It’s difficult for action franchises to stay serious and not get incredibly cheesy and corny. Mission: Impossible has defied the odds and gotten better with age. The last three films have all topped one another, with the sixth and latest entry, Fallout, easily being the best of the franchise. The hard work put into Fallout is clear in every scene, which makes it a very enjoyable ride. While I constantly think about the longevity of the M:I series and how much longer star Tom Cruise can continue playing Ethan Hunt, I would gladly watch several more of these films considering the high quality production, narrative, and action.
Fallout opens two years following the events of the fifth film, Rogue Nation. Hunt’s new mission, if he so chooses to accept it, is to take down a splinter cell of the Syndicate, now known as the Apostles, and find their mysterious leader known only by an alias. The best part of Fallout is that it keeps itself grounded by having Hunt face his past in multiple ways, thus tying the entire franchise together and following an on-going narrative. I appreciate that M:I actually tries, and succeeds, to follow a continuous plot and doesn’t do lame one-off films.
Previous characters also continue through the franchise and into Fallout, which is a nice touch. While he isn’t the main baddie of this film, Hunt’s previous archenemy and former leader of the Syndicate, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), returns with only revenge on his mind. The long-awaited return of Hunt’s ex-wife, Julia (Michelle Monaghan), who was teased in the trailers, will please any fan. It is also great to see Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) rejoin the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) team and have more of a lead role, showing that the M:I franchise has started turning away from only being a boy’s club. The addition of newcomers Vanessa Kirby, who plays villain White Widow, and Angela Bassett, as one of the heads of the CIA, is another sign that M:I isn’t afraid to put women in more substantial roles.
The chemistry of long-time IMF members Hunt, Luther (Ving Rhames), and Benji (Simon Pegg) helps keep Fallout light and fun. Cruise is as good as ever as super-spy Hunt. I’m not a huge Cruise fan, but he is the sole reason that this franchise has longevity and keeps getting better. Hats off to Cruise for continuing to do his own stunts and still adding depth to his character six movies in. He also does a good job of sharing the spotlight with M:I rookie Henry Cavill, who plays CIA assassin August Walker. Cruise and Cavill make a great action team and have a good “opposites attract” vibe.
One of the highlights of Fallout is the constant long-form action sequences. Frequent Cruise collaborator and Fallout writer-director Christopher McQuarrie does a great job at allowing the action to shine and be the central focus of the film. The car and motorcycle chase scene is a good example of McQuarrie’s smart creative decisions because the five-plus minute sequence contains no dialogue and simply shows awesome stunt work. The stunt choreography is another highlight of the film and has truly been upped a few levels since Rogue Nation.
Fallout is a very enjoyable, mostly realistic action film that will keep you highly entertained over its entire 147 minute runtime. While it is a bit long, Fallout gets much better after the very obvious big reveal twist occurs. It’s always fun to see a spy film that can stay serious and be taken seriously while still allowing the audience to have a good time watching it.
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