Release Date: July 27th, 2018
Mission Impossible: Fallout is the type of film that invites viewers into the action. From an epic skydiving scene to a helicopter chase, the camera focuses in on its main actors — especially Tom Cruise — as they complete incredible stunts right in front of us.
Cruise performed many of his character’s stunts himself, proving himself to be an undeniably ambitious action star and showing audiences what great action sequences can look like.
This is one of the many things that makes director Christopher McQuarrie’s new film stand out. Despite Fallout serving as the sixth entry in the long-running cinematic franchise, the film feels like a unique feat.
For fans of the franchise, many of the key elements of those stories return here. There are plenty of deceptions here — the masks return in a big way —alongside a few smart twists and welcome surprises. But there’s also some great character arcs here as well that raise the emotional stakes.
In this installment, a failed mission leads to a horrific predicament. A group of terrorists aligned with the imprisoned Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) steal a shipment of plutonium. Lane, who served as the head of the terrorist organization known as the Syndicate in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, returns to the forefront here as his allies take on Hunt’s team. In order to recover the plutonium, Hunt’s team must engineer a trade with an enigmatic broker known as the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby).
The storyline sets up intricate action sequences pitting Hunt and allies such as CIA operative August Walker (Henry Cavill) against Lane’s criminal network. Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) returns too as an MI6 operative with her own agenda.
McQuarrie, who directed and co-wrote Rogue Nation, returns to the helm in this new instalment and serves as the writer and director once again. As Oscar winner for penning the Usual Suspects screenplay, McQuarrie knows how to keep a complicated script tight and does so here. The dialogue is set up nicely, with short early scenes establishing the story quickly without losing the film’s energetic pace.
When it comes to the action, McQuarrie keeps his camera focused on the action itself. Instead of pulling the camera back, he leans the camera in — keeping the intensity high while showing the action (and his actors) up close.
The script itself offers plenty of strong dialogue with Simon Pegg offering up some great one-liners once again as Benji Dunn and Ving Rhames offering a more subtle turn as Luther Stickell.
Beyond that, there’s an emotional importance to the proceedings with a delicate storyline featuring Julia Meade-Hunt (Michelle Monaghan) and Faust. Julia, Hunt’s wife, was absent in the last installment so it’s great to see her return as an important supporting figure here. The status of Hunt’s relationship with her and Hunt’s growing bond with Faust add a depth to these characters and to their overall arcs. It also ties this newest installment nicely together with some of the earlier films.
This isn’t a franchise where each of the installments stands alone (unlike many of the James Bond pictures, for instance). The newer films here add layers to the existing characters and build them up in each installment and that’s undeniably the case here.
Mission Impossible: Fallout builds on the past storylines but weaves its own unique narrative. It keeps this series going strong with a capable Tom Cruise leading the way — and showing off his incredible skills — and McQuarrie guiding this series forward. Featuring tremendous action sequences, smart dialogue and an emotional depth, this film is one of the best action movies of the year.
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Review by: John Hanlon