So, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation just landed. M:I-5, if you want. Hard to believe these films have been knocking about for the best part of 20 years. How, exactly? Well, like a fine wine, or a particularly funky cheese, this is a film series that gets better with age. The Tom Cruise factor’s obviously a thing, but one thing this franchise gets right is by allowing breathing space between each one (a lesson that the inconsistently wonderful Transformers saga could benefit from). More pertinently, by changing the creative teams, each sequel is allowed to stand on its own merit, with no two being easily dismissed as just more of the same.
Granted, this almost renders them consistently uneven, as Bond aficionados know only too well. Fan of De Palma’s Hitchcockian leanings? Stick with the first. If you like John Woo’s slo-mo doves, then the second one’s for you. Should you favour JJ Abrams’ unhealthy obsession with lens flare, then look no further than number three. Ghost Protocol was the one that got it really right, far as I’m concerned. Brad Bird, tackling his first live-action movie (he’s the fella responsible for The Iron Giant and The Incredibles), brought us a charged, dynamic and epically epic spy movie. Throw in some actual IMAX (not LieMAX, thanks) and Paula Patton, and well, it’s pretty hard to argue with, frankly.
But, there remains the Tom Cruise factor. Few divide opinion quite like him, and whilst haters gonna hate, we must admit that NOBODY does it quite like Cruise. Who the hell else is willing to insist on free climbing without a safety net, scaling the tallest building in the world, or strapping themselves to the side of a frickin‘ military plane for the sake of a film? Call it reckless, call it mental. Whatever it is, that deserves a doff of the cap. Combine that with his inimitable charisma and all-round affability, it’s hard to have a beef with the guy. Even when we’re dealing with lesser titles such as Jack Reacher(ound), he manages to be the saving grace, and quite effortlessly, too.
Whilst there are plenty of talented, engaging actors around, Cruise is one of the few bona fide stars of today, and his badassery is only emphasised by the fact he thinks nothing of repeatedly putting himself in the Danger Zone. All we need is for him to get involved in Michael Bay’s next joint and awesomeness
By James McVeigh
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