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"Are you OK to drive? I mean, a minute ago you were dead"

Following the events of “Ghost Protocol” the IMF team have found themselves under the microscope of CIA Director Hunley (Alec Baldwin) who disagrees with the teams “unorthodox” methods. After Hunley convinces the government to dissolve the IMF into the CIA Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) goes rogue, refusing to come in until he has tracked down and thwarted the evil terrorist organization known as The Syndicate.

This marks the fifth installment into the Mission: Impossible franchise in just under twenty years and with this latest outing the series finally seems to have become everything it always wanted to be, a classic Bond film. All the familiar elements are in play here, big stunt set pieces, espionage, Tom Cruise running, but what's added into the mix this time is a true sense of fun. It’s true that “Ghost Protocol” began to lighten up a little bit with the formula but with this film writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (best known for scripting “The Usual Suspects”) has achieved near perfection in the balance of fun, action, humour and suspense. It’s damn near impossible (no pun intended) for the audience to watch this film and not have the same sense of excitement and fun that comes with watching an old classic Bond film (thankfully though without all the violence against women).

The real reason people to go see a Mission: Impossible film isn’t for the story, it’s for the spectacle and it’s here in abundance. Each story beat is bookended nicely with an action set piece, which may seem like it would get a bit repetitive but thankfully McQuarrie and crew mix it up nicely, never repeating themselves and always keeping the stakes high. The real enjoyment that comes from these sequences however is the fact that Cruise is doing the majority of the stunts himself. It’s truly impressive seeing a 52-year-old kick the absolute crap out of a room of thugs knowing it’s actually the actor himself performing the moves. This reaches it’s pinnacle in the car chase sequence where it’s not only Cruise driving the car but Simon Pegg along for the ride, giving the audience a gateway into the action through the eyes (and running commentary) of the more grounded character of Benji.

While it’s fun to see Ethan Hunt back in action it’s the team aspect that makes these films enjoyable and McQuarrie seems to understand that by upping Simon Pegg’s role from merely a Q facsimile to full blown sidekick, a role which his talents work perfectly at countering the austere Cruise. It would have been nice to see a little more of Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames in the mix however but at an over two hour running time it’s understandable why these characters, and their storylines, weren’t serviced as well as they could’ve been.

The film does lag slightly in it’s final moments, not escalating to quite as much a crescendo as it had promised but this doesn’t necessarily retract from the fun that we’ve had in the preceding hour and a half. As it stands “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” is one of the best action blockbuster to be released this year and probably the closest thing we’ll get to seeing an old fashioned Bond film for quite a while.

7 out of 10.

Reviewed by Chris Swan.