From the “Bourne” saga to “Captain America” many big budget Hollywood movies nowadays feature slick choreographed martial arts fighting with big name actors undergoing rigorous training regimens. So how did “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” fare in terms of the fight action on show? Let’s take a peek and a ninja’s eye view of the rest of the movie while we’re at it!
Tom Cruise is back as indestructible superspy Ethan Hunt in the fifth and best “Mission Impossible” film yet. The action is fast, and the stunts are bigger in this slick paced spy thriller aiming to give James Bond a run for his money.
Tom Cruise is Ethan Hunt, this time out in the cold disavowed by his own government. Re-joining him are Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn and Jeremy Renner both co-opted by the CIA following the IMF’s disbandment. Ving Rhames makes a welcome return as Luther Stickell whilst Alec Baldwin is CIA director Hunley determined to see the IMF dissolved and the team brought under his control.
The villain of the film is Sean Harris as Solomon Lane, a former British agent and head of the mysterious and evil Syndicate looking to cause chaos in the world by undoing the work of the IMF. It also marks the enigmatic arrival of Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson (“Hercules”) as Ilsa Faust, a mysterious Syndicate agent who proves to be Hunt’s physical and intellectual equal.
The IMF is disbanded and with Ethan Hunt disavowed and on the run, he has a singular purpose of bringing down The Syndicate, an IMF style terrorist group intent on causing international chaos.
It is obvious that star and producer Cruise wants to rival the Bond films, with glamourous locations, high tech gadgets, and many references or emulations bearing more than a passing resemblance. Teamed up once again with writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (“Jack Reacher”) whose script is as fast paced and tense as the action, “Rogue Nation” forgoes realism and attempts to outdo “Ghost Protocol’s” death defying stunts, especially the climbing of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa Hotel. These include car and motorcycle chases to make the “Fast & Furious” stunt team envious, a freefall dive into a computer array submerged underwater and the much talked about, Tom Cruise hanging from an Airbus A400M at 5000 feet.
Previous “Mission Impossible” films have featured impressive fight scenes and although this latest instalment is no exception, there are a fewer number of fights to speak of. Jeremy Renner, who showed off some fancy Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu manoeuvres in “Ghost Protocol” is not offered the same opportunity here. Instead it is Cruise and Ferguson who predominantly have moments battling the bad guys empty handed.
Cruise as always skilfully calls on his blend of Krav Maga and Keysi Fighting Method, and Ferguson displays some acrobatic leg locks and devastating looking kicks. Hunt’s escape from the Syndicate’s clutches is the main example of the quality of martial arts choreography used, with fast punches and kicks connecting with some bone crunching devastation, making one squirm in their seat, especially when a henchmen is thrown head first into a metal waste pipe. This is the film’s best fight scene alongside Hunt’s battle with a baddie up in the rafters of the Vienna State Opera house.
“Rogue Nation” is the best of the “Mission Impossible” series, a film trying to outdo Bond with the feel of good old fashioned spy films like “The Manchurian Candidate”. The sinister Syndicate provides chills and a genuine threat in this consistent, well-paced story with dark undertones balanced off with some comic verbal sparring, and superb performances especially from Rebecca Ferguson. Whilst the fights are minimal in number they excel in quality choreography, execution and excitement alongside those breathtakingly insane stunts that will take some beating should there be a sixth film.
- Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg did their own driving stunts. When we spoke to legendary stuntman/action director Vic Armstrong, he also affirmed how adept and skilled Tom Cruise is as a driver.
- Rebecca Ferguson received 4 weeks of firearms and martial arts training.