‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ sets high bar for blockbuster cinema

James Preston Poole

Since the first film’s release in 1996, the most impossible mission the “Mission: Impossible” franchise faced was trying to prove it was more than just an American imitation of James Bond. With the series’ sixth installment, that mission is finally complete.

“Mission: Impossible – Fallout” finds Impossible Missions Force superspy Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) in hot water when he loses a cache of nuclear weapons to an old enemy: anarchist group “The Syndicate.” As he races against time to stop their master plan, the CIA sends assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill) to ensure the job gets done. Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie, who directed the previous entry, “Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation,” successfully utilizes every tool at his disposal to give the audience the most thrilling experience possible.

The script oozes with intrigue. The film is always 10 steps ahead of the audience, throwing a myriad of twists and turns at the audience that takes them deeper into the world of “Mission: Impossible.” Not only do we get fun scenes to watch, such as an introduction to a socialite arms dealer played by a scene-stealing, posh Vanessa Kirby, but we also begin to finally learn why the Syndicate feels so compelled to tear up the new world order.

This complexity in the film’s screenwriting extends to its action sequences. From a HALO jump in the middle of a lightning storm to a bare-knuckle nightclub brawl and even a midair fight between two helicopters, these action sequences are a monumental achievement in blockbuster filmmaking. These scenes work so well because they make excellent use of all the characters. Hunt’s team members Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) are continually given important tasks Ethan needs them to complete during these sequences, while wildcards Walker and former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) threaten to jeopardize the mission. Even Julia Meade-Hunt (Michelle Monaghan), the love of Hunt’s life, is brought into the equation, leading to a well-oiled machine of tension that guarantees audience investment.

Another reason the sequences work so well is that McQuarrie and cinematographer Rob Hardy give these sequences an immediacy that focuses on the physicality of the actors and stuntmen. Every hit, every crash and every explosion feels completely real. On the acting front, Cavill and Ferguson deserve considerable praise for the hulking fisticuffs and femme fatale grace they bring to their respective roles.

If anything ties the whole film together, however, it’s Tom Cruise. Cruise once again performed his own stunts for this film. Every piece of action Hunt is involved in feels that much more nail-biting, almost like watching Harry Houdini in his prime. Nevertheless, Cruise gives 150 percent in every aspect of his performance, showing more vulnerability than he has in previous films in the series. Through Cruise’s performance, we understand just what makes Hunt such an asset as an agent and a human being. His performance in this film proves that Cruise is one of the finest pure entertainers working in Hollywood today.

“Mission: Impossible – Fallout” goes beyond being a fun blockbuster. McQuarrie and Cruise are a match made in silver-screen heaven, crafting a movie event that may just go down as one of the best action films ever made. 

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to experience it for yourself.

“Mission: Impossible – Fallout”

Runtime: 148 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Score: 5/5