“Ethan Hunt is the living manifestation of destiny,” Impossible Missions Force (IMF) Secretary Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) says about the legendary undercover agent. While certainly cheesy, the line rings true in a lot of regards. Since 1996, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has always been on the run, whether it be from corrupt crime lords or his own life choices. He’s the “Gary Stu” of action franchises—able to jump from buildings or helicopters and escaping with barely a scratch. Sure, it’s ridiculous, but it’s also damn fun.
Cruise has proven that he is one of the last true movie stars, and at 56 years of age, he shows no signs of stopping. Cruise lives to please audiences with his impeccable stunts and unlimited amount of charisma. And even though Cruise is slowly starting to wear down (he broke his ankle jumping across a building), he keeps it together and delivers a delicious can of whoop-ass.
After five installments, you would think that a franchise would be way past its prime, but Mission Impossible is one of the rare exceptions. Its sixth title, Fallout could easily be labeled as the franchise’s magnum opus; Director Christopher McQuarrie and his crew (the only director to helm a 2nd Mission Impossible film) creates a visual spectacle which is light on the CGI and heavy on the extreme stunts.
Mission Impossible: Fallout brings back Ethan Hunt (Cruise), IMF’s top agent, who’s keeping a low profile two years after catching renowned terrorist, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). However, Lane’s imprisonment is only causing more problems, with a terrorist group called The Apostles seeking the highly volatile plutonium to plan a nuclear attack. When a showdown has Ethan choose between his old pal, Luther (Ving Rhames) and millions of people, he chooses the former, letting the Apostles run off with the package. Hunt and his gang are on the move, but nothing without some extra baggage. CIA Agent August Walker (Henry Cavill) is assigned to follow Hunt’s every move and terminate him if need be.
Fallout brings back franchise favorites such as Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames), as well as Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who brings a whole new meaning to the romantic phrase, “will they or won’t they?” It also brings in new characters such as White Widow (Vanessa Kirby), the femme-fatale type who brings her own swagger. In terms of development, they don’t hold a candle to Ethan, but their chemistry with the leading man brings a much needed lightness to the film.
The only character able to compete with Cruise’s charm is Cavill’s Agent Walker. His beautiful, seductive mustache was worth the cost of Justice League. It may not have been particularly necessary, but it gave Walker a extra dose of personality to his already mysterious nature.
The Mission Impossible franchise has managed to outdo itself in terms of action. Each director has put a bit of their own personality into each fight scene, and McQuarrie is no different. Whether it’s the 25,000 foot Halo Jump or the bare-knuckled fight in the club bathroom, it’s easy to appreciate the tremendous amount of hard work that Mcquarrie and his crew put into each sequence. They make sure that we feel the momentum of every punch, kick, and crash, and it leaves us wanting so much more.
It may be impossible (pun intended) to follow Fallout’s plot, but narrative structure isn’t the reason to see this movie. McQuarrie and Cruise create another “balls-to-the wall” adventure that is the true definition of a summer blockbuster. It’s not clear whether Cruise will be up for another secret agent role, but if not, this was the perfect send-off for one of the most iconic action stars.