In a world full of CGI, be a “Mission: Impossible.”
Tom Cruise is back as IMF agent Ethan Hunt in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” This is the sixth installment of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, and I have to say that the series just keeps getting better. At this point, besides the Bond films, it has a good shot at becoming one of the greatest franchises in cinema history (along with James Bond, of course).
It beats the “Fast and Furious” franchise by a long shot, that’s for sure. The last film, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” was probably the best installment to date with a very slight lead over “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.”
“Mission: Impossible – Fallout” stars Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, Henry Cavill as August Walker, Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn, Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust, Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell, Sean Harris as Solomon Lane, Angela Basset as Erica Sloan, Vanessa Kirby as White Widow, Michelle Monaghan as Julia Meade-Hunt, Alec Baldwin as Alan Hunley, Wes Bentley as Patrick and Frederick Schmidt as Zola.
The marketing team was having a field day promoting “REAL STUNTS” with “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” and for good reason. One of the main draws of this film is that in a world of CGI, seeing Cruise perform these insane stunts for the sake of the film is inspiring and freaking intense. As a moviegoer, watching them play out one-by-one in “Fallout” made me anxious because I knew that they were mostly real. That’s what a summer blockbuster should be. In a world full of CGI, be a “Mission: Impossible.” (I hope The Rock is taking notes).
The film is directed and written by Christopher McQuarrie, who penned the last film as well. He’s the first director to stay on for multiple films and I’m not complaining. In preparation for “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” I watched all five movies back-to-back. What struck me from the get-go is how disconnected the first, second and third feel from each other. Luckily, the franchise didn’t stop at a trilogy, or it would’ve done a great disservice. When you go from the third, fourth and fifth installment, there’s much more continuity, fleshing out of characters and getting to what Ethan Hunt is all about.
Unlike a Bond or John Wick, Hunt is the only of these characters who is morally grounded, for better or worse. He cares deeply enough about his team to sabotage a mission if one of them is in danger. It’s a fault, but it’s one that is honorable in a character and sets Hunt apart.
One of the things that “Fallout” does well – and I can’t sing the praises high enough – is showing the wear and tear the spy game has had on Hunt. Not all of his plans work out in this one. Cavill’s character, Walker, is there to point out how ridiculous some of Hunt’s plans sound, including the infamous masks – a nod to the crazy antics the series has pulled off. I liked that we saw some flaws and saw Hunt in situations that weren’t always going to go his way. This is where a character like Hunt can shine, and seems like a callback to the action heroes of yesteryear (AKA ’90s). It’s when they are down and out that they do their best work. Think Bruce Willis in the “Die Hard” franchise.
Another highlight of “Fallout” is that it clears up the whole romantic trio that started emerging in “Rogue Nation,” with the Faust character mirroring Hunt. We never really saw Julia in the last installment, only at the end of the fourth film, “Ghost Protocol.” I didn’t mind the missing mention, because as a viewer you can assume shit happened. One is not exactly going to have a happily-ever-after in spy world. Also, I don’t like a lot of romance in my spy thrillers or action films if it’s not called for. I don’t need to have a damsel in distress to get me to root for the hero. However, in Hunt’s case, this love triangle is heartbreaking and satisfying.
It was really touching to have Rhames’s character, Luther, who has been the only character to last the whole series, deliver the heartfelt speech to Faust about Hunt and his two lady loves. Clearly, Faust and Hunt have something brewing even though no kisses have been exchanged. I mean, she’s basically the female version of Hunt and, dare I say, slightly better having saved his butt a few times. I don’t know how they wouldn’t fall in love given these scenarios.
I have to mention Vanessa Kirby as White Widow because I am huge fan of hers from her portrayal of Princess Margaret in Netflix’s “The Crown.” She was the perfect White Widow and held her own against the seasoned Cruise. Bravo!
Okay, let’s get to the stunts. There’s skydiving into a lightning storm, motorcycling through the streets of Paris, and a HELICOPTER chase, among others, plus an amazing, heart-pumping score to accompany all the action. There’s one scene early on in the film, that is probably one of the best action sequences I’ve seen in a long time. Kudos to Cruise, Cavill and Liang Lang as Lark Decoy. You can see a snippet of that scene in the trailer with Cavill’s infamous arm pumps!
Honestly, as an action fiend longing for the days of real stunts, I was in heaven watching “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” It was the right amount of practical, with the slightly ‘oh, come on!’ experience, which is what I want in a movie. Cruise is better than ever and, however you feel about him as a person, one thing you can’t deny is that he brings the Hollywood blockbuster A-game and we’re all the better for it.
With all good things, there are some tiny flaws I have to point out. Henry Cavill. Bless his Superman heart. Look, I love Cavill ever since he was the sidekick to a former “Mission: Impossible” alum, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, in “The Tudors,” but I have to say it: his delivery of the lines are, at times, comical and cringy. I don’t know what it is, but he needs to work on it. There were also some weird transitions from Luther’s speech that felt out of place among other moments, but those are forgivable.
All in all, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is bringing action back and I can’t get enough. Make sure you head out and catch this movie on the big screen!
Featured image credit: Paramount Pictures