Mission: Impossible – Fallout is unique in several ways: it’s the first time a writer-director has done two consecutive IMF missions; it’s the first time an entry in the series is a direct sequel to the previous one; it’s the first entry in which its star suffered an injury severe enough for the film to take an eight-week hiatus, and it’s the second straight entry to feature a female character – Ilsa Faust – who is as good at her job as Ethan Hunt is at his.
It’s also a non-stop rush – and really puts the impossible in Mission: Impossible.
Fallout opens with the IMF team attempting to recover three stolen plutonium cores – and fail spectacularly when Ethan (Tom Cruise) and Benji (Simon Pegg) refuse to sacrifice Luther (Ving Rhames).
Their mission to retrieve the cores is almost shut down by CIA Director Erica Sloan (Angela Bassett) – who insures that her man, August Walker (Henry Cavill), accompanies them – despite the efforts of Secretary of Defense Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin). (She prefers to wield a hammer over the IMF’s scalpel, and calls them Halloween, to boot.)
For the rest of the movie, the IMF team and Walker attempt to recover the plutonium cores – the first time through a philanthropist/arms dealer known as the White Witch (Vanessa Kirby, The Crown).
At odd intervals, Isla (Rebecca Ferguson) pops up to throw a spanner in the works – sometimes for the IMF team; sometimes for the other guys: a group who call themselves The Apostles and formed after Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) was carted away at the end of Rogue Nation.
Now has a plan to make a point to the world at large, while depriving Hunt with everything he loves (coincidentally, Ethan has been having dreams about his ex-wife (Michelle Monaghan)
With the possibility of three 5-megaton bombs going off on a few key sites, Hunt and his team – and any other volunteers – has to retrieve them. But what you’ve come to see are the stunts! You want to see your boy Cruise jump across insane lengths to get from one building to another (one such stunt put Cruise in the hospital – and the shot was used in the movie!
Every cast master is in top form – especially the returnees from Rogue Nation (Ferguson, still matching Cruise beat for beat and Lane even more despicable).
In among all the spies working for the various agencies, John Lark – the right-hand person for handling arms deals and such a trusting individual that no one seems to know who he is.
Anyone who’s listened to the Audio Commentary track on Rogue Nation knows that these films aren’t constructed in the usual manner – the screenwriter and the star try to figure out what stunts they haven’t done yet – and what variations they wont play on some of the best of the older gags.
Once they have all the stunts planned; know where they’ll take place, and how they help to delineate the characters, then the script gets written.
It’s a unique system that works for Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise. And it’s put some very entertaining pictures on the screen.
It certainly has resulted in a film that has great action, great stunts, great acting; it certainly earns its last-minute drama.
Without a doubt, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is the summer’s best action movie!
Final Grade: A+