Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Since hitting the reset button, the Mission: Impossible franchise, now with their 6th entry subtitled Fallout, has only raised the bar, setting a high standard for an action heavy spy genre film. The transition happened when director J. J. Abrams took the helm with M:I:III (and has converted to producer since then) and the franchise never looked back from there. Every subsequent film has gotten braver in the storytelling, smarter in execution, sexier by design, and riskier with its death-defying action sequences that are sure to take your breath away. This franchise is built for the big screen and front and center of it all still after 2 decades of dedication to the universe is leading man Tom Cruise.

But Tom is nothing without the brilliant supporting cast he has surrounded himself with. Mixing consistency with the reoccurring roles that have become fan favorites and adding in new faces into the fold, Fallout and its predecessors are the benefit of the full ensemble – giving fans exactly what they want, a film that is both exciting and adrenaline fueled and thought provoking simultaneously. From the opening sequence when the familiar “Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It” is given to the collective sigh of relief that the villains plans have been foiled once again, Fallout is a filling meal, one that will have us all begging for seconds and thirds.

Coming in at a lengthy 147 minutes, the longest entry of the franchise, the pacing starts at 60 mph and only gets faster from there. Yes, there are much needed breaks in the action that all use to their advantage and once the sweat dries and a new plan is formed, its breakneck all over again. And at that length, the runtime is never felt, before you know it, the mission is over, and everyone can begin their recovery.

Taking place 2 years after Rogue Nation and the capture of Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the remaining members of the Syndicate have regrouped themselves as the ‘Apostles’ adopting a work for hire method in carrying out their evil inhumane plots across the globe. Fallout picks up when a man that goes by the alias John Lark hires the Apostles to steal plutonium cores for nuclear bombs. IMF led by Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) assigns agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) to recover the plutonium cores before they can be stolen and used to cause a catastrophic event that could kill millions of people.

This being a Mission: Impossible film Ethan is not fighting alone. Joining Ethan is field agents Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), and Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), sent in by MI6 on a separate crusade but later joining Ethan and co to stop the detonation of 3 nuclear explosives. Anyone outside of these trusted colleagues and most importantly friends poses a threat – Ethan’s convictions are what drive him to pull off these increasingly impossible missions – caring about the one while also saving the millions. It’s never a choice, Ethan is as loyal a character as a person can get.

In pursuit of John Lark, the IMF is aided by the CIA and director Erika Sloane (Angela Bassett) who dispatches August Walker (Henry Cavill) to both aid and monitor Ethan and his small team. To get the plutonium from the Apostles, brokering the deal that includes Solomon Lane is an arms dealer who goes by the codename ‘White Widow’ (Vanessa Kirby). All 3 newest additions bringing their A-game to an established franchise at the height of its power. Fallout is the best the series has to offer with the actor-director dynamic duo of Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise leading the way.

With the pairing comes experience – much like the pairing of Scorsese and de Niro or DiCaprio. McQuarrie returning to write the screenplay and direct the film offers the best outcome for the franchise in terms of its ability to continuously push the boundaries of the true potential of a spy thriller. There is no limit to what stunt Tom can attempt and Fallout out-hustles Rogue Nation by a mile. The Burj Khalifa is the most daring, but the Halo jump scene and the climactic helicopter chase is the most tense these large-scale sequences have become.

And once again, Cruise has put his body on the line (quite literally, breaking an ankle) for the pure rush of adrenaline and spectacle of giving fans what they desire most. Death-defying and jaw-dropping moments that will make your heart skip a beat or two that are shot and edited flawlessly. Paired with these impossible set pieces comes the believability of it all, or the verisimilitude. Dangling off the side of a plane or halo jumping into a storm or climbing the payload hanging off a helicopter, Ethan Hunt is not invincible – he gets hurt but it’s his will to save the world that pushes him beyond the breaking point of a normal human being.

For 2 decades plus Tom Cruise still makes it look like a walk in the park – the star of this franchise has proved age is just a number.

Christopher McQuarrie gives Mission: Impossible a significant edge to it. A franchise that began with convoluted plots and macguffin doomsday devices that, it didn’t matter if the narrative stuck the landing or not has turned things around to being smart, polished, at times humorous to add in some levity to break up the tension and distinguished in the heroes pursuit to prevent the destruction of the globe. Mission: Impossible has been given the ability to go toe to toe with its competition and come out nearly unscathed. A few broken ribs, yes but with the amount of success the franchise has earned, I much prefer becoming engrossed in Ethan’s mission than others.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is undoubtedly the best in the series that has strong contenders that have arguments of their own. Lorne Balfe’s score provides the fireworks when all hell breaks loose, and cinematographer Rob Hardy puts us right into the action. Added in is a touch of self-parody with the mask gimmick (though, the use and implementation of the masks have gotten more clever since the introduction) this is one roller coaster ride that needs to be experienced over and over again with the rest of the franchise proving its potential for something extremely satisfying.

Screenplay By: Christopher McQuarrie

Directed By: Christopher McQuarrie

Music By: Lorne Balfe

Cinematography: Rob Hardy

Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Wes Bentley

Where to Watch: Paramount Plus

Edited By: Eddie Hamilton

Release Date: July 27, 2018

Running Time: 2 Hours 27 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Based On: Mission: Impossible by Bruce Geller

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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