Another impossible mission for the Impossible Mission Force you say? Oh, yes. Yes it is!
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) surely has pulled off enough of these so called “impossible” missions for them to be downgraded, no? His success rate is pretty high, barring some individual losses along the way, but the world has been saved nigh on a half dozen times by this man and his familial crew of Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames).
Christopher McQuarrie takes the reins once again and brings breathless action to the screen in some style. Crafting an intriguing (but not too ludicrous) and slowly unravelling storyline, intertwined with some decent character development and enough action to keep the pulse rate high is a tough ask but it is done here with some aplomb. The interactions between characters are strong to a fault, giving energy and impetus to the film as a whole. Utilising previous villains also is a clever step to bypass too much setting up and getting straight down to the nitty-gritty.
Having said that, not looking back through the previous MI films before watching Fallout was maybe a mistake but it doesn’t take long to become engrossed in the unfolding action. Yes, there are quite a few call backs to the previous films, and it does require a little bit of fore-knowledge to get the most out of the story here but ultimately it won’t ruin this film not knowing the past.
Set two years after the events of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the shadowy organisation The Syndicate have reformed into a terrorist group called The Apostles. Hunt receives his (impossible) mission to intercept a plutonium sale to The Apostles for an, as yet, unknown client John Lark. At the trade, things go awry and Hunt opts to save his team instead of securing the plutonium and now we are on the road to a plot worthy of saving the world!
IMF keeps Hunt’s team on the mission but he is forced to work alongside the CIA for this one as CIA Director Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) instructs agent August Walker (Henry Cavill) to shadow Hunt as he goes about attempting to recovering the nuclear material. Ok, basic premise done, now onto the more convoluted stuff:
After crashing a huge party at the Grand Palais in Paris, Hunt and Walker are tasked with infiltrating a meeting between Lark and the arms dealer/broker the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby). An unfortunate bathroom incident results in Hunt assuming John Lark’s persona to continue the deal with the White Widow, which in itself encompasses another plot strand and the main crux of the film. Alongside this we are reintroduced to MI6 (No, not Mission Impossible 6, the UK Secret Service: Military Intelligence) agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) as she is thrown into the proceeding as well.
Without going into too much more detail there are plenty of twists and turns, crosses and double crosses, disguises and playbooks to look out for. The action scenes in Fallout are really out of the top drawer. The bike/car chase around the Paris streets is astounding both in the camerawork and direction but also the length of time and the adrenaline-fuelling action. The aforementioned bathroom incident also ranks as one of the highly tense action scenes; combining superb fight sequences and destruction aplenty. And, as this is a Tom Cruise film, there is of course one of his familiar (contractually obliged?) running scenes around London, interspersed with death defying leaps and falls (including the much publicised injury that he sustained during the filming).
The villains are sufficiently evil and their plans are devastating enough to feel the pressure of the situation, adding to the tension of the mission. For all the good in the action and thrills, the acting does takes a back seat: Cavill’s Agent Walker at times seems almost like a parody of a secret agent and at other times is determined, in control and a real presence; Pegg and Rhames add their traditional charm to events, Ferguson’s Ilsa is a force to contend with and a good balance to Cruise’s Hunt, and Vanessa Kirby is a great addition to the cast and puts in a superbly aloof and knowing performance as The White Widow. As a whole the cast work really well and everyone pulls together to make this a blast. Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a hugely enjoyable, action packed film.