to a whole new level, and in doing so we are given a great summer film that is mostly delivers on its promise of being an over-the-top thrill ride.

Picking up shortly after the events of Ghost Protocol (you do not have to have seen it to understand and enjoy Rogue Nation) we are quickly reminded of the Syndicate, the evil organization set out to destroy the IMF. Unfortunately for Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team, the IMF is shut down and they are forced to not only contend with the Syndicate (led by an exceptionally weasely Sean Harris)  but also with the CIA trying to track them down. While the plot is pretty typical of any spy film, this is forgiven once the action starts. The only problem is these scenes are paced awkwardly, thus resulting in a bit of dragging due to a vast amount of exposition that is constantly being rehashed.

Though there is some CGI in the film, the majority of stunts and action sequences are all Cruise. He hangs off the side of a plane, does unbelievable underwater stunts, and even does his own driving during the chase sequences. He is undeniably incredible and nothing seems to stop him. The issue with this is that each following film will hold a sort of “we need to top the previous one,” which could involve way more ludicrous stunts than there already are.

As Cruise leads the pack with his consistently exciting action-star performance, he is supported by a cast that deliver on their own special abilities. Simon Pegg, who becomes Hunts sidekick, brings the humor with his usual sarcastic comments and geeky tirades. His presence is much more prominent in Rogue Nation, and he is no longer just the guy behind the computer. Rebecca Ferguson, who plays the mysterious Ilsa, shows us yet again that women are becoming more action stars who can hold their own as opposed to being a romantic interest for the guys. She is capable of looking completely innocent and unable to fend for herself, but then she goes on the assault and shows off a skill-set that not even the guys possess.

Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation is an exciting, mostly non-stop action movie that reminds us that CGI isn’t the most amazing thing in the world. While this isn’t the first—nor last—spy movie we will be getting this year, it definitely stands on its own. Sure, it might be over the top and a little slow in places, but when it delivers—it delivers in a big and incredibly satisfying way. 

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