Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson
Running Time 2 Hrs., 30 Mins., PG-13
My Rating: B+
The Mission: Impossible franchise’s newest entry, Fallout, is not quite as dazzling or punchy as its 2015 predecessor, Rogue Nation, but it still packs a wallop. In it, Tom Cruise returns as IMF lead Ethan Hunt, who, this time around, is tasked with recovering a triad of plutonium cores after an operation goes sour. He is accompanied by Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, and Rebecca Ferguson, who all return as his second bananas. New to the franchise, but still vital to the story, are Angela Bassett as a CIA bigwig, and Henry Cavill, a burly, cocky spy who is assigned to essentially act as Hunt’s right-hand man.
As it has gone for all the Mission: Impossible movies, the storyline is a great deal more complex than that. But a tightly drawn plot, key as it is, has never been the primary appeal of the Mission: Impossible movies: big, spectacular action sequences are the main attraction.
In Fallout, we get many. There are, of course, the requisite car chases and expertly choreographed scenes of hand-to-hand combat. But the big kahunas of Fallout come in the forms of a kinetic helicopter melee, and a parkour-heavy foot chase that involves Cruise dauntlessly leaping to and fro stories-high windows and rooftops aplenty.
Fallout, which has thus far received the franchise’s most unanimous praise to date, has been compared to the era-defining Mad Max: Fury Road (2015); some have gone as far as calling it one of the finest of all action movies.
Indeed, the film is wonderfully crafted. It prioritizes practical effects over CGI; makes good use of the cinematographer Rob Hardy, who captures even the most chaotic of sequences with remarkable fluidity; and accommodates action so breathtakingly mounted that we wonder how its makers and stars got away with it all. Adding to the amazement, Cruise, who is 56 but moves balletically, did all of his own stunts. This sort of excellence is rarely seen in the genre.
The first three pictures in the Mission: Impossible struggled to consistently surprise. But chapters four through six have more confidently invoked the bigger-is-better sequel mentality, resulting in increasingly awe-inspiring products. Fallout continues the trend.
Nonetheless, it is too long at 147 minutes, and is unnecessarily tangled in its storytelling. It is also slow to uncover its essence, and dedicates much of the first act to exposition. Still, Fallout is an exceptionally high-quality product. And if Cruise and co. want to continue churning out sequels, I say let them.