If you are looking for a movie review of the fifth installment of the “Mission: Impossible” blockbuster movie series, “Rogue Nation,” this isn’t it.
No, instead this will be me delivering a sloppy wet kiss to Tom Cruise for what he demonstrated in MI5.
The dude just crushed it in this movie and yet, to borrow a phrase from my father, “He’s showing his age.”
And therein lies my admiration.
To watch Cruise at age 53 – 53! – carry out the stunts he did was jaw-dropping.
(Only a mild spoiler since it’s already revealed in the trailers and on the movie poster, but he hangs off the friggin’ side of an Airbus 400 as it takes off! And yeah, so what if he was harnessed in and had all kinds of other safety precautions in place? The guy still hangs off the friggin’ side of an airplane!)
I won’t give away some of the other breathtaking (literally) set pieces in MI5 that Cruise also performed. You will have to see – and appreciate – them for yourself.
But consider that Jon Voight, who starred in the first “Mission: Impossible” movie in 1996, was only five years older than Cruise is now.
And let’s be honest: Jon Voight even at Cruise’s current age did not exactly look athletic.
(I am two years younger than Cruise and get winded pulling on the refrigerator door handle.)
In the current movie, there is the obligatory shot of Cruise shirtless and he’s in stunning shape.
There’s an escape scene that demonstrates his incredible physical prowess. The guy runs, leaps, fights and performs all kinds of other daredevilry that absolutely earned my admiration.
All of that said, though, here’s the thing I think I appreciated the most about the movie: The movie doesn’t try to portray him as the aw-shucks heartthrob of Cruise movies past, such as “All the Right Moves” or “Top Gun” or even some of his more recent starring roles.
Nope, for the first time ever, I found myself going: Yep, he’s showing his age.
Close-ups of his face (to my eyes anyway) revealed some of the wrinkles and plain weariness that comes with being a guy in his 50s.
No Botox here.
What I also appreciated was how in some situations in the movie he either needed to be rescued or his best effort to get a job done (as in a perilous motorcycle chase) does not work out exactly as planned.
In other words, real life happens.
Cruise came across as vulnerable and susceptible to the kind of overreach that guys are known for: “Oh, I can do this” or “I can fix this” and suddenly you are Chevy Chase in a scene from a “National Lampoon” movie, falling off a ladder or recovering from some other act of first-degree knuckle-headedness.
If I had been watching this movie in my 30s, none of these insights would have occurred to me. But being older gave me a different perspective on some of these subtleties.
For what it’s worth, MI5 was a top-notch summer tent pole of a movie but, in my opinion, not as good as the previous one, “Ghost Protocol.”
But if for nothing else gentlemen (and ladies) go watch it to see how Tom Cruise is showing his age but doing it with such style!