Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)

MI – Fallout.jpgWon't make you fallout with the franchise

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Running Time: 147 Minutes
Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Vanessa Kirby, Frederick Schmidt, Wes Bentley

After a mission ends badly, three plutonium cores are left in the hands of a terrorist group, and the world is in peril. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) takes it upon himself to retrieve the cores before it is too late, while being monitored by CIA Agent August Walker (Henry Cavill).

Christopher McQuarrie fills the picture with numerous set-pieces, each proving breath-taking in their own way. Be it a brutal punch-up in a nightclub bathroom, a motorcycle chase through the streets of Paris, or even duelling helicopters, the breakneck action feels completely key to the unfolding plot. No action scene is extraneous, providing forward motion to the picture in a manner that's reminiscent of Mad Max: Fury Road. In-between these moments are smaller scenes which are equally compelling, as we're treated to the traditional unmasking, but also sweet character moments taking place over diffusing a bomb.

While action may take the forefront, it's clear that character remains key as ever. In spite of Ethan Hunt's good intentions throughout the film, and even the series, there are consequences to his decisions, and he's made to face the fallout from those very choices. It's a compelling take on the character audiences have followed for over 20 years which rewards longtime fans, yet isn't too steeped in history to put off franchise newbies.

He may be 56 years old, but Cruise remains as sprightly as ever. From an opening long-take where he performs a HALO Jump, to running across London rooftops, and especially flying around in a helicopter, the star shows his commitment to the franchise, by putting himself at the centre of these stunts wherever possible. It's impressive to witness, and that isn't the only thing worth praising here. He's truly at home portraying Ethan Hunt, and remains utterly believable wherever the plot takes him, both physically and emotionally.

From the moment Henry Cavill comes into the frame, we're left unsure of what direction his character is going to be taken in, wondering if there's more to him than simply acting as liaison to IMF. Regardless, Cavill does a great job with the material, proving effective in his role as the hammer to Hunt's Scalpel. But once more, Rebecca Ferguson is the best aspect of the film. Her Ilsa Faust remains one of the franchises strongest characters, as she involves herself in the mission for her own reasons, ready to let nothing and no-one get in her way.

As the only cast member who's appeared since the very first film, Ving Rhames returning remains a welcome sight. As he's given a bigger role than the previous two instalments, we see Luther delivering revealing bouts of dialogue, as he feels responsible for the situation these characters are trapped in. Rhames is very much a secret weapon of the franchise, and his wonderful portrayal serves as a reminder of why we enjoy seeing him reappear throughout. Also returning is Simon Pegg, as the ever-reliable and very likeable Benji Dunn, and Alec Baldwin as Alan Hunley, the understanding secretary of IMF.

Once Angela Bassett steps onto screen, she delivers a powerful presence whose words cut through those in her path. As Erica Sloane, director of the CIA, she ensures that her way is achieved, and she won't hear anything else about it. One wishes we could see more of her on-screen, as she leaves such an indelible impression, and the same could be said for the electric Vanessa Kirby. Then there's Sean Harris, the first returning antagonist of the franchise, who's sporting a scraggly beard from his time locked up, but has lost none of his bite, or compelling bouts of dialogue.

It's rare that a franchise gets better with each new release, especially when it began 20 years prior. Somehow, this has managed just that, as evidenced with the very best entry into the Mission: Impossible series yet. Mission: Impossible - Fallout does a phenomenal job propelling its plot with impressive action, yet has the time to deliver on the terrific character work.