When I first heard about another Mission: Impossible film, I’ll admit that I rolled my eyes; nothing seems to stop the Sequel Train that Hollywood keeps fueling and running us ragged with. So when I bought my ticket on a whim, I didn’t really expect anything all that great.
That being said, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is an exciting film with plenty of compelling yet evenly spaced action sequences all dramatically intensified by a strong core cast. Since I haven’t seen any of the preceding films, I can’t compare and contrast; all I know is that I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
From the opening sequence – yes, the one with the airplane – the audience is instantly transported to the familiar world of the spy film genre; elements of mystery and romance and action and suspense whirl us into another iteration of the genre’s foundation in equally stunning 2015 cinematography.
Tom Cruise returns to lead this solid cast as Ethan Hunt, an IMF agent who’s a bit of a rogue himself, and does so tactfully. Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner also return as Benji Dunn and William Brandt respectively. It’s always refreshing to see Pegg in something outside his former comedies, and it’s equally refreshing to see Renner outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Both carry themselves well. Franchise favorite Ving Rhames dons his Luther Stickell character once again as well, and he, too, lights up the screen with his endearing presence and loyalty to Ethan.
Enter Ilsa Faust, the femme fatale and Ethan’s white rabbit throughout the film. Without giving too much way, this character keeps Ethan (and us) on the run for the film’s entirety. Rebecca Ferguson plays this character with a grace and tact comparable to that of Cruise’s portrayal of Hunt, and the chemistry between these two is magnetic.
The blessing is that Ilsa and Ethan are on the same team (no spoilers, though) as they and the rest of the IMF go against the Syndicate – the titular “Rogue Nation” – through a gambit of underwater powerbanks, side-winding motorcycle chases, and the tantalizing events of the Vienna Opera.
Kudos to writer/director Christopher McQuarrie keeping this small cast as tightly knit and as emotionally charged as possible over such a wide scope of settings. The characters (and the cast) seem like family, and that makes all the difference in a summer blockbuster like this.
The Christian Angle: Giving to the Needy (governments included)
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – and I would dare say the entire spy film genre – can be used to illustrate the humble nature with which Christ wants his followers to have when giving to the needy.
In the film, Ethan Hunt and the IMF team painstaking try to keep their good deeds out of the public eye. If the general population knew what was really going on around them, they would panic and ultimately give way to chaos. And such would be against the purpose of the IMF (and the CIA, MI6, and whatever other secret agency).
The same thing happens whenever we as humans are faced with someone we catch doing something good for us without our knowledge. It creates a sense of disingenuousness which leads to the loss of trust and then breaks out into rebellion – something against God’s purpose and will.
That’s why Jesus is all about the secret way. He makes this point in His Sermon on the Mount:
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-4 ESV)
At the very core of the idea of the Secret Agent is the image of someone who does something good for someone else but doesn’t want the public praise for his or her actions (the same could be said for superheroes, but I digress).
The Secret Agent often risks his or her life out of obedience for whomever they are working, and to do so without receiving any recognition reflects the image of the humble and silent sacrifice Christ became for us as He took our place on the cross.
And the more we see images like that, the more they write themselves on our hearts.
So if you haven’t yet seen Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, I highly suggest you make your way to do so. You will laugh, you will wonder, you will hang on to the edge of your seat, and you may even want to share Jesus with someone.