It’s been twenty two years since Tom Cruise joined forces with Brian DePalma to make a big screen version of the 1960’s series, Mission Impossible. Five films later and the Mission Impossible film series is still going on, as strong as ever. Having found its own identity, the series has become an excuse for Tom Cruise to perform crazy, off the wall, real action scenes, while his character, Ethan Hunt, continues to be on the run again. Mission Impossible: Fallout is more of the same, but it features some of the series’ best and thrilling action scenes, and contains high energy throughout. It’s a real blast of a film.
Fallout is set after the events of Rogue Nation, and in that regard, it's a first in the series: a sequel that actually feels like a direct continuation of the first. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise, who else) and his team having successfully captured Solomon Lane (played by Sean Harris), discover that the remnants of the organization, known as The Syndicate, have managed to form into another organization, known as The Apostles. Ethan and his team are sent to Berlin to stop them from stealing three plutonium cores, but they fail, and now, Ethan and his team, along with the new CIA agent, Augustus Walker (Henry Cavill), must find the plutonium before things get worse.
Plotwise, the film is a bit confusing, and arguably, overly complicated with characters’ actions and motives sometimes not making much sense, but that’s not the reason I go to the Mission Impossible films. I go primarily for the action and Fallout does not fail on that front. Tom Cruise is a fifty-six year old man, and shows more vigor, energy, and willingness to put himself at risk than most modern actors under forty. This series’ formula, since the third film, has been defined as an excuse to put Cruise through some ridiculous stunt work, and most of it’s pretty awesome. In this film, he jumps from a long building (Cruise actually hurt his ankle doing this stunt) in a scene that reminded me of something out of a 90’s Hong Kong film and, he also holds on to a falling helicopter for his dear life. The action is mighty impressive, to say the least.
Out of all of the Mission Impossible films to date, this just might be the best choreographed of the bunch, including an impressive bathroom fight with Cruise and Cavill that feels very raw, and is reminiscent of the bathroom fight scene fromTrue Lies (1994). There’s nothing quite on the exhilarating level of the Burj Khalifa’s scene from Ghost Protocol (2011), but it does feature all-around impressive staged action sequences.
Many of the characters from the previous two Mission Impossible films are back. Since Ghost Protocol, Cruise has had a specific team, which includes Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg, the comic relief and wise guy of the group), Luther Strickell (Ving Rhames, the big guy and Ethan’s longtime ally), and Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). Joining them is Augustus Walker, a younger fit agent, who, as it turns out, has his own motivations. If I’m being honest, Cavill doesn’t get a whole lot to do here, instead, he just has to be physically imposing enough. Jeremy Renner, who was in the previous two films, is absent this time around due to Avengers related events, but his presence is not really warranted anyway. Sean Harris makes Mission Impossible history playing the series first villain, Solomon Lane, to return for a sequel. I didn’t really have much excitement for them using The Syndicate again, but, in the context of the film, it surprisingly works, though I do question how many times they can really keep the “Ethan goes rogue” plot going. I guess it’s all just an excuse for Tom Cruise to keep running again at this point.
Lorne Balfe’s musical score (replacing Joe Kraemer, one of the more disappointing news related to the film) greatly incorporates both Lalo Schifrin’s Mission Impossible andThe Plot themes, but is otherwise anonymous, sounding very much like Hans Zimmer’s scores to The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and Inception (2010). Not surprising, given that Balfe is a protege of Zimmer’s.
Mission Impossible: Fallout is a great action film. It doesn’t contain the most coherent story, but that doesn’t matter, when you’re enjoying the awesomely done action on the screen. Cruise continues to prove he’s a real pro and is able to handle extreme action scenes wonderfully. The film features some terrific choreography. As far as action movies go, this might be the best one of the summer. I’d be surprised if anything, in the rest of August, can top it.
Now playing in Hanover at the Nugget Theater Sunday through Thursday at 2:15, and 6:00 PM, Friday and Saturday at 2:15, 5:20, and 8:25 PM