Fallout is not only one of the best Mission: Impossible movies yet, it’s one of the best movies of the year, period!
It’s hard to think of a franchise that’s been around as long as Mission: Impossible has that consistently delivered the goods each and every time like this one. For the past 22 years, Tom Cruise has played the role of Ethan Hunt and throughout that time he’s crafted one of the most iconic action heroes of our generation.
One of the franchise’s biggest strengths has been how Cruise wanted to use a different director for each installment to keep things fresh and give each film its own visual style and feel. However, that’s changed for the latest chapter in the series, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which continues with Rogue Nation writer/director Christopher McQuarrie.
This proves to be a strength than a weakness, as McQuarrie continues his story about the Syndicate, its captured leader Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), and how both continue to haunt Hunt. The last mission, Rogue Nation, was a darker tone, especially after Tom Cruise’s daredevil theatrics on the Burj Khalifa in the vibrant thrill-ride that was Ghost Protocol.
With the latest Mission, McQuarrie balances the dramatic weight and the story by upping almost every action sequence to blockbuster-level proportions, constantly raising the stakes and never slowing down the pacing to allow audiences to catch their breath. Truly his best work as a director, particularly a car/motorcycle chase through the streets of Paris that’s one of the best chases I’ve ever seen. The fight choreography is flawless, the camerawork is fluid and up close and personal.
Action films have their steady stream of tropes, like two people fighting on the ledge of a building while the item they’re fighting over dangles perilously close to the edge. This sort of thing happens a few times over the course of Fallout’s lengthy duration (best not to consume any liquids before or during the movie, because you don’t want to miss a thing). Yet McQuarrie absolutely nails each one not only with his superb choices of shots in each scenario, but also because of how incredibly engaging he’s made the mission at hand as well as the characters taking part in it.
I’ll avoid spoiling the mission that Ethan Hunt has chosen (has he ever turned one down?) by only hitting certain bullet points you may want to know. While the franchise works just fine watching them out of order or individually, with each film having its own identity, Fallout has a few callbacks (with some reaching all the way back to the first film in 1996) that help create an even greater experience for fans who have followed the series since the beginning.
The Syndicate is actually first mentioned at the end of Ghost Protocol to Ethan Hunt just before the end credits hit. This marked the first time in the series that a sequel was set-up in the previous installment, and with the Syndicate scattered after the capture of their leader during the events of Rogue Nation, Fallout marks the first time that a villain has antagonized our hero across the span of two films as well. Yes, the notorious Solomon Lane returns once again as the bane to Hunt’s existence. This time out a splinter cell of the Syndicate has formed called The Apostles and they’ll stop at nothing to bring the world to its knees while restoring the order they see fit once and for all.
Also back in the game are Hunt’s team members Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg), as well as former MI6 agent, Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who’s on a mission of her own. Faust returning after things were left relatively open-ended for her character was a pleasant surprise. Ferguson does such a great job with a character that can easily hold her own alongside Hunt in a fight, and having a powerful woman like this in an often testosterone-fueled environment only makes things better. As for the returning veterans, Luther has been the one constant teammate throughout all the films, and Benji has also become a mainstay whose presence on the team would be sorely missed if he didn’t make the cut. Speaking of not making the cut, Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt is notably missing for the first time since Ghost Protocol. For those wondering, his character’s omission simply had to do with scheduling conflicts with his filming of the latest Avengers movie. Hopefully, Brandt will return in the future.
The loss of Renner allows a talent exchange in the form of another actor known for being super. Henry Cavill, yes Superman (or in this case Clark Kent rocking an awesome mustache) joins the group – albeit not by the choice of Hunt or IMF Secretary Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin). Cavill plays special CIA operative August Walker, assigned to Hunt’s team by CIA Director Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) to keep an eye on Hunt and make sure the mission at hand is accomplished the way the CIA wants it done. Cavill is a physical specimen and a man to be feared in a bare-knuckled fist fight. When Cavill loads his arms like a pair of pump-action shotguns in one sequence you know he means business.
Walker is the hammer to Hunt’s scalpel and the two make for an interesting love-hate pair. Once again, Cruise shows why he’s the best Hollywood has when it comes to giving action-craving audiences what they want. Here’s a man that is 56 years old continuing to push the envelope in performing most of his own stunts to the point of injury (he broke his ankle during production jumping from the top of one building onto another – the shot and its aftermath are in the movie).
The older he gets, the more intense and wild the action scenes become. But on top of that it’s also his acting chops that truly set him a rung above the rest (sincere apologies to Matt Damon). There’s a lot of layers to Ethan Hunt and Cruise knows just when to peel them away or wrap them back up whenever the moment calls for it. There have been a lot of extremely talented people involved in the Mission: Impossible franchise that have helped make it the powerhouse franchise it is today, but Cruise is the engine that makes the impossible possible.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is the definition of a Hollywood blockbuster done right. While it clocks in at a lengthy 150 minutes, there’s simply so much explosive, white-knuckle action that the ride is over before you know it. And what a masterfully crafted ride it is. The Cruise-McQuarrie combo have done it again, creating not only one of the best Mission: Impossible movies yet, but also one of the best, most entertaining movies of the year, period!
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer(s): Christopher McQuarrie, based on the TV series created by Bruce Geller
Notable Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin, Angela Bassett
Brendan Campbell was here when Inside Pulse Movies began, and he’ll be here when it finishes - in 2012, when a cataclysmic event wipes out the servers, as well as everyone else on the planet other than John Cusack and those close to him. Brendan’s the #1 supporter of Keanu Reeves, a huge fan of popcorn flicks and a firm believer that sheer entertainment can take a film a long way. He currently resides in Canada, where, for reasons stated above, he’s attempting to get closer to John Cusack.