Usually, when a film franchise reaches its sixth film, we as audience members tend to roll our eyes and say it’s a lack of creativity, they’re milking it and that it won’t be that good. And while that may be true of most film franchises, the same cannot be said of Mission: Impossible, which just released its sixth film, Fallout, this past weekend. The series is known best these days for the seemingly psychotic stunts actor Tom Cruise pulls and Fallout brings that fact to the next level.
The plot follows IMF agent Ethan Hunt as he chases down The Apostles, who are the remnants of the Syndicate from the last film. This is the first time an Impossible film has leaned so heavily on past material, making this feel more like a sequel than a next entry. In such, Rogue Nation’s villain, Solomon Lane also returns and plans on unleashing three nukes to decimate the old world order. Joining him for the ride are Impossible vets Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin. Jeremy Renner had to sit this one out due to Avengers, but his absence wasn’t noticeable. Instead, we got Henry Cavill entering the franchise as a CIA agent named Walker, tasked with keeping an eye on Hunt as he goes to Paris to begin his search for some missing plutonium.
While the story isn’t original or novel, its the film’s commitment to filmmaking that sets it apart. Let’s just say that Fallout is now the benchmark for summer blockbuster action. The choreography, framing and editing are all at the top of the game. There are no quick cuts to shaky-cam here. Instead, director Christopher McQuarrie gives us high tension and visually stunning action set pieces.
The much talked about HALO jump sequence was a nail-biting long shot enhanced by CGI effects. I won’t say what they added, but the jump isn’t just Tok Cruise jumping out of a plane-a stunt he did for real. In fact, Cruise stepped his game up for this one in the action department. A fight scene in a washroom in Paris may just be the fight scene I’ve seen on the big screen since The Raid 2‘s finale. But it’s the epic set piece at the end that takes the cake and that’s largely due to being able to tell it’s not a CGI scene, something most films today would’ve done. There’s behind the scenes footage of Cruise at work and it’s really something that has to be seen. Cruise made us all wonder if he’s crazy with these stunts, and while that remains to be seen, he’s definitely committed to making the best action-spy-epic there is.
The rest of the film does pretty well too. As mentioned, the story isn’t particularly original and I don’t think it was quite as good as Rogue Nation’s, the series’ high point in my opinion. But Cruise and his costars brought their A game which means that the film is still viciously entertaining. The film may be focused on action but it also knows a movie is only as good as its characters. Ethan Hunt has some inner demons to face here and his moral compass may actually be a problem for the world. As such, he has to take responsibly for his actions or face the fallout, literally. Ferguson’s MI6 agent Ilsa Faust also returns with a mission of her own that only makes Hunt’s job harder.
Cavill does a good job with his role but I’d say he was the weakest part of the movie. Not that he was bad, but I feel he didn’t have much to do or work with. Vanessa Kirby, on the other hand, plays The White Widow and is a scene stealer with her much shorter screen time. Sean Harris returns as the villain but I found him to be less menacing and intelligent than he was in Rogue Nation, which was a bit of a bummer as I thought his performance in the last film was the best villain role in the series and a worthy adversary for Ethan Hunt. He just didn’t seem as compelling, interesting or threatening this time, despite the huge threat to the world he orchestrates.
Overall, Mission: Impossible Fallout is a thoroughly entertaining action epic. It raises the bar for what an action movie can be. The emphasis on not only the crazy stunts but doing it for real while adhering to great filmmaking techniques and focuses on character sets the movie apart from its peers. We’re six entries in and I just can’t wait for a possible seventh.