It’s almost impossible to make a good summer blockbuster right now – However, Chris McQuarrie accepted that mission and has fully succeeded. Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a visual spectacle that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who loves a good, smart action film with beautifully done wide shots and a great storyline. But don’t blink as you watch, because the story comes at you fast, with flash modes and ulterior motives at every turn.
Fallout picks up two years after Rogue Nation and we get a better insight into Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) as a character and his motivations. We learn that although Ethan stopped the Syndicate, the agents left alive now call themselves “The Apostles.” Due to a tough decision Ethan makes early on, the Apostles now have three balls of grade-A plutonium, enough to make three nuclear bombs with strategic destinations plotted for each. So begins our heroes globe-trotting heroics to stop these nuclear disasters as it’s up to Hunt and his gang of IMF agents to find them before it’s too late. Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) and Rebecca Ferguson’s MI6 spy, Ilsa Faust also return for the ride. They’re joined this time by Henry Cavill’s no-nonsense CIA operative August Walker with Erica Sloan (Angela Bassett) as his handler.
A rather elaborate plot full of double / triple / quadruple crosses, treachery and assumed identities take the team around the world in a whistle-stop tour of some famous cities. A frenetic car chase through the streets of Paris, a rooftop run through London and a helicopter ride from hell in Kashmir all impress, as do the cast, of particular fun is Vanessa Kirby’s mysterious White Widow.
And Tom…oh Tom, Tom, Tommy, damn, you have this action star thing down pat and do the genre justice. Cruise is as reliable as ever and at 56 – yes I said 56 – he shows no signs of slowing down, even if it takes him a little longer to recover from a battering these days. Sorry to call it out, but Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson should take page or two from Cruise’s handbook on how to be an actual action film star and make a good movie. As for Cruise, whether it’s leaping from buildings, jumping from airplanes during a lightning storm, or riding a motorbike the wrong way around the Champs-Élysées – he’s coolness personified and is the catalyst for another adrenaline fueled thriller that takes cinematic stunts to a new level. (And, for the most part, they are actually done by him without a lot of CGI blah-ness thrown in.) I applaud him and the crew for raising the bar. The man is a legend and shows that CG is a long way off being as good or as exciting as live action scenes.
The bond of the team (Cruise, Ferguson, Cavill, Pegg and Rhames) is what makes this work and the chemistry of the cast is amazing. I loved Michelle Monaghan, back as Julia in this film for the few scenes she has. Her chemistry with Cruise is emotional and I love their story together and where it has gone. Henry Cavill, too, is a welcome addition to the series and steals some the film’s best moments. The bathroom fight scene is easily one of the best fights I’ve ever seen. It was great to see him get his teeth into a different type of role. I also love that for the first time they referenced the other sequels. The references are brilliant; however, anyone who hasn’t seen the previous movies won’t find them going over their heads. Nor is there the need to have seen the rest of the series.
This film takes the Mission: Impossible franchise to another level and proves that with a great cast, crew, director and writers, sequels can progress the story and get even better. Hands down, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is easily the must see action film of the summer, possibly the whole of 2018.
Media Review Screening: Monday, July 22, 2018 ~ Courtesy of Paramount Pictures