I must admit that I’m a new passenger on the Mission: Impossible party bus. You see, I’ve never had a great love of Tom Cruise and I’m very rarely in the mood for an action film, and I’d somewhat naively categorised them as simple, brainless action films, by the time I’d watched Ghost Protocol, I was quite happy to admit that I was very, very wrong about the series.
Now, the media profile for this film was huge, and my review comes three weeks after everybody showered it with praise, with some even calling it one of the best action films of all time, and after the high benchmark left by the previous two films, this is high praise indeed.
After the events of Rogue Nation, members of the Syndicate hatch a plot to steal plutonium from the Russians to cause untold destruction and Ethan Hunt is sent to stop them, however, him and his team are hamstrung by a CIA operative, sent to oversee the mission. leading to intrigue, twists and turns.
Sometimes, writing story synopsis without spoiling big plot points is very difficult, and a film series like Mission: Impossible, with its many twists and turns, pose one hell of a challenge and the above is the best I can try and explain Fallout without giving away its many treasures.
After seeing Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation in quick succession like I did, I found it difficult to believe that a franchise that’s six films in could possibly improve, but alas, it did, somehow raising the stakes from last time out and increasing the epic, yet coherent, set pieces.
One treat of the M:I series is the recurring element of Tom Cruise performing unbelievable stunts, the peak of which for me is the moment in Ghost Protocol where he climbs the outside of a skyscraper in Dubai, and that trend continues here with an incredibly tense high-altitude skydive set piece which is perfectly performed and shot, so bravo there.
Usually, action films are thin-on-the-ground plot-wise and are merely an excuse for the hero to look good and kill a lot of baddies, but this is an area in which Mission: Impossible frequently excels, and I’m also a fan of how each instalment flows into the next, as it feels like this film and Rogue Nation in particular are two parts of one, epic story and the recurring characters all have something to add.
Tom Cruise is really at his best in these films, you really get the impression that he’s truly passionate about the series and the characters to continually put his body on the line at the age of 56. A lot of the talk around his stunts are that he’s known to perform them himself, and we’re told this so often that I think we may have stopped appreciating it. I know his age doesn’t really factor into it too much as he’s in better shape than me and I’m more than half his age, but it truly is amazing the extents he’ll go to to make an entertaining movie.
Cast-wise the main gang are back, sans Jeremy Renner, whose commitments to Marvel made being in this impossible (pun not intended) and all are at their best. The addition of Henry Cavill is a welcome one indeed, with the opportunity to show he’s more than just Superman, he grasped it with both hands, showing his capability in the brutal practical action scenes, and holding his end of the stunts too, his character development is stellar too, if a little bit telegraphed towards the third act, but all in all few complaints can be aimed at the cast. Ving Rhames is perfect as always for Luther, Simon Pegg gives the film some much needed levity and Rebecca Ferguson is mysterious and deadly, just like last time.
Christopher McQuarrie once again talks the directors chair for this instalment, being the first director to return to the franchise after showing some of his potential in Rogue Nation, and I’d call this a triumphant return, everything he got right last time he expands upon, the action is tight and intense, the plot keeps a nice pace, while containing enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, and some of the landscapes are beautifully captured, I’d call this a directorial triumph for Mr McQuarrie as well as praising his efforts on the script.
There are very few negatives I can levy at this film as a whole, given how tight its structure and pacing is, there are a few nitpicks however, the head of the CIA is a bit inconsistent, derailing the team one minute and helping them out the next, with her justifications changing on a whim, but that’s really the worst I can say about it as everything else is polished to a mirror-shine, its action set-pieces in particular feel earned and a coherent part of the plot, which is normally where most action films fall down, this film simultaneously never takes it’s foot of the pedal, yet is spaced out enough to tell an engaging and thoughtful story. This is the pinnacle of action film-making, it doesn’t get much better.