Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt for the 6th time in the latest installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise – Fallout. The film series, which is now 22 years old, has been one of the more consistently solid franchises over the years, with the only weak spot being Mission: Impossible II. In fact, the series has come into its own as of late with Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol and Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation elevating the status of the franchise from decent action films to must-see action films. Here is a brief plot synopsis of Fallout.
Ethan and his team are trying to intercept the sale of three plutonium cores. Unfortunately, things go south and a group of terrorists known as “The Apostles” gain possession of the plutonium and plan on using it to set off nuclear bombs around the world. The failure of Hunt and his team’s mission causes the head of the CIA (Angela Bassett) to assign August Walker (Henry Cavill) to join Hunt in order to assist and monitor their next mission. Things become more complicated when MI6 operative Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) shows up and all the characters, as well as the audience, begins to question what side everyone is on, including Hunt himself. Trust me when I say that what I’ve written is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the plot, but here are my thoughts on the film.
Tom Cruise is absolutely in his wheelhouse with the character of Ethan Hunt. He is confident, brash, adventurous and loyal to his team. He can kick-ass but also show empathy, which is rare in the action genre nowadays. I also have to praise all the stunt work that he did for this film (he is America’s equivalent of Jackie Chan, it seems), because there are a lot of action set pieces that take place over the 2 hour, 27 minute length of the film that look tiring, exhausting, dangerous but most importantly – fun. Most people are aware that he did injure himself during filming and when the sequence is about to happen where the injury occurred, you tense up a bit because it just looks painful.
The supporting cast is also fantastic. Whether it is returning characters played by Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin or new additions to the franchise in Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby and Henry Cavill, no one seems to miss a beat. I praise the chemistry of the actors in the film as Cruise and Cavill have a fun dynamic as they don’t trust each other but at the same time have to have each other’s backs, Cruise and Ferguson’s characters do care for each other, but can’t quite express it, bringing an emotional tension to their scenes and Pegg and Rhames bring the comedic relief but don’t dumb down their characters as they have critical roles in certain action sequences.
Christopher McQuarrie wrote and directed this film and I will flat out say that this is the best spy movie that I have seen since Skyfall. His screenplay is very sharp (as I would expect from the man who wrote The Usual Suspects) as he never makes the characters look like idiots and does an incredibly simple thing in the climax of the film in having all the main characters involved participate in the stakes of Act III. I won’t spoil what happens, but making sure that they are all included, instead of being conveniently forgotten about, is something that I hope a lot more films take notice of. He directs the film with a confidence that reminded me of Christopher Nolan, in that as a viewer he had complete command of what was on the screen and there was not a wasted frame in this movie. I knew I was going to love this film two minutes into it, when Ethan Hunt gets receives his mission. The script matched the lighting of the scene, and when Hunt says his line to confirm that he is with the IMF, he walks out of the shadows into the light and it was just note perfect. I hope McQuarrie stays with the franchise if and when they make another film.
The stunts are absolutely incredible. Just when you think one sequence is over and it cannot be topped, the next sequence outshines it. We have the HALO jump into a lightning storm, the fight sequence at the night club (where the sound effects and speed of the punches thrown make the audience believe that the impact of said punches are the hardest ever thrown in film history), the motorcycle chase in the streets of Paris, Hunt running across the streets and rooftops of London and the climactic helicopter battle are just incredible. I hope the James Bond franchise is paying close attention in terms of creating great action sequences as they have some work to do after Spectre (which I thought was good, but not great) and can a learn a thing or to from this film. How they pulled some of these stunts off on a technical level is even amazing, as they had cameras in spots that I didn’t think were possible (especially during the HALO and helicopter sequences) which allowed for some fantastic close-up and mid-range shots in the film.
One thing I will say that this is the first film in the franchise where you would have needed to see the previous film (Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation) to understand what is going on at times. Trust me, it is worth your time to do that.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is one of the best films that I have seen so far this year. It has great action, a strong script, and characters that you care about. I do recommend that you see the film in IMAX, as the big screen and sound really adds to the film. I am going to see this film again and I cannot wait for the next mission with Ethan Hunt and his team at the Impossible Missions Force. I give the film 4 out of 4 stars.