Minsk: Benji (Simon Pegg) is camouflaged on the side of an airfield watching a plane get loaded with missiles. He’s trying to hack into the plane’s systems, but can’t until Luther (Ving Rhames) does his technical stuff elsewhere. Back in Washington, Brandt (Jeremy Renner) watches via satellite. The plane is about to take off, but they can’t have it leave with its package. Also, where is Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise )? From out of no where, Hunt jumps on the plane as it’s taking off. He hangs to the side and yells to Benji to open the door. Benji opens the wrong door, the cargo door in the back. Hunt tells him to open the other door. He does. Hunt flies inside, but almost gets blown out the back. The crew from the plane go to find out what’s happening back there. Hunt releases the cargo.
London: Hunt goes to a record store and after an elaborate exchange of codes with the cute shop girl, is given a record. He plays it in the listening room to get a mission debriefing. He finds out that he was able to stop the missiles from the plane, which contained nerve gas, from getting in the wrong hands. The voice on the recording also tells him that they know Hunt believes the Syndicate is behind this and he’s right. Because this message also comes from the Syndicate! The listening room fills with gas. Hunt sees a man (who we later find out is Solomon Lane (Sean Harris)) shoot the cute shop girl in the head.
Meanwhile in Washington DC, Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) from the CIA meets with the Senate committee and Brandt to dissolve the IMF. Hunley argues that the IMF operates strictly on luck and their luck has run out. They agree. The IMF is no more. All the operatives are to be recalled, including Hunt.
Hunt is being held someplace. He’s bound to a pole. A mysterious lady (we later find out is Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson)) comes in and takes off her shoes. She sizes him up before Janick “The Bone Doctor” Vinter (Jens Hulten) comes in to torture/kill Hunt. Hunt says, “Nice shoes.” Vinter looks at his, to which Hunt says, “not yours. Hers.” Oh snap! Ilsa helps Hunt escape, but doesn’t go with him. She says she’ll make it look like it was all him. Hunt calls Brandt to tell him that the London terminal was compromised and the Syndicate is real. He wants Brandt to look up reportedly dead ops (Vinter should be one of them). Brandt can’t because the CIA shut down the IMF. We didn’t have this conversation. We see Hunt was shot in the escape. Hunley says that this is Hunt’s last day of freedom.
Six months later the CIA crashes a hideout in Havana where they believe Hunt is. He isn’t there, but he is watching from Paris.
Benji is assigned to a desk at the CIA and spends most of his time playing video games. He’s called in weekly to answer questions about Hunt while on a polygraph test. He tells Hunley, “Hunt’s out there. I’m stuck here. We’re not friends. I owe him nothing.” When Benji gets back to his desk he finds that he’s won tickets to go to Vienna.
He gets there and someone bumps into his on the subway and hands him a package. Inside are tickets to the opera and a pair of glasses. The glasses allow him and Hunt to communicate. Hunt believes that the guy who shot the girl in the record store is going to be at the opera to assassinate the Austrian President. Benji goes to the opera and Hunt is there too. Separately they search for the bad guy. Benji does it by hacking into the opera house security system, which apparently shoots the audience. Ilsa is there too, wearing a yellow dress. Hunt follows her, but becomes aware of a “musician” whose horn is actually a gun-horn! Ilsa builds a gun too. Adding to the tension, Benji sees that one of the security guards also has a gun aimed at the Austrian president. Hunt looks at the music on the conductor’s stand and he knows exactly when everyone is going to shoot. So Hunt beats the daylights out of the “musician” and uses the horn-gun. Who’s he going to shoot? The guard or the girl? He goes back and forth between the two. Only one bullet. So he wounds the Austrian president a second before both assassins are going to fire, which causes them both to miss. Benji fights the guard. Ilsa accidentally shoots the guard. The police rush in. Everyone evacuates the Opera House. Hunt escapes with Ilsa. They get in Benji’s car. Nearby, the Austrian President’s car blows up with him inside! Hunt searches her and takes her knife and lipstick. She says that she’s a deep cover British Operative and she’s going to have to make it look like she escaped Hunt so that her mission isn’t compromised. She tells Ethan that he has everything he needs to find her. She jumps from the car.
Hunt tells Benji to go back to DC and tell them that he tricked him into going to Vienna. Benji says that he’s staying by Ethan’s side because they’re friends, no matter what he says in that polygraph! Hunt explains that he’s after this mystery man who is behind all these “random disasters” to take down the world and create a…get ready for this…a ROGUE NATION! In order to find the guy, they just need to find Ilsa. They discover that her lipstick is really a thumb drive that contains a digital security box in Morocco. So they go to meet her there.
