Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Tom Cruise has made the ‘Mission: Impossible’ franchise his own.  This is no small feat given the enduring popularity of the original TV series.  Taking the best aspects which made the small screen version so popular, Cruise has stayed true to its action-packed ethos.  Continuing the spectacular action and genuine suspense of previous instalments, ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ is a worthy addition to the explosive series.


Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) faces his most deadly mission.  A skilled agent for the IMF organisation, his life becomes endangered due to The Syndicate.  A sinister cabal filled with assassins and wayward spies, it aims to destroy the IMF.  With his job and life on the line, Hunt gathers his team to destroy the latest threat to world peace.


‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ is a grandiose epic of the highest order.  The villains are suitably wicked, the heroes virtuous and the action is ramped to the max.   There aren’t any hidden meanings - just wild escapist thrill-ride only mega-bucks can buy.  As we journey with Hunt on his incredible quest, the mix of action and humour perfectly blends.  Aided by co-stars including Simon Pegg, Cruise gives a fine performance as a hero determined to right wrongs.


Making ‘Rogue Nation’ work is its vision.  Embracing the story’s world-wide scope, director Christopher McQuarrie ensures the global threat feels real.  The gorgeous locations are a bonus, giving the film a lushly stylised look.  The stunts are what everyone expects and they don’t disappoint.  Effectively utilising their possibilities, McQuarrie brings energetic pace.  Thankfully remembering to tell an engaging story amidst the dazzling mayhem, ‘Rogue Nation’ should delight thrill-seekers.


‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ is a top notch addition to the franchise.  Continuing the high standards of previous adventures, the consistent quality should enable further impossible missions for years to come.


Rating out of 10:  8


Mr. Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is one of history’s most enduring fictional characters.  Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his hero has been re-interpreted many times.  ‘Mr. Holmes’ is the latest to trade on a character seen in all forms of entertainment media.  Providing a fresh slant on the popular defender of rights, ‘Mr. Holmes’ captures the elegant air of mystery first portrayed via Conan Doyle’s pen.


Living in a farmhouse in remote England in 1947, Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) enjoys retirement.  Aged 93 and beginning to lose his memory, he is cared for by housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) and her young son Roger (Milo Parker).  When former partner Watson publishes a book giving a different account of Holmes’ last case, Sherlock endeavours to tell his version of the story.  Attempting to piece together facts before his mind fades, Holmes sharpens his detection skills a final time.


‘Mr Holmes’ is based on Mitch Cullin’s book ‘A Slight Trick of the Mind’ and offers an absorbing psychological mystery.  Wearily coming to terms with the inevitability of his advancing years, Holmes determines to hold onto the last vestiges of his abilities.  Using them to face past grievances and present dilemmas, his relationships with Mrs. Munro and her son increasingly become important.  The central cast provide under-stated performances effectively highlighting the frailty of the situations in which their characters find themselves.


More drama than traditional Sherlock Holmes thriller, ‘Mr. Holmes’ adds an interesting coda to the mystique.  McKellen’s strong rendition makes the character feel more human than the indestructible hero usually seen.  Regret, anger and joy are all etched onto the detective’s face with Bill Condon’s direction teasing out the best of a sedately paced script.  Mystery is there for audiences to uncover but it’s the relationships making ‘Mr. Holmes’ intriguing viewing.


‘Mr. Holmes’ is a successful take on a much loved character.  Holmes’ inquisitive curiosity is still evident with his gift for solving puzzles adding another layer of enjoyment in a generally fine movie.


Rating out of 10:  7