Written & Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
It’d be easy to say that the James Bond series has always been the cream of the crop when it comes to action movies. It’s a franchise that has stood the test of time, with the 25th installment currently in production. But as influential and important as the Bond formula is to the history of the action movie, I’m not really sure I could point to very many of them that were the best action movie of their decade, or even their year. Bond is important, but there are better action movies because of the franchise. Mission: Impossible is a franchise which has found a second life, just as Liam Neeson has springboarded from Taken to find a career renaissance as an action star. Tom Cruise, while aging into his mid-fifties by now, has always been an action star, and with him the Mission: Impossible franchise is now the cream of the crop in action movies. Fallout continues that tradition magnificently.
When we last left Ethan Hunt (Cruise) in Rogue Nation, he had just captured the leader of the Syndicate, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). Now a few years later, Lane’s organization is still going strong under the new name, The Apostles. Hunt and his team (Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg) must race to acquire plutonium before The Apostles in order to stop an imminent attack. But after the trade goes awry, the CIA sends their best assassin, Walker (Henry Cavill), to help recover the plutonium, which complicates the operation, especially when Hunt rendezvouses with the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) and poses as an unknown, notorious terrorist named John Lark. They also run into an old friend, Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), who has her own mission to complete.
No matter how much older he gets, Tom Cruise just continues to be a bonafide movie star. He’s at his best when running, obviously as he’s perhaps the greatest cinematic runner the silver screen has ever seen, in in all seriousness, I think Cruise’s dedication to bringing high quality action to his fans makes the Mission: Impossible series the class of action movies these days, and Fallout is clearly head and shoulders above the rest. The intensity is palpable. You can feel it sitting in your theater seat, as you and everyone around you inches to the edge in anticipation of what happens next. Even in the moments when you knew what was coming it was undeniably exciting, exhilarating and unexpected. From start to finish, Fallout proves to be one long, superbly made action sequence which never fails to satisfy.
Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, and I’m sure producer Tom Cruise, hold a death grip on their audience with smart plot twists, believable character developments, and easily the best action set pieces going today. The casting here is great, as always, with Cruise leading the way with another bankable lead performance. I was also quite impressed with the likes of Vanessa Kirby, Sean Harris and Henry Cavill. Cavill has a certain braun to his mannerisms which makes him seem like a lab built assassin. Harris, likewise, with his eerie eyes and quiet, raspy voice, I think was born into the darkness of villainy. I really couldn’t ask much more out of this production. Everyone seems fully invested, and the finished product shows with some incredibly thrilling sequences.
Mission: Impossible has become everything the Bond movies no longer are. I hate to harp on the comparison, but M:I truly owes a lot to the Bond formula, surpassing it in many ways. Exotic, breathtaking locales. Razor sharp spy/espionage plotting. Intense, never-before-seen action set pieces. Relentless action. For anyone who is a fan of the action genre, these movies have become appointment viewing, essential. Fallout is no exception, and may very well in fact be the very best of the franchise up to this point. I really cannot praise this movie nearly enough for how much fun this exceptional thrill ride really is. See it. See it on a huge screen. See it with loud, booming theater speakers. See it multiple times. I certainly cannot wait to see it again.