Updated: Oct 6, 2018
This summer has seen its fair share of dumb action movies, I am looking at you Skyscraper. And yes, I do know that the summer is the time for such movies. Perhaps they are exactly why Mission Impossible: Fallout feels like such a welcome spectacle. It is smart in ways no other 2018 summer film has been and all the while creating memorable action set pieces that are the best since Mad Max: Fury Road.
Returning again after helming Rogue Nation is Christopher McQuarrie. That film feels like a warm-up to this cleverly plotted, perfectly paced film. Chock full of dynamic dialogue, twists that are actually surprising and those amazing action scenes and this could easily be the best film in the series. I personally hold Brian De Palma's original in the highest regard.
The film opens with a dream sequence that quickly reminds everyone that there are
real, emotional stakes in these films. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is quickly involved in a mission to track three nuclear weapons. The mission goes awry and the weapons fall into the hands of a group of anarchic spies known as "The Apostles." As a result, the CIA has enlisted an agent (Henry Cavill) to assist Hunt and his team to get them back. This gives Cruise someone to play off of in every scene, every approach to the mission. It creates a dynamic tension as the film moves along.
Fallout really explores the code of Hunt who insists on trying to protect every innocent life and those who surround them. This gives the film a sense of character that few franchises can sustain six films in. Hunt is an earnest character and a true hero that is refreshingly uncomplicated in his morals. This creates a thematic drive to the plot that keeps the whole thing from feeling like a high-budget version of Jackass starring Tom Cruise.
And those action sequences are something to be seen on the IMAX screens if all possible. There is the long take that follows Cruise out of a plane at a height that requires oxygen. There is the best bathroom fight scene in ages. There is the motorcycle chase that defies all logic on how they shot it. There is a scene where Cruise jumps off a building and actually broke his ankle in the process. And there is the jaw-dropping helicopter scene at the end of the film. These make for a hell of time at the movies and really reinforce the magic that movies are capable of.
Fallout's pacing is perfect, never once letting up from the suspense and action. The film delivers in every possible way. Even when it falters a bit and veers into silliness, there is so much charm and skill on the screen that it washes it away. McQuarrie just proved himself as one of the best action directors around. Here's to more franchises that can churn out this level of entertainment.