Cruise… Cruise never changes
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018): 9 out of 10. The Bond series has been flaying around bleeding in the water for years, and no action franchise has taken bigger chunks out of it than Mission Impossible. (Fast and Furious is a close second).
The Good: The recent main appeal of the Mission Impossible franchise is to watch the seemingly ageless Space Jesus Tom Cruise attempt to kill himself in various ways. Mission Impossible: Fallout does not disappoint. While no particular stunt is as impressive as hanging on the side of an Airbus A400M Atlas while it takes off during the opening sequence in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation. (Honestly my favorite stunt in any movie surpassing James Bond parachuting off the side of Mount Asgard in the opening scene of The Spy Who Loved Me. Of course, that was stunt double Rick Sylvester, not Roger Moore.)
All the Mission Impossible stunts seem to feature an unadulterated Tom Cruise and are very impressive indeed.
Strangely, with all the impressive stunts (halo jumps, helicopter stunts, driving in Paris traffic), it was the bathroom fight scene that impressed me the most. (Surpassing my previous favorite bathroom fight scene from the beginning of James Bond’s Casino Royale… okay, I will stop now) For one thing, it introduces the biggest surprise of the movie, a mustached Henry Cavill.
I admit I never cared much for Henry Cavill. Of course, my only real experience was with him as Superman in Man of Steel, in which he was awful. Well, that might not have been Henry’s fault. In Fallout Henry Cavill is perfect. He plays his character so well you end up feeling sorry for him. He is easily the most lovable thing in a movie with two puppy dog eyed sidekicks (Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg) and two puppy dog eyed love interests (Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan).
The location shooting is also on point in Mission Impossible Fallout, with a particular kudo for using all of Paris and not just the five-minute highlight tour. The movie has a wonderful sense of place and time and the plot is practically followable if we are grading on the curve that is the previous Mission Impossible movies.
The Bad: Supporting characters seem to be a chink in the armor of the Mission Impossible movies. Henry Cavill (lauded above) and Simon Pegg gets an easy pass. On the villainous side, Vanessa Kirby as Lady Gaga and Sean Harris as the Unabomber both put in brilliant work. I thought it was time for Luther (Ving Rhames) to retire in Rogue Nation and Fallout has not changed my mind (He seems more like a punch drunk kidnap victim rather than a highly trained agent).
The love interests are a bit of a mess. Rebecca Ferguson is way to kittenish to be believable as an MI-6 agent that could turn on you at any moment and Michelle Monaghan comes across less than the love of Ethan Hunt’s life and more like that college girlfriend who you dated before you met your wife and whose name you can’t quite remember even though you lived together for eight months.
My winner however for worst side character is Angela Bassett. Now Angela Bassett is a very talented actress but her character is horribly written and she doesn’t help matters. It was as if she saw Viola Davis’ horrible performance in Suicide Squad and said “I am going to do that”
The Ugly: There is someone missing on this outing. Unfortunately, Jeremy Renner was needed on the Avengers: Endgame set, presumably to get coffee for the actual heroes, and is replaced with a now demoted Alec Baldwin whose character is hand waved to have taken that demotion from the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency to Tom Cruise’s fluffer because he believes in the team.
There is a scene where Alec Baldwin has a fistfight with Henry Cavill. I am not sure what they were going for here? Drama, suspense, pathos? But I am sure that the actual reaction of OMG no! followed by gales of laughter was not what the director Christopher McQuarrie was aiming for.
In conclusion: A very solid and re-watchable film with tons of brief touches and big moments that I have not even spoken of in this review. Mission: Impossible – Fallout is easily the best Mission Impossible movie so far, and one of the best action films of the year.