I’m quite the sap for action films. I like the fast paced, heart-stopping sequences. In general, my life as a religious sister is pretty low key (one would certainly hope so, right?), so like many theater goers, I enjoy living vicariously through film for a couple of hours every once-in-a-while. And as a Mission Impossible fan since Jon Voight fell into the river with bloody hands back in 1996, my sense of anticipation was high. Rogue Nation does not disappoint.
The excitement began even before the moment the famous soundtrack started playing and it didn’t stop—ever. The Impossible Mission Force has been disbanded for their unconventional methods and the leftover agents are incorporated into the CIA. Meanwhile, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is convinced that a rouge organization he calls The Syndicate is alive and operative around the world. But nobody believes him.
All the things we love about Mission Impossible are here in Rouge Nation. You have your multitude of action sequences, motorcycle chases, and seemingly impossible infiltration of some secure facility against all odds. Tom Cruise does most of his own stunts, even hanging off the outside of an airplane as it takes off.
Risking treason by joining Ethan in his hunt (pun definitely intended) for the Syndicate, Benji (Simon Pegg), Ethan’s tech wizard and comic relief extraordinaire, steals the show and keeps us laughing even as our knuckles turn whiter and whiter and whiter. While Pegg gets to share the most screen time with Cruise this time around, Jeremy Renner continues to be awesome as William Brandt, the smooth member of Ethan’s team who liaises with the government. I never knew that listening to Renner say, “I can neither confirm nor deny any details without the permission of the Secretary,” could be so funny.
The value most in play in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is loyalty. The scene when Ethan goes to save Benji reminds me of Jesus saying, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
The other value evident here is more in the experience of the film rather than the film itself: play. I once heard someone say that there are only two things we do simply for the joy of it: praise and play. We praise God because he is God and worthy of praise. It not only brings joy to God but to us. Play does the exact same thing. Play gives us a chance to delight in life and God a chance to delight in our delight. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation isn’t deep or profound but it is lots of fun. So go. Just give in to how ridiculous it is that Ethan and friends actually walk away from all the death-defying situations they find themselves in and just have a good time.