In anticipation of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, we had a weeklong MI movie marathon at our house. I had not seen most of these films when they came out, and I’m not really sure why, since I enjoy fast paced, funny spy romps. So I was glad I took the time to catch up on the series.
I suppose the term “romp” is probably not what the producers had in mind, but these films are so much fun! The jokes! The stunts! The rappelling! The Benji! Seriously, Simon Pegg is just adorable. I need to look him up to see if he really is Scottish or if he’s just really good at the smart funny geeky Scottish guys. And Ving Rhames’s dry wit and general badassery was fun to watch too.
I liked how Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt has evolved over time. He has grown, matured, honed his craft, loved and lost, and become almost the Old Man of the unit, except when he is rappelling off of something ludicrous or clinging to the side of an airplane by his fingernails. And that man has certainly kept himself in shape.
My favorite MI villain was in Rogue Nation. Sean Harris was intimidating in a role that at first appeared to be an amalgamation of visual references to the 1980s and 90s. When he first appeared, I thought he was HRG from Heroes. Then he reminded me of a whispering David Tennant. I was about to write him off entirely in the scene where he wore a black turtleneck and reminded me strongly of Dieter from Sprockets, but then he actually had a scene where he did something other than skeptically accept Ilsa’s excuses and started to drive the action. Then Harris was no one other than himself and his whispering menace was a lot more compelling.
As a Washingtonian, and as someone who works and has worked in Congress, the White House, the Department of Defense and the intelligence community, I always look forward to seeing your Federal Government at work in Hollywood films. When I saw Rogue Nation, I really enjoyed the addition of the Congressional inquiries. I never saw the Dark Committee Rooms when I worked at the Capitol, and there were not enough staffers shuffling papers behind the Congressmen on the dais, but I loved the way that Alec Baldwin’s combination of bravado, smooth talking, and gravitas as a senior executive effortlessly got exactly what he wanted from the Committee each time he appeared before them. Jeremy Renner’s grimaces as he was outmaneuvered were pretty familiar, though. I’ve seen that happen in a few conference rooms over the years.
I wonder if I should go back and watch the original television series. Does anyone feel strongly about this one way or the other?