Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill & Ving Rhames
Rating: 12A Duration: 147 minutes Release date: 25 July (UK)
There are few film franchises that deliver consistently high-quality adventures the way the Mission: Impossible films do. Since JJ Abrams reinvigorated the series with M:I 3, each of Ethan Hunt’s impossible missions have gotten progressively better, while the scale & confidence of each films set-pieces have raised the bar for what we expect to see in modern Hollywood blockbusters.
With franchises such as Marvel, Star Wars and even the Fast & Furious it would seem that there is little room for the more “realistic” tone of Mission: Impossible. The more grounded setting & complete lack of superpowers, force or general leaps of logic may be seen as a detriment to the series, but it only serves to highlight how impressive these films are. Fallout is no exception. Tom Cruise willingly puts himself in harm’s way to entertain people and seems to have the knack of upstaging himself with every turn. Whether it be running through London, engaging in a car chase in Paris or hanging onto the bottom of a helicopter, Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie are consistently upping the ante and providing audiences with some of the best popcorn cinema in years.
The plot remains one of the weaker points of the film and sometimes threatens to drown under its own confusion. There are crosses, double crosses and triple crosses with even Hunt seeming to represent the audience when declaring his willingness to improvise & work things out later.
Contrary to that, there are some wonderful characters on display here & their interactions with each other always seem genuine. The trinity of the IMF: Ethan, Luther & Benji all have a bond which seems to exist outside of the films and their peril is more pertinent here than it has been before, maybe more so after the conclusion of Rogue Nation. Alec Baldwin’s returning Hunley and Rebecca Ferguson’s British Intelligence agent are welcome, but both seem to be put through similar motions that ran through Rogue Nation – Hunley protecting Ethan & the IMF, while Ferguson’s Ilsa has to gain the teams trust all over again. Wes Bentley, Angela Bassett and Vanessa Kirby fill out some minor roles, but it is disappointing to see Sean Harris with little to do other than glare at the good guys. There is a touching reunion towards the end for Ethan, but it is Henry Cavill’s CIA agent Walker who delivers the greatest impact. Muscular and moustached, Cavill invades the screen and shows how he can be such a charismatic actor when given the chance. He also gives Cruise a genuine run for his money when the stakes become more physical.
There are some neat nods back to the previous films in the series, both visually and with the characters. Not only is Rogue Nation developed on, but there are scenes that hark back to Mission: Impossible and M:I 2, thankfully though there are no flying doves this time. At 147 minutes long, Fallout can seem like a daunting prospect, but such is the confidence of the films star and its director that it barely feels like any time has passed before the end-credits are rolling. This is blockbuster film making at its finest, which says a lot when you look at the competition.