Weekend Forecast for July 31 - August 2, 2015
By Reagen Sulewski
July 31, 2015
In what's becoming a bit of a trend lately, the sequel to the nearly 20-year-old film franchise is *not* the furthest reach back in time for material. In fairness to Hollywood, none of you seem to want anything original anyway, so...
Mission: Impossible is an old enough series such that its first leading lady is now considered way too old to be a leading lady in a film anymore and would probably be cast as a grandmother now or something. It's so old that looking things up on the Internet was still kind of a novelty. It's so old that killing off Emilio Estevez was legitimately shocking. And now, we have Rogue Nation, the fifth film in the franchise that is only tangentially related to the '60s TV series anymore, and is now a bit of a way for Tom Cruise to have a James Bond film of his very own, complete with picking bands to do a theme song every time and to have a different top flight director – this time Christopher McQuarrie, do his bidding.
Slightly unusual in that this film directly connects with the previous entry (ahhh! Continuity, get it off me!!), it sees Ethan Hunt's IMF group chasing after the Syndicate, an underground, counter-spy force committed to destroying the IMF. This, you might note, is quite similar to the upcoming Bond film Spectre as well as the general plot of the MCU up until now, but then again, it's not like “secret evil organization” is that unique and brilliant of an idea to begin with. This may have something to do with the film's surprise move to this weekend from its original planned Christmas release, but I think it just reflects general confidence in the property by Paramount, and it's set to become a late-summer hit.
At this point in the franchise, the roster has started to settle down instead of the revolving cast of hangers-on we had in the first few films, and now Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner can officially be considered full-fledged members of the IMF team, along with Ving Rhames in his fifth straight appearance. The female lead rotates once again with Paula Patton cast aside and Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson stepping into a femme fatale role. Alec Baldwin gets to be the Authority Figure Who Is Wrong About Everything and Explosions star as Explosions.
This seems to be a twisty-turny version of the film, getting back to the head-scratching plot of the first film in some ways, but retaining the lessons learned since then (I mean hopefully – we can all agree that the second one Never Happened, right?). The third film was one of the first victims of Tom Cruise Crazy, grossing just $133 million domestically, although still finding a welcome home overseas, which is why we've actually made to the fifth one. There's no denying that Cruise's star has dimmed in recent years though, and films that would have been surefire hits in his heyday like Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow (why, oh why, didn't you watch this, people?) have become either just modest hits or outright flops (though Rock of Ages was a bad idea from the outset).