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Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation

Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation

The Jewish People’s mission, should we choose to accept it, is the Torah.

by

You’d think that after saving the world a few times – holding the line against terrorists and arms dealers – the world’s governments would take you seriously. But no. Apparently, if you do your job well – if you stop problems before they start – no one notices you.

No matter how many times the IDF – sorry, IMF – saves the world, the world doesn’t seem to remember it.

As of when Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation starts, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has saved the world at least 4 times. Ethan is a member of the IMF – the Impossible Mission Force – which is an American spy agency that gets shut down immediately before huge crises so that the only people who can actually save the world are Tom Cruise and a small handful of exasperated friends.

They’re willing to sacrifice everything. Ethan, for example, takes huge personal risks to save the world, such as swimming inside a turbine, flying without a plane ticket, biking without a helmet, hanging out backstage at the opera, and transferring files.

(The Mission Impossible franchise really knows how to add suspense to file transfers.)

But the IMF is a great squad to work for, because you get to choose whether to accept missions. Do you get to do that where you work? I bet you don’t. The one downside is that the agency keeps shutting down or disavowing you.

“We didn’t tell him to do this. He chose it on his own.”

In every Mission Impossible movie, Ethan gets disavowed.

“Um, when were we… avowed?”

He never gets credit for what he did in past movies. A guy saves the world a few times, you’d think maybe someone would just hear him out. But no, they say, “This guy hangs onto the sides of planes. He’s obviously nuts.”

And this movie is no different. No matter how many times the IDF – sorry, IMF – saves the world, the world doesn’t seem to remember it. It’s like it never happened. Let’s just have major boring hearings in the middle of an action movie where we try to decide whether the IMF should exist. The world just looks at their actions one scene at a time, and sometimes it looks bad. “Hey, Ethan shot the chancellor of Austria.” “Hey, Ethan took out the British prime minister.” Every story looks bad and confusing if you only look at one scene.

Either way, the government has its way, and the organization is shut down. The IMF has been disbanded.

Government jobs, amirite?

That’s not good for the Jews.

But no one told Hunt. At least officially. So he’s running, which is something that Ethan is thankfully good at. He’s running from the CIA and he’s running from the bad guys, and he’s running from scene to scene because it’s quicker that way and the movie’s running time (oy) is long enough. And while he’s running, he has to save the world, even though that’s technically no longer his job. We have to do what we know is right no matter who says otherwise. Even if the whole world is against us. That’s what makes us the good guys.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are the terrorists; the Rogue Nation. In this movie, the Syndicate. The ones for whom individual lives mean nothing, who kill their own people to show the audience that they’re serious. The ones that, as far as the government is concerned, cannot possibly exist. We’re making things up.

The Syndicate is a shadowy organization consisting of officially dead superspies with insane fighting skills but terrible aim. I guess if you’re the type of evil overlord who kills henchmen to show you’re serious, you don’t want them to be able to take you out if you run.

But other than that, they’re deadly. For example, they have one guy, who specializes in torture, called “The Bone Doctor”.

(“The orthopedist” was taken.)

So it’s up to Tom Cruise to save the day while running and hanging on to stuff, often at the same time. But not before slamming into things at high velocity and breaking his ribs in several places, such as Austria, London, and Morocco. Maybe he should stop going to those places.

Can Ethan both avoid the CIA and convince the CIA that he’s right, while also taking down the Syndicate, which involves breaking into one of those places that exists solely to see how incredibly inconveniently they can store computer files, by going underwater for several minutes without a breathing apparatus and doing things with computer chips?

Don’t hold your breath.

Luckily, Ethan has help, in the form of Ilsa – an MI6 agent, or possibly double agent, or possibly triple agent, who, like Ethan, can fight, dangle, bluff, and look nice in a dress.

Maybe the reason the government doesn’t believe the Syndicate exists is because what would be the point? No one – not even the characters in the movie – can coherently tell you what the Syndicate is trying to achieve. Yes, it was originally founded by MI6 to be an agency of superspies with no oversight from annoying government committees trying to shut you down. The project was supposed to be cancelled, but it went ahead anyway.

That was an oversight.

But right now, as I write this article on my computer while suspended from the ceiling by a piece of rope, I have no idea what their endgame was. I don’t know what they actually do, but they do it without oversight.

I do know they’re called “terrorists” several times in the movie. They secretly cause disasters and cause hundreds of deaths and then don’t even claim responsibility. Pointless chaos: That’s their goal.

I also know that someone in the movie calls them an “Anti-IMF”, whatever that means. What’s their point? Is it to just be the opposite of whatever the IMF is? They destroy the world instead of save it? They do possible missions? Apparently. But to what end? No one knows. No review that I’ve read so far could actually figure out what their end goal was. I’m pretty sure some character said it at some point, but it turns out that when you’re a terrorist, your message gets lost in the noise.

Maybe cut out the background noise a little.

I know someone said they want to bring about change. Every bad guy wants to bring about change, because they’re not happy with the world as it is, when the truth is that the worst thing about the world as that they’re killing to bring about change. Will their change be better? Isn’t it better to try to affect the current system, rather than create a new world and start over so you can make all new mistakes?

“You’re killing to keep things as they were,” says Solomon Lane, the head of the Syndicate. “We’re killing to bring about change. How do you know which side is right?”

I don’t know. Maybe it’s the side that isn’t killing innocents on purpose.

As Jews – as the light unto the nations – it’s our responsibility to teach the world. Ethan’s goal in the movie is not simply to kill the bad guys, but to show the world that they’re evil. Otherwise this kind of thing is going to keep happening. This is the 5th time now. We’re getting too old for this.

We have to, as Ethan does, show everyone the value of life and of keeping people alive. No one’s learning anything if they’re dead. Ethan, in the end, figures out how to manipulate circumstances so that Lane can’t kill him. And then he figures out a way to achieve poetic justice without killing Lane either, but rather bring him in to answer for his crimes. The best way to prove someone’s existence is not to blow up their helicopter.

Eventually he manages to make Alec Baldwin see the light and back him completely. Ethan does bring about world change by the end, and does convince the government to reinstate the IMF – by showing them that he was right.

Showing the world – that’s our mission. The Torah, should you choose to accept it, is full of morals that are right, no matter what the opinion of the fickle nations of the world that keep changing their mind every five minutes. If we didn’t accept it, the world would go to hell – literally.

But we did. And if we know we’re right, we need to keep going. We’ll get there. We just have to hang on.

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