Rebecca Ferguson and tom Cruise in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION

I re-watched Cocktail, a movie released in 1988 — i.e. 27 years ago — earlier this week and today I watched Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. I gotta say Tom Cruise doesn’t look like he’s lost a step. Right from that opening scene where he’s hanging off the side of a plane that’s taking off — to put things into personal perspective, I can barely do a single pull-up — to the times he swims and leaps and punches and kicks his way through the 5th edition in this series of spy movies Mr. Cruise makes it abundantly clear that he’s in better shape than a lot of us many years younger than himself.

And yet, the very capable Rebecca Ferguson (as Ilsa Faust — nice one with the character name there writer/director Christopher McQuarrie because it is often unclear whether she is the devil or whether she has simply made a bargain with the horned one) always seems to be one step faster than her leading man. She can sashay across a room in a chartreuse gown and then casually cock a knee to steady her gun hand as she prepares to take a shot. She kicks and punches better than some of the guys in this movie and she owns Black Widow’s signature move with a panache that has always been lacking in the Marvel movies. Maybe it’s because she did her own stunts, just saying.

Director McQuarrie working with cinematographer Robert Elswit and editor Eddie Hamilton crafts a zippy thriller that offers all the excitement promised by the genre without any of the bloat or senseless-seeming destruction that plagues the superhero movies we are forced to sit through several times a year. Even the narrative — while bearing a resemblance to the ‘enemy within’ narratives of Skyfall and Captain America: The Winter Soldier — manages an elegant efficiency sorely lacking in lots of spy movies. Considering that the film hops between England, the US, Cuba, France, Morocco, and England again, that is saying something.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is a fun ride and one you should totally undertake if you’re in the mood for some big screen entertainment. That plane sequence is far from the only one that will boggle the mind before the end credits roll. This is ridiculous entertainment done right.