Action Adventure

Review: ‘Mission: Impossible - Fallout’ is More than Just Another Big, Brash Summer Sequel

July 26, 2018Ben MK

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Mission: Impossible franchise is just how much star Tom Cruise is willing to give of himself to ensure that audiences have a good time. Whether it's hanging outside of an airplane, scaling the world's tallest building, or holding his breath underwater for an insane length of time, Cruise's enthusiasm for doing his own stunts is an integral part of what makes these films as thrilling as they are. And in Mission: Impossible - Fallout, the 56-year-old actor even manages to outdo himself.

Picking up after the events of the series' fifth installment, Rogue Nation, Fallout finds IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) haunted by the ghosts of his past as he struggles to dismantle the remnants of the terrorist organization known as the Syndicate — who now call themselves the Apostles — from unleashing their own apocalyptic vision of the future upon the planet. Once again teaming up with his friends and fellow agents Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), Ethan embarks on a mission to stop the mysterious anarchist John Lark, who's working with the Apostles to obtain three plutonium cores with which to complete their nuclear weapon. But is Ethan willing to sacrifice those closest to him in order to save the world?

Making matters — not to mention, the plot — more complicated is Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson, reprising her role from Rogue Nation as Ethan's equal in virtually every regard). A lethally trained, former MI-6 operative who spent six years deep undercover with Syndicate mastermind Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), Ilsa must now prove her allegiance to the British government in order to secure her own freedom. However, to do so she will have to set aside her feelings for Ethan and go head to head with him, while at the same time Ethan is forced to make his own deal with the devil, as he becomes entangled in the schemes of an underworld broker known as the Widow (Vanessa Kirby).

Also throwing a wrench in the mission is a burly CIA assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill, sporting the infamous mustache he was forbidden from shaving for his Justice League re-shoots), and if Ethan is the scalpel that the IMF sends in to stealthily handle tense situations, then Walker is the hammer that the CIA uses to pound the instigators of those same situations into bloody submission. An unwelcome new addition to the team, Walker has been tasked by his superior, the hard-nosed Erica Sloan (Angela Bassett), with keeping an eye on Ethan to ensure he doesn't go rogue again. But while Walker does prove useful in a bathroom brawl, can he possibly be trusted?

Directed and written by Christopher McQuarrie, Mission: Impossible - Fallout sets a new high water mark for the franchise, thanks to a series of stunt-fueled set-pieces that get progressively more jaw-dropping as the movie goes on. Suffice to say, if you thought Cruise's death-defying acts of derring-do from the previous films were something, wait till you see him execute a high altitude low orbit jump, ride a motorcycle through opposing traffic in Paris, sprint at breakneck pace across the rooftops of London, or fly dizzying helicopter maneuvers over the mountains of Kashmir. The results are about ten times as breathtaking as anything these movies have ever given us, and it's hard to imagine how Fallout's successor could ever hope to top it.

That said, Mission: Impossible - Fallout is much more than just another big, brash, action-packed summer sequel. A prime example of how to smartly evolve and grow a blockbuster film franchise without sacrificing story for spectacle, or emotion for explosions, Fallout isn't without its moments of inevitable repetition. Yet, it's how McQuarrie, Cruise and company connect these moments to the movie's overall arc — while both raising the stakes and harkening back to previous entries — that will leave audiences breathless and eager to purchase their tickets for the next installment.

Mission: Impossible - Fallout releases July 27th, 2018 from Paramount Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action, and for brief strong language. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 27 min.

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