Rated PG-13. Running time: 2 hours 11 min.
Our content ratings (1-10); Violence 5; Language 1; Sex 8/Nudity 3.
Our star rating (1-5): 3
Evil brings death to the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
Consider this the cinematic version of one of those super energy drinks or an over two hour-long roller coaster ride. There is a plot and some human interaction as our Tom Cruise super (well not quite, as he does eschew tights, tall boots, and a cape) hero Ethan Hunt, assisted by some faithful friends, endures all kinds of perils in order to thwart an evil organization so secret that he cannot prove its existence to the head of the CIA, who wants to shut down Cruise’s IMF (Impossible Mission Force).
Instead of a cliff hanger, director/writer Christopher McQuarrie’s film starts out as a plane hanger. Tom Cruise reportedly doing his own stunt work as Ethan Hunt, hangs precariously from the outside of a giant cargo plane loaded with nerve-gas missiles that has taken off from a Chechen airfield. This sequence, in which he is supported on the ground by his old pals, analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner)and techie Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) is played as much for laughs as thrills. Benji has hacked into the huge plane’s system, but he has trouble finding the right control that will open the right door of the cargo plane so that Ethan can gain entrance. When he does open a door, it turns out to be the huge rear one, with the deadly cargo indanger of falling out, and our frustrated hero struggling to hang on while being buffetted by the air stream as the plan gains altitude.
This opening scene is but the warm up for thrills in Morroco, Vienna, and London, as well as frequent appearances by CIA Director Allen Hunley (Alec Baldwin) before a Congressional investigative committee during which he manages to eliminate Hunt’s IMF, thus cutting our heroes off from government support and turning them into rogue operatives. Hunt and friends are joined by his old trusty ally, Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames). The various action sequences are all top notch—even though we know that Ethan will win out, there is plenty of suspense, our hero finding himself in one impossible situation after another, such as being hung by the arms in a Syndicate prison, or holding his breath for an impossibly long time under swirling water in order to gain entry to a facility with a super weapon. My favorite is the assassination attempt staged in Vienna’s Opera House where three different snipers take aim at the Austrian Prime Minister during a lavish performance of Puccini’s beautiful opera Turandot, a sequence that Hitchcock fans will find similar to a scene in the master’s 1956 thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much.
Although Cruise is the center of everything, he is well supported by the other actors, Simon Pegg especially coming into his own this time with numerous funny situations and lines. Rebecca Ferguson also adds a note of mystery and intrigue as the British agent who is a part of the Syndicate—or is she? Will she turn out to be a love interest for Hunt or femme fatale? The M.I. franchise does not add much meaning to our lives, but the films certainly hold our attention and manage to make us forget our own cares for over two hours. This one might well be the funniest in the franchise.
No questions will be offered for this one: just sit back and enjoy the thrills.