Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is virtually a handbook on how to make a big summer action picture. Everything that Mad Max: Fury Road got wrong, it gets right. Openly silly and fun, the fifth MI installment milks its superstar and attractive co-stars and deluxe locations for all they’re worth. It constructs a plot that somehow gets you to stop asking questions after the first ten minutes (the bad guys are doing… what again?). It delivers broad emotional arcs without ever taking itself seriously. And, maybe most impressively — and most unlike Mad Max — it provides a female action character you can believe in, albeit in the unbelievable world of the picture. (ProTip: the secret is in those long, long legs.)
Of course, none of this works if you don’t have a star of the magnitude of Tom Cruise, which means you have to have Tom Cruise because, at this point, there is no other star of his magnitude. The guy has been at the top of his game for over thirty years, which is more than three times the normal run. But he’s still likable and real even when, as in this, he’s completely unreal. They really don’t seem to make em like him anymore.
Kudos to Christopher McQuarrie, of Usual Suspects and Edge of Tomorrow fame, who wrote and directed with a story assist from Drew Pearce, who had a writing credit on Iron Man 3. It really is a master class in the genre. Great summer fun.