Meanwhile, Brandt recruits Luther to help him find Hunt before the CIA does. With a sketch of Ilsa and facial recognition tech, they’re also able to track her down to Morocco. So they head there too.
Ilsa tells Hunt that the mystery man is a former British op named Solomon Lane and he created the Syndicate. The key to crushing them is on a drive that’s inside an IMPOSSIBLE to break into facility. To break in you have to pass by a guard, do a fingerprint lock, open three combination locks and then walk through a gate analysis device which is way harder to fool than facial recognition! It’s impossible unless the person’s profile is in the system. And the only way to get a profile is to dive into a water cooling system where the profiles are stored inconveniently. It’ll take three and a half minutes to do it if everything goes perfectly. Hunt jumps into the water system. He’s going to add Benji’s profile, but he’s his by some giant robot arm and loses both the old profile card and the new one. He manages to retrieve both, but doesn’t know which is which. He makes a guess just as Benji is going through the gate detector. Luckily he guesses right, but he runs out of air and convulses and drowns. Ilsa jumps in and saves him. She defibrillates him to life. Benji meets up with them. She defibs him too, takes the drive and leaves.
Benji and Hunt chase after Ilsa. She’s on a motorcycle now. Vinter and his crew are there on motorcycles too. She double crosses them, knocks over their bikes and takes off. Luther and Brandt are there too, but they’re in a 4x4 and won’t be much help in this high speed chase. Hunt and Benji go back and forth with the Vinter gang chasing each other and Ilsa. Hunt and Benji end up jumping their car off a thing in reverse, totaling it. One of the bikers shows up and is going to put a couple of bullets in Hunt and Benji, but Luther and Brandt run him over with their 4x4. Hunt takes the dude’s motorcycle and continues the chase. All the bad guys are gone and now it’s just him and Ilsa. Ilsa goes around the corner. A moment later, Hunt does too, but what’s this…Ilsa is standing in the middle of the road!?! Hunt dumps his bike and Ilsa scrams. She may have gotten away, but Benji made a copy of the drive. It contains the entire infrastructure of the Synidcate who they are and which politicians they control. But they can’t open it because it’s triple encrypted and can only be opened by the British Prime Minister. They know that Lane is going to kidnap the Prime Minister!
Ilsa goes to London and meets up with Adley (Simon McBurney) the head of British Intelligence. She gives him the drive, but he doesn’t take it. She wants her to give it to Lane and regain his trust
So the former IMFers use their face recognition tech to find Ilsa again. She’s hanging out with Lane. He wants to know why she keeps resisting helping him. She says it’s because he’s a terrorist. They find out that her drive is blank. (Adley erased it with a technical doo-dad when she handed it to him) The IMF meets Ilsa in the airport. She tells them that Lane’s disc is blank and that the only reason she’s still alive is to find Ethan. Everyone is distracted by feedback on their surveillance equipment and Benji is kidnapped. Ilsa gets away too. Lane calls Ethan and tells him to bring him the unlocked disc by midnight or Benji is dead.
Brandt calls Hunley and tells him what’s going on. He says he wants the CIA to collect Ethan alive. Hunley calls Adley and tells him that the Prime Minister is in danger. The Prime Minister (Tom Hollander) says that the Syndicate was a theoretical thing that Adley suggested. The idea was it was going to contain ops from all over the world and the Prime Minister was going to be able to act as judge, jury and executioner. He was assured it was only in the planning stage because ultimately he thought it was too dangerous of an organization. Hunley says it’s too dangerous for them to be meeting because Hunt is always one step ahead of them. He is. Adley is really Hunt in a mask!
The real Adley shows up. Turns out the Adley was trying to cover up his part in creating and losing control of the Syndicate. The IMF drugs the Prime Minister and gets him to unlock the disc.
Lane tells Hunt where to go. It was all coming to this moment. Lane says that he knew when he killed the girl in the record shop, eventually they’d all end up here. This all went according to his plans. At a little café, Benji is rigged with explosives and relaying messages from Lane to Hunt via an earpiece. Hunt tells him that they destroyed the disc. Hunt is now the disc. He memorized all the contents. Lane can’t kill him or Benji now. To prove it, Hunt gives him the account number for an account with $50million to prove he’s not bluffing. Lane stops the bomb and lets Benji goes. He tells his surrounding men to kill Ilsa, but take Hunt alive. Ilsa and Hunt escape. Ilsa kills Vinter in a knife fight. Lane chases Hunt down into a vent shaft thing. When Lane drops down, he finds himself trapped in a glass box and surrounded by the IMF. They won! They gas him and then take him away.
Hunley meets with the Senate again and tells them that this whole thing with dissolving the IMF was part of an elaborate plot of his to take down the Syndicate. He’s not the new secretary of the IMF. Brandt congratulates him on his new job.
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