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Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) starring Tom Cruise
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Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) receives the obligatory message from his superiors that three plutonium cores have been stolen by a terrorist group known as The Apostles, who are related to The Syndicate - an organisation introduced in the previous film Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation who were led by the now-captive Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). Hunt's investigations lead him and his IMF cohorts Luther (King Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg) to attempt to retrieve them in Berlin. However, they are ambushed during the operation, resulting in the cores ending up in the hands of the enigmatic White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) in Paris.
For their next move, Hunt decides to pay a visit to the White Widow under the guise of John Lark, a mysterious underworld figure who runs The Apostles. However, before Ethan heads to Paris, a Washington bigwig named Erica Sloan (Angela Bassett) assigns the IMF team a minder named August Walker (Henry Cavill). As they head out on their mission various complications ensue, including the reappearance of both Solomon Lane and former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson).
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Cruise’s return to form
Tom Cruise’s career has come very close to self-destructing in five seconds on a number of occasions - whether via his vocal support for the Church of Scientology, his Oprah Winfrey couch-jumping madness or his intermittent critical and commercial flops (such as last year’s The Mummy). However, he always seems to bounce back from the brink, whether it’s due to the remarkable way in which he maintains his looks and energy despite his advancing years, his longstanding reputation for on-set dedication and professionalism or, most obviously, from the continued popularity of his Mission: Impossible franchise. This latest entry is the apex of the series to date.
It’s an object lesson in how to craft a truly exhilarating action-thriller within the restrictions of a 12A/PG-13 (depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on) rating. The Die Hard and Jason Bourne series really should be sitting and taking notes; this is how to do it. Hell, even the Bond series could learn a thing or two. The plot twists and turns through reveals, cunning deceptions and double-crosses like a rollercoaster. It’s complex but never incomprehensibly so. However, it’s the action that’s the main thing here.
An early skydive through a thundercloud is heart-in-mouth stuff. A fight in a bathroom is wince-inducingly vicious. However, both are mere appetisers in comparison to the three lengthy chase sequences which fill out a sizeable proportion of the nearly two-and-a-half-hour runtime, each one making fantastic use of a different location. A multi-vehicular chase through Paris is fabulous, easily rivalling a another through the same city in Ronin (1998). A foot chase making full use of the three-dimensionality of its London locations is arguably even better. A helicopter pursuit through the mountains of Kashmir will have you gnawing your own fingers off in terms of edge-of-your seat excitement.
All of these scenes pull the viewer in and keep them there so effectively thanks to a range of factors: the ongoing interactions between the team members, Cruise (as usual) performing many of his own stunts and director Christopher McQuarrie's tendency to spin the camera around excitedly, always finding the best vantage point with which to capture the gravity of action. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that they are not merely thrilling and action-packed; they’re outright beautiful pieces of cinema. At the same time, the film still occasionally hits the brake pedal to incorporate a few welcome moments with a human dimension, including a chance encounter with a nervous female Parisian police officer whom Hunt tries to persuade that she’s landed herself in a situation out of her depth.
The cast is great, as always. We all know that Tom Cruise was basically born to play the über-confident and physical Ethan Hunt. Ving Rhames adds some gravelly-voiced charm as the IMF team’s big brother figure Luther and Simon Pegg injects a dash of down-to-earth British humour as the boffinish Benji. Rebecca Ferguson almost steals the whole show as the wonderfully icy Ilsa. Amongst the newly-introduced actors to the series is Henry Cavill, who gives an intriguingly cool performance as August Walker, a man who clearly provides Hunt with his own physical match. Vanessa Kirby has sass to burn as the mysteriously beautiful White Widow.
If you were churlish, you could complain that the identity of John Lark, the mysterious villain of the piece, can easily be guessed long before his inevitable big reveal. The climax, while very effectively keeping us on the edge of our seat, is filled with so many incredible strokes of luck that it would put the entire bookie industry out of business. The fact that the cast features both Henry Cavill and Wes Bentley can also be a minor source of confusion since they both look so alike.
Mind you, at the end of the day, who cares? Mission: Impossible - Fallout is the best action movie to come out in a long time. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Runtime: 147 mins
Dir: Christopher McQuarrie
Script: Christopher McQuarrie, based on an original series written by Bruce Geller
Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Wes Bentley