Knee-jerk review: "Mission Impossible Rogue Nation"

1. The hanging-onto-the-side-of-a-plane-taking-off stunt that you've seen in all of the trailers and TV spots is undeniably eye-popping, but it doesn't top the ridiculous crawling-on-the-outside-of-a-skyscraper sequence from 2011's Ghost Protocol.
2. Tom Cruise may be a strangely optimistic and intensely driven person (so says our exclusive inside source), but you cannot deny that he is a movie star who knows how to project charisma and make well-oiled, audience-pleasing movies.  Aside: his sci-fi thriller Edge of Tomorrow is criminally underrated.
3. If the adage is true that great movies need only three great sequences, then Rogue Nation is a great movie.  Our favorite was the opera house sequence, which more than one critic has accurately described as "Hitchcockian."
4. That said, the movie's got a few too many climaxes.  It's too long by probably 20 minutes.  We chalk this up to writer-director Christopher McQuarrie's love of plot turns.
5. And how many times will Cruise's Ethan Hunt character have to go on the run to clear his name?  It's becoming a little predictable now.
6. Rebecca Ferguson is certainly a revelation, projecting sass and smarts and keeping the audience guessing as to her true loyalties.  You wonder if Rogue Nation's producers somehow missed the memo: this is an A-list tent-pole action movie here and they make a woman a co-lead rather than a tag-along, damsel-in-distress sidekick?
7. Ving Rhames doesn't look healthy to us.
8. We've always loved how these Mission: Impossible movies treat the credit sequence like an overblown version of a TV show, what with the rapid-fire editing of the "episode" we're about to watch.
9. And how can you not get pumped when that theme song kicks in?
10. Alec Baldwin's having a good time.  "30 Rock" notwithstanding, this is an actor who never got used the right way.
11. Not as good as Ghost Protocol, but it's a close second.

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