Tom Cruise has done it again. I don’t know how this dude always does this, but he seems like he is a non-stop machine for great action movies. The Mission: Impossible franchise has been a great series that survived through some crazy ups and downs. However, its center, Cruise, has always put out enough effort to make these movies feel special in ways other franchises can’t uphold.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is unique in the franchise for being one of the only direct sequels. Lots of characters and ideas from the 5th film, Rogue Nation come back to complete their arcs. Yet at the same time, you can enter the movie and still quickly get the stakes. Ethan Hunt (Cruise) cares about people and his team. They’ll always come before others, and he’ll go out of his way to ensure their safety. It’s a core value to the character that gets pushed to the limits here.
The real star of this movie, beyond Cruise, has got to be Christopher McQuarrie. The Oscar-winning screenwriter for The Usual Suspects has now become a Cruise specialty director. In addition to both MI5 and MI6, McQuarrie directed the first Jack Reacher film and wrote Edge of Tomorrow. This guy just gets Cruise and allows him to jump headfirst into these death traps. Yet the way he shoots the action is simply unparalleled.
The first hour of the movie is near perfection. You could strip away all the dialogue and easily tell the film through the visual imagery. It’s the closest a movie has come to perfect visual storytelling in the action genre since Mad Max: Fury Road. This is also a film that never really makes you feel it’s runtime, despite a two and half hour runtime. The pacing is extraordinary, and McQuarrie uses set piece after set piece to deliver amazing scenes. You can easily refer to several of those set pieces as instantly iconic. The bathroom. The club inside the museum. The race through Paris. The helicopter chase. Each of these scenes is awesome in its own right, but when tiled together they create a next level action film.
The scenes in Paris stick out as some of the best scenes in the franchise. The cat and mouse game between Cruise and Vanessa Kirby is one for the ages. In these movies, it is rare for someone to actually go into a scene with Cruise and take it over. Kirby does it over and over again in limited screen time, which will make you wish she was in the movie a lot more.
Henry Cavill does some okay work, but nothing outside of his normal range. He’s big and bulky, a physically formidable member of Hunt’s team. The arm reload has got to be one of the funniest, yet most badass things in an action movie in years. Angela Bassett makes the most of her screen time and continues to showcase why she should just get cast in everything. Sean Harris proves yet again that the Harris bloodline is simply born to act. The son of Jared Harris (Mad Men/ The Crown) and Richard Harris (Harry Potter) is someone who can invoke pure evil when he chooses to. It’s a skill that is very underrated and should serve him well in a long career.
Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames are back again, helping to make a fun team to surround Cruise. You can easily argue that Rhames is overacting a bit here, but he’s serviceable through most of the film. Pegg is very fun again, making you wish they used him more. Rebecca Ferguson steals many scenes in the film and again can physically match up with anyone. It’s very similar to Evangeline Lilly’s ability to take over Ant-Man and the Wasp, but she’s not quite as dynamic.
Overall, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is one of the best entries in the franchise. It is both emotionally and visually exciting to experience. While it won’t crack my Top 10 of the year, it’s clear why it will for some. It’s undeniably one of the best of the summer and should be seen on the biggest screen possible.