Expertly written, produced and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher, Rogue Nation), Mission Impossible – Fallout dazzles with its intense drama and gorgeous, grand scale cinematography.
The sixth release of the popular espionage film series and Tom Cruise star vehicle is a taut thriller with plenty of globe-hopping dynamic action. Even with a running time of about two and a half hours, the drama is beautifully modulated throughout. The intricate plot is satisfyingly convoluted and mostly unpredictable, with numerous twists to keep you guessing while never becoming too complicated.
Tom Cruise once again plays superspy IMF agent Ethan Hunt, who, along with his loyal team, must race against time to prevent the detonation of two nuclear bombs that threaten to annihilate a third of the world’s population.
The greatest pleasures to be had in this film series can be found in the thrilling action set pieces, and while Mission: Impossible – Fallout never quite achieves the elegance of the James Bond films, it certainly delivers on that front. Middle-aged but enduringly athletic, Tom Cruise appears to be doing all of his stunts (he does have a stunt double), some of which are truly death-defying. Cruise was reported to have injured himself on the London set while leaping from one building to another, which caused filming to be shut down for several weeks to allow for Cruise’s fractured ankle and other injuries to heal.
We are treated to white-knuckle sequences in, on and around the Grand Palais in Paris, as well as in, on and around St Paul’s Cathedral in London – a rare treat. Thrilling motorcycle and car chases through the heart of Paris will have you holding your breath as our hero swoops in and out of traffic dodging a barrage of bullets. The grisly battle in the bathroom of the Grand Palais is an exceptionally well-orchestrated fight sequence featuring martial arts specialist Liang Yang.
Casting is a bit distracting at times. What’s Superman (Henry Cavill) and Trump doing in this picture?! (Alec Baldwin makes regular appearances spoofing the U.S. President on the comedy TV show Saturday Night Live.) Why did they cast two women (Rebecca Ferguson and Michelle Monaghan) who look virtually identical? Do we really need to see Ving Rhames in IMAX, enlarged to Jabba the Hutt proportions?
Cruise, Rhames, Ferguson, Monaghan, Baldwin, Sean Harris and Simon Pegg all reprise their roles from the previous films, while Cavill, Angela Bassett and Vanessa Kirby are welcome additions to the franchise, as well as Wes Bentley in a small role.
The always fabulous Angela Bassett co-stars as Erica Sloane, the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, putting her decisive and steely demeanour to great use.
All said, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a superb addition to a solidly entertaining franchise.
This review first appeared in Filmink Magazine.