The Mission: Impossible film franchise is one that moviegoers arguably did not expect to see last as long as it has. With every film, the series has constantly gotten better and better, increasing the action to levels rarely seen before as well as containing wonderful direction, unbelievable performances and pulse-pounding musical scores. Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the sixth film in the franchise, looks to once again continue this trend. While conventional wisdom would dictate that a 22-year-old franchise fronted by a 56-year-old action star would have flagged by now, Fallout has shockingly improved upon the series in almost every imaginable way. It’s not only one of the best installments in the MI canon, but one of the best action movies of the century so far.
Helmed by Christopher McQuarrie, who previously directed Mission: Impossible – Rouge Nation, Fallout takes play two years after the fall of The Syndicate and follows Ethan Hunt and the IMF team, who join forces with CIA assassin August Walker to prevent a disaster of epic proportions. Arms dealer John Lark and a group of terrorists known as the Apostles plan to use three plutonium cores for a simultaneous nuclear attack on the Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca, Saudi Arabia. When the weapons go missing, Ethan and his crew find themselves in a desperate race against time to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.
Aside from probably The Lord of the Rings, no franchise has ever gotten better with each entry into the series. Fallout does not maintain the status quo but rather enhances nearly every aspect the series has become known for. McQuarrie (the first director to direct more than one film in the series) has perfected his craft as THE Mission: Impossible director. The fights are ruthless, stunts are dynamic, and the chases are as heart-stopping as they get. McQuarrie has sharpened a lot of the traits that showed up in films like Jack Reacher and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation to deliver a movie that, at least from an action perspective, tops anything that you will see this summer. This film is the type of movie that will endure because of the sheer level of practical authenticity apparent in each shot. Even when considering the Burj Khalifa sequence from Ghost Protocol or the airplane stunt from Rogue Nation, there are moments in Fallout that are unlike anything seen in a film before.
Whether you like him or not, part of the reason why this film is so great is due to the undeniable dedication from franchise lead, Tom Cruise. After audiences get a chance to see Fallout, it will be hard to argue against the notion that he’s the action genre’s most powerful and permanent figure. Between a single take HALO jump, a fast-paced motorcycle chase, and a death-defying helicopter dogfight (to name a few set pieces), Fallout stands out as one of the most thoroughly-impressive physical performances that Cruise has ever delivered.
This is without-a-doubt, Cruise’s best performance as Ethan Hunt to date. There is a nice balance of physical and emotional pain lurking behind the hero in this movie that wasn’t apparent in many of the other films, with Cruise effectively conveying the character’s perpetual exhaustion through his daring exploits. Cruise however is once again not alone in this adventure and the rest of the film’s cast is equally as amazing. Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg remain terrific as Luther and Benji, Ethan’s most trusted confidants, while Rebecca Ferguson’s return as Ilsa Faust assists in complicating the story and add more layers of the distrust that were apparent in Rogue Nation. It is Henry Cavill though that is the true scene-stealer of this feature. As August Walker, Cavill is a brutally-efficient character who gets some jaw-dropping action beats (particularly one fantastic bathroom fight scene) alongside Mr. Hunt. Finally, Alec Baldwin and Sean Harris return as Alan Hunley and Solomon Lane respectively while Angela Bassett debuts as CIA Director Erica Sloane. While all three of smaller roles compared to the rest, each bring a sense of charisma and tenacity to the already incredible film.
Cinematography is something that you do not necessarily see praised for this franchise but Rob Hardy did an absolutely phenomenal job as Fallout completely stands out from all others in the franchise. Minimal cuts, large scale sequences and shooting at beautiful locations such as The United Kingdom, New Zealand and Norway, Fallout is one of the most beautiful looking films, not only in 2018 but in modern cinematic history. For Fallout, director McQuarrie tapped Lorne Balfe for music and he does not disappoint, at all. His score is (not shockingly) a series best. Balfe exceeded expectations, composing a score that is equal parts pulse-pounding and emotionally driven. His compositions added to the intensity of the adventure and had me at the edge of my seat, making it more of an experience than a simple film.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is by far, one of the best action movies in cinematic history; easily the best since Mad Max: Fury Road. With each installment, the series continues to gain momentum and Fallout will leave you once again wanting more from Ethan Hunt and his IMF squad. It is a film that leaves the franchise with endless possibilities for the future as well as containing incredible performances, dazzling visual effects and a musical score for the ages. Fallout is everything you want and more and becomes something more than a film; it is an experience and the only thing I can say now is go to your closest movie theatre now and see this film.