Mission Impossible: Fallout is the sixth film in the Mission Impossible franchise, and it is impossibly good. It is rare that a franchise this long is able to surpass itself with every installment, but Fallout proves that summer blockbusters can be both fun and great by giving us the best film of the franchise. It is a film that shares some of the strengths of recent action greats such as Mad Max: Fury Road and Sicario, while staying true to the Mission Impossible series.
After the capture of Solomon Lane, the remains of The Syndicate organization have formed a terrorist group for hire named The Apostles. Fallout follows Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) as he tries to recover three plutonium cores before The Apostles acquires them. Hunt’s team comprised by Luther (Ving Rhames), and Benji (Simon Pegg) is joined by CIA agent August Walker (Henry Cavill) when they are assigned a mission to go to Paris to intercept the sale of the plutonium cores between the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby), an art dealer who has contacts in foreign governments, and The Apostles.
The plot of the film is mostly a vehicle for the action, and it features a nice set of plot-twists that, even when unrealistic, provide for great entertainment. It is rare for an action film to sustain itself for 150 minutes, and Fallout is only able to do so because it frames the action in the movie around character motivations that feel realistic and earned. The cinematography, score and editing make scenes that could very well be cliche feel fresh and exciting. The scene before they jump off the plane when they arrive in Berlin could very well have been another boring set up scene for the action to come but it is presented as an incredibly astute lead up to what is one of the most surprisingly exciting scenes of the movie. In Fallout, the excitement isn’t always traditional, and that makes feel a six-movie long franchise, feel fresh and still relevant.
The Mission Impossible franchise is known as a playground for Tom Cruise to showcase his stunt skills. He is known for insisting on performing his own stunts even if that means risking his own life. This is the man who broke his ankle while jumping from one rooftop to another but continued going to finalize shooting the scene; the guy who insisted on jumping from a helicopter in a sequence that took two years to plan, six weeks to shoot and made director McQuarrie lose sleep because he couldn’t burden the fact that Cruise could easily die while doing it. This determination to continue to improve the stunts in every movie of the franchise and avoid using a green screen as a shortcut, elevates Cruise above other action film stars. And, it pays off big time, by providing some of the most jaw-dropping sequences we have seen on the big screen to date.
When it comes to the supporting cast, this movie excels. We have seen many of these cast members before, such as Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin, and Rebecca Ferguson. But, it is the addition of Vanessa Kirby as White Widow, Henry Cavill as August Walker, and Angela Bassett as Erica Sloane that differentiate Fallout from other Mission Impossible movies. Kirby is incredibly well casted as White Widow and one of my favorite roles in this movie, and Cavill is a surprise here too delivering time after time in an opposing role to Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. Angela Bassett’s role is brief but it is both satisfying and promising for the next chapters of the franchise.
Mission Impossible: Fallout is so great because it knows when to walk and when to run, but be warned that when it runs, you will be catching your breath. Fallout is packed with phenomenal action scenes and some of the best stunts you’ll ever see on the big screen, and its surprisingly strong script, remarkable cinematography, and great cast makes it one of the best films of 2018. Even for action movie skeptics, Fallout has plenty to offer, and it has already proven itself as a film you simply can’t miss.