Helicopter battles. Skydiving hijinks. Hair-raising parkour. These are just some of the daredevil stunts Tom Cruise pulls off as he returns as IMF super operative Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible — Fallout, the sixth instalment in the franchise.
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie (he also helmed Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation and is the only director to return to the franchise for a second go), Fallout takes Cruise’s affinity for putting his life in danger over and over again and marries it to some engaging character development. The result is a memorable action movie the likes of which you probably haven’t seen in the recent past.
The story, for a change, seems to pick up very soon after the events of Rogue Nation. Hunt, along with his IMF teammates Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg), are on the search for a terrorist named John Lark, and his 12 minions ominously called the Apostles, who are supposedly on a mission to blow up big cities across the world with nuclear bombs. Hunt’s mission (“should he choose to accept”) is to intercept the mysterious Lark before he can buy the nuclear material.
Some new faces have joined the crew. Alec Baldwin is Alan Hunley, who is overseeing Hunt’s mission. Kryptonian Henry Cavill sheds the cape and picks up a gun to play CIA assassin August Walker, who is shadowing Hunt to make sure no mistakes are made on the orders of Erica Sloan (Angela Bassett).
British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), whom we’ve met in previous instalments, is back and is up to no good. Terrorist/former IMF agent Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) makes a comeback also after Hunt locked him up in Rogue Nation.
But great casting aside, the true strength of Fallout is its ability to make full use of the franchise’s backstory to raise the stakes, both personal and in terms of the action. The movie is full of heart (maybe too much heart because the line between the ambitious and the asinine can be very, very thin) and once again pokes at the moral conundrum: is it okay to sacrifice the life of one to save many? Cavill’s cavalier Walker will say yes. Hunt is at a firm no. And this is where Fallout gets most exciting.
It’s a joy to watch the two get used to being around each other and some of the best scenes in the movie are built around the chemistry between them. And while we may never understand all the hype behind Cavill’s moustache, or how it could have in any way contributed to Fallout’s larger storyline, it needs to be said that Cavill makes bad boys look oh-so-good.
Where the film starts to lose its vice-like grip on the audiences’ attention span is when it ditches the action to add more twists and turns in the already loopy and exposition-filled plot, so much so that at one point I honestly had no idea what was happening in the movie. A plot line involving The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby, although entertaining for a while, stretches far beyond anyone’s comfort level. Tight editing and an even tighter script would have greatly benefitted this movie that currently has a run time of a whopping 150 minutes.
Watch Mission: Impossible — Fallout to experience old-fashioned action cinema at its best. Just be prepared to be strapped in for longer than you’re used to. But when thrilling set pieces, heart-poundingly glorious fight sequences, campy dialogues from Cruise and Cavill’s big guns are involved, it might just be worth it.