We – ‘we’ being the missus, my son and I, caught the latest Mission Impossible movie – Rogue Nation – over the weekend.  Easily my favorite of the franchise even it was the least spectacular in scope as the film makers decided to go for intimacy this time.

And it pays off big time.

Rogue Nation harkens back to the team concept of the TV show and avoids any type of global catastrophe storylines. Simon Pegg and Tom Cruise play off of each other to great effect and Pegg’s Benji makes Cruise’s Ethan all the more human and relatable for it. Cruise not only plays Ethan Hawke as a more grounded character emotionally but physically too. Cruise, whom I’ve never been a big fan of as an actor, is a bona fide action/movie star and, given he’s in his fifth decade, you have to respect his work ethic in how he approaches these pictures and the shape he keeps himself in to keep doing them.

The script is tight, smart and deftly written. You are never sure of the loyalties of some of the characters but the script avoids cliches. Alec Baldwin’s head of CIA character could easily sail through the flick playing an one note pompous blowhard but he is given a nice arc – with a clever and funny pay off – and is positioned to become part of the IMF family in the next installment if the creators so decide to do so.

Speaking of a more grounded Hawke, he runs into several scenarios where outside aid is needed and it comes in the form of this picture’s biggest find – rouge MI6 agent Illsa Hunter played by Swedish star – Rebecca Louisa Ferguson Sundström – billed simply as Rebecca Ferguson. She brings an allure and energy to the role that will surely see her vault to the top of movie studio lists for action stars and comic book heros.

Ferguson is the complete package. She’s a terrific actress and has the look of a classic movie star. (She reminds me of Ingrid Bergman.) Definitely one to keep an eye out for.

Five flicks in and the IMF franchise is running stronger than ever.  Highly recommended.

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