“What’s done is done when we say it’s done.” –Ethan Hunt
2018 thriller ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout‘ is a flat-out action sequel that delivers in spades. The stunts keep getting bigger, the (personal) stakes have never been higher, and the razor’s edge tension never tighter. Unfortunately, going bigger doesn’t always mean better. In some ways, this film feels like a slight step backward from the high marks of its predecessors.
For the first time this series has brought back a director, Christopher McQuarrie. His love of classic, big-budget Hollywood overflows through larger than life personality, epically staged action, and world dangling from a cliff (literally!) thrills.
The returning cast excels, as well. Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson (I want an “Ilsa Faust” solo film, now!), Michelle Monaghan, and Alec Baldwin cohere more like a family than a team. –Jeremy Renner is notably absent and woefully missed. Damn you, MCU!
And, once again, as the intrepid “Ethan Hunt” Tom Cruise dominates from one OTT sequence to the next. Showing not just the prerequisite physicality as this better-than Bond superspy but a growing emotional toll over the “fallout” resulting from doing the impossible. There’s always unintended consequences.
This time Hunt’s team is pursuing the remnants of ‘Rogue Nation’s‘ The Syndicate who remain bent on world re-building through “great sacrifice”. These cookie-cutout villains seek to rescue their captured leader Soloman Lane (Sean Harris). While the mysterious, unknown “John Lark” pursues three plutonium cores for use in some unholy–and
possibly inevitably connected–crusade.
Along for the ride is Henry Cavill’s “August Walker“, Walker’s tough CIA boss played by Angela Bassett, and a new femme fatale, the appropriately named “The White Widow” (a smoldering Vanessa Kirby). Lots of characters and lots of story to shove into a single film. Consequently, this excessive “background noise” distracts from what we really care about, Hunt and his long-standing IMF team.
Losing a subplot or two, dropping a couple of the needlessly ridiculous (allbeit thrilling) set-pieces, and tightening the cast could only help to increase tension while minimizing any action-porn fatigue gained from watching two and a half hours of growing more predictable M:I switcheroos and Looney Tunes level near misses.
‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout‘ is another excellent entry in a film franchise that offers action and thrills like no other. A top-tier ensemble, classy old-school style, unbelievable action scenes, and tension tight enough to cut the screen. And, as overblown as it may be, there’s unlikely to be a better action flick this summer.