Mission: Impossible – Fallout (hereafter simply referred to as “Fallout") is directed by Christopher McQuarrie. The film stars Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, and Vanessa Kirby. It’s the sixth installment in the ongoing Mission: Impossible film franchise which started in 1996, and is based on the classic television series.
Ethan Hunt and his team are tasked with retrieving plutonium which an anarchist plans on using as part of a deadly scheme involving the detonation of nuclear devices to rebuild the world as he sees fit. When the plan to recover the plutonium goes awry, Hunt must go undercover in his mission to recover it. But along the way he’ll have to deal with unexpected threats, allies turned foes, and some of the most dangerous adversaries he’s ever faced.
Sometime in the 90s, and continuing into the present day, Hollywood got the crazy idea it might be entertaining to start remaking old television shows as feature films. And while this has resulted in some complete and utter disasters, every now and then a true gem is born. The Mission: Impossible film franchise took on a life of its own, over the course of six films and more than two decades (I will admit I haven’t seen every single film in the series, though). Ethan Hunt has become one of Tom Cruise’s defining roles, and while some films have gotten mixed reviews, they’ve been hugely successful at the box office. Six installments later, does this series still have the thunder it once did?
The answer is a resounding yes.
Fallout isn’t only a great action thriller; it’s one of the best films I’ve seen all year. Thanks to perfect casting fronted by the always brilliant Tom Cruise, a cerebral script which is anything but mindless, and some amazing action sequences which will keep your eyes glued to the screen throughout its nearly two-and-a-half hour duration, it comes highly recommended.
There aren’t enough good things to say about the cast. Say what you will about Thomas Cruise Mapother IV; the man always provides fantastic performances. Even in films that are below par, his acting is usually still a highlight. Three decades after classics like Top Gun and Rain Man, he’s as entertaining as ever. In this film he has chemistry with every single one of his co-stars, allies and enemies alike. The result is that he delivers throughout every second of this movie. An action picture doesn’t work without a believable portrayal from a charismatic leading man, and Cruse’s Ethan Hunt more than delivers.
The supporting cast holds up just as well. Agency teammates of Hunt portrayed by Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg bring much of the film’s comic relief, yet the lighter and more humorous moments don’t detract from the movie's tone. Alec Baldwin and Angela Bassett shine in fairly minimal screen time as superior officers in some of the more dramatic moments the movie has to offer.
But the biggest highlight of the cast is Henry Cavill (best known for playing Superman in DC’s Extended Universe of films) as a CIA agent Hunt must reluctantly ally with early in the film, only to find his motives and allegiances may not be all they seem. He’s the quintessential guy you love to hate, charismatic and stealing every second of screen time he gets. If you ever wondered if Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt would meet his match, this guy must be seen to be believed.
I also give the filmmakers credit for giving us action which does NOT come at the expense of a plot. If anything, the film has more plot than it needs (but more of it than less is a welcome change in a modern action thriller). We have heroes setting out to prevent the world from a disaster with the potential to wipe out the population, with anarchists and villains who have understandable motivations despite the obvious consequences of their scheme. Along the way there are plenty of moments of development, plot twists, and “gotcha” gags which will catch you off guard. Perhaps one of the best aspects of Fallout is you don’t have to have seen the previous Mission: Impossible films to enjoy it, though if you have you’ll certainly be pleased to see your favorite characters again, along with the new faces.
Okay, we’ve got a decent storyline, and great actors with plenty of chemistry. But does this action movie deliver in terms of, well, action?
You bet it does.
You won’t want to take your eyes of Fallout despite its run time of nearly two-and-a-half hours. Shootouts. A skydive through a thunderstorm. A gritty, violent brawl in a bathroom. Sequences of espionage gone horribly wrong. Double crosses. Some of the best helicopter action ever seen on screen in a feature film. There’s literally always something going on. And when the action takes a breather, the plot takes over. You’ll have a lot of things racing through your head as you take in Fallout, but “I’m bored” certainly won’t be one of them.
Granted, the film isn’t perfect. The run time does still feel a bit excessive; certain plot elements and action scenes do tend to drag a little longer than necessary. As was previously stated, I appreciate the presence of a plot and an all-star cast, but the excess of plot and supporting characters does, at times, bog down the film. The villain’s plot is also going to feel a bit too familiar to moviegoers. But these are MINOR flaws, and should in no way deter you from seeing the action spectacle of the year.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a great movie, period. A few minuscule flaws don’t detract from what is easily the best espionage action movie of 2018 so far, and certainly the summer's biggest and best blockbuster. If you want cerebral storytelling, unrivaled action sequences, and just enough comic relief to prevent things from feeling TOO serious and bleak, it’s the ideal film. Definitely choose to accept this mission.
Rating: Three-and-a-half stars out of four.
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