By: Mike Agostinelli

Tom Cruise is the man. He might be crazy, he might be blinded by a ridiculous religion, and he might have emotional issues but beyond all that the guy is incredibly WATCHABLE. When he’s on screen he sucks you in and turns you into putty as you bask in the glow of his awesomeness. This isn’t more true than in the Mission: Impossible movies. None are bad, all are entertaining, and he turns his epicness gauge up to 11 with each installment. With Rogue Nation there is no exception.

The previous film, Ghost Protocol, was fun but simple. Too simple. The villain was as cookie cutter as villains come, the plot barely existed, and when it all came down to it the threat was a nuke. How many times have we seen that, regardless of how entertaining a package it was wrapped in? This time, the plot is anything but simple. It’s also not overly complicated. Ethan Hunt has a mission: to take down The Syndicate, a consortium of unsavory terrorist types bent on affecting change on a global scale. He chooses to accept this mission (pun). Complications then ensue, one of them being an incredibly sexy rival agent of skill and sexiness (yes I said it twice) played by Rebecca Ferguson, whose loyalties seem to change on a whim. All the while a bureaucratic CIA man played by the always entertaining Alec Baldwin is trying to shut the IMF down for good, and succeeds. More complications. But we all know Ethan Hunt accomplishes his best work when things get complicated.

So much action in this movie. Car chases, motorcycle chases, fistfights, knife fights…all are thrown at you in spades. A highlight is a delightfully suspenseful sequence at an opera house in Vienna where Hunt is trying to prevent an assassination, with three different assassins gunning for one man at three different sniper points in the building. How he handles it is classic Cruise, giving you the urge to pump your fist into the air in true bro fashion. I would be remiss in pointing out how awesome Rebecca Ferguson is in her role as Ilsa Faust as well. She’s icy, sexy (third time), and utterly badass. Basically a perfect counterpoint to the more direct and squeaky clean Hunt. She’s so good I’d actually love to see her in a spinoff.

There are a few missteps in the film though. The semi-lame Mission: Impossible villain disease strikes again here. While he’s much better than the villain in the previous film, the guy here just doesn’t have the magnetism of say Philip Seymour Hoffman in MI:III. The film is also clearly divided into a three-act structure, and after a breezy and action packed first two acts, the third oddly slows down to nearly a crawl at one point. It’s like they blew their load over the first 90 minutes and had to rest again before pumping out a satisfying yet slightly lethargic climax. Action movies are like sex. If you hit the right beats throughout the process, with just the right bursts of hot and heavy content leading up to your climax, it makes that climax so much more mind blowing and complete. Here, the pacing is a bit off. They throw out their best moves early, and end weakly. Ok, I’ll cool it on the sex references now. Don’t worry.

All in all though, this adds up to an entertaining package. If Ghost Protocol reinvigorated this franchise, then I’d say Rogue Nation legitimizes it. I’d love to see a sixth one, and if Cruise is to be believed, it’s filming next year. Rejoice people. Just don’t jump on any more couches Tom. Or worship anymore ancient aliens. Or complain about psychiatric medication.

I give MI: Rogue Nation an 8.5 out of 10.

Next up: Fantastic 4 (lord help us all)