If you have any interest at all in Mission: Impossible — Fallout, any inkling that you may want to someday, maybe, eventually get around to seeing it, I suggest you do so in the next several weeks, while it’s still in theaters.
Preferably in IMAX, if you can manage it. It’s that kind of movie.
As usual for this franchise, Fallout has a convoluted plot that’s hardly worth the trouble it takes to explain, since it’s really just an excuse to trot around the globe indulging in extravagant set pieces.
There are scenes of Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt running, jumping, punching, skydiving, driving a motorcycle while being chased by cars, driving a car while being chased by a motorcycle, and, in the stomach-dropping climax, steering an out-of-control helicopter over a mountain range.
Sometimes, Henry Cavill (delightful in this movie, if not so much on the press tour) is along for the ride as skeptical CIA agent Walker. Sometimes, it’s Rebecca Ferguson, returning as the mysterious Ilsa Faust. Both of them match Cruise punch-for-punch in the action arena.
All of their derring-do is choreographed, shot, and acted in a way that looks real
All of their derring-do is choreographed, shot, and acted in a way that looks real, in a way that puts most of this summer’s other action-adventure blockbusters to shame.
You’re on the ground with Hunt as he zips through the streets of London, or in the air as he parachutes into Paris. It’s not technically true to say that the Mission: Impossible movies are why IMAX screens were invented, but it sometimes feels as though it could be. It’s exhilarating to be surrounded by such heart-pounding action; that feeling wouldn’t fully translate on a smaller screen.
Fallout has its more humble charms, too. Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, and Michelle Monaghan return to give the franchise the heart and humor it needs to keep ticking. There’s something kinda sweet about Hunt’s commitment to his friends, even in the face of impending global catastrophe.
Meanwhile, the script by Christopher McQuarrie (who also directed) is just self-aware enough, having some light fun at the expense of the IMF. One character describes that bizarre organization as “a bunch of grown men in rubber masks playing trick-or-treat,” and he’s not really wrong. At another point, someone points out that Hunt gets disavowed by his government in, like, every movie. It’s nice to hear we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed.
The fuel that keeps this entire motor running, though, remains Cruise’s magnetism, and his apparent commitment to punishing his body for our amusement.
We know Tom Cruise made it out of the shoot alive, because he’s currently grinning and handshaking his way through the press tour. And yes, even an actor as committed to performing his own daredevil stunts as Cruise is has a little bit of green-screen VFX magic helping him out.
Still, as I watched Cruise sweat and pant and grimace like he was on the verge of death, I caught myself mouthing the words “How is Tom Cruise still alive?“
Honestly, I’m not going to question it. I’m just glad he’s decided to spend whatever time he has left on this planet doing this for us.