When people talk about great action franchises, they rarely mention the Mission: Impossible films. Sure, M:I-2 is a giant turkey, but all of the other entries in the franchise are pretty solid, with some people even thinking the most recent instalment, Ghost Protocol is the high point of the film series. On top of that, spy films are proving to be pretty popular at the moment, with Kingsman and Spy both performing well this year, and 2012’s Bond film Skyfall being the first film in the genre to make more than a billion dollars worldwide.
Unfortunately for Rogue Nation, it’s not quite the best spy film this year (that honour going to the aforementioned Kingsman), but it is damn good. Something all three of the spy films so far this year have done well is that they’re all good fun. Rogue Nation has quite a few laugh out loud moments, most of which come from the supporting cast. Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames all more than pull their weight, contributing witty lines and some really good physical humour.
In fact, the physicality of this film is really its strongest suit. The action sequences frequently made me flinch, and it has some of the best stunt work I’ve ever seen. There is obviously the incredible plane stunt which is obviously jaw dropping, even though I’ve seen it a hundred times in every trailer and on every poster, but there are also some nice surprises that I’m very happy they didn’t put in any of the marketing.
This film was originally slated for a Christmas release, meaning it was brought forward five months, and unfortunately there are a few moments that it does show. A few of the visual effects feel a little unfinished, particularly in one sequence that takes place underwater, but that’s really the only place that it falls short.
The question always comes up with franchises: ‘is it better than the last one?’. I don’t think it is, and I don’t think it’s better than MI3, but it’s an excellent and more than worthy instalment. I have to give a lot of credit to director Christopher McQuarrie, who clearly not only knows how to make a good action film, but knows how to work within the Hollywood system, and produce such a good film, so far ahead of schedule.
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