Director/Screenwriter: Christopher McQuarrie
Tom Cruise: Ethan Hunt
Rebecca Ferguson: Ilsa Faust
Michelle Monaghan: Julie Meade-Hunt
Vanessa Kirby: White Widow
Henry Cavill: August Walker
Ving Rhames: Luther Stickell
Simon Pegg: Benji Dunn
Sean Harris: Solomon Lane
Angela Bassett: Erica Sloan
Alex Baldwin: Alan Hunley
Mission Impossible: Fallout is arguably the best of the Mission Impossible series. Despite being two hours and 27 minutes long, it does not drag. That’s because dialogue is at a minimum, and action is the point. Car chase! Motorcycle chase! Cars chasing motorcycles being chased by a motorcycle! Skydiving–OH NO–disaster, but Ethan Hunt saves the day! Really bad bad guys, really good good guys, betrayal, trickery, double agents, beautiful women, beautiful woman that will kick your ass, exotic locations, nuclear weapons, countdown timers (2), last second salvation and a real cliff hanging cliff hanger.
That’s pretty much it. Go see it, and we’ll see you at the next movie critique.
What’s that? You want more details? Very well.
Evil Simon Lane, captured by the MI team in the last installment (Rogue Nation, 2015), is wrapped up in a plot to build and set off three nuclear weapons. MI super agent Ethan Hunt–Tom Cruise–is forced to work with CIA agent August Walker–Henry Cavill, known by most as Superman. Sparks fly, and testosterone wafts throughout the theater as they struggle to stop the evil plot, with Luther Stickell, played by Ving Rhames and Benji Dunn, played by Simon Pegg, Scotty of the current Enterprise.
Complicating matters is British agent Ilsa Faust, played with elan by the lovely Rebecca Ferguson, whose character was introduced in Rogue Nation. Ilsa and Ethan lusted for each other, but the noble Hunt, supposedly still married to Julie, played by Michelle Monaghan, was true to his supposed wife, and the sparks were left to flicker, sadly out–until now–sort of–maybe in the next movie, when Tom Cruise is 73 or so.
I make the point because Cruise is now 56, and the level of athletic prowess involved in the movie is extraordinarily high, even for this series. Cruise actually broke his ankle making a building-to-building leap. He still looks good, and credibly carries it off, but age eventually catches up with us all. Still, he may have one more MI movie in him.
Angela Bassett plays a stuffy CIA chief who eventually comes to appreciate the value of Cruise, without who, the world would be doomed. We know, because several characters tell us that. Alex Baldwin plays the IMF “Secretary,” who is always waiting to disavow Hunt and his team.
Any hope at character development is in vain. No one stands still long enough, and the dialogue for virtually every scene is so brief the actors could have read it off a 3” X 5” card, walked on, hit their marks, delivered their line, and moved on to the next card/scene. In many movies, this would be disastrous, but that’s not the point of the MI series. Viewers expect unexpected twists and outlandish action sequences, and this movie delivers like never before.
Rebecca Ferguson and Vanessa Kirby–The White Widow (in the contemporary version of color illustrating character, she’s as white-skinned a blonde as one can imagine, and is wearing a white dress)–class up the joint. Kirby is a double agent, but a good girl, and even gets to kiss Cruise, who doesn’t really kiss her back. Ethan Hunt is not James Bond. Bond makes love to a widow an hour or so after the funeral of her husband. Oh sure, he kills two assassins that want to kill her first, but that’s the kind of thing James Bond does. Ethan Hunt saves the world, gets beaten into dog food in the process, and is too mangled to kiss anyone, or he gets in a wild motorcycle chase, jumps off a building, or engages in some other sort of implausible derring-do.
Ving Rhames has, compared to past movies, a much expanded role, and even about three times the dialogue he normally has, which in this movie might be both sides of a 3” X 5” card. The acting is well done though it’s hard to tell because everyone is always moving so fast.
The movie’s production values are up to professional standards. Special effects, lights, sound, camera work, makeup, costumes, props, every facet of movie making is seamlessly integrated. There is a minimum of the trendy but oh-so-annoying blurry/shaky camera work. This is particularly appreciated in the numerous fight scenes, which always look better if done properly and if the audience can actually see the action.
It’s often said about Tom Cruise that in every role he plays, he is Tom Cruise playing a Tom Cruise role. That’s arguably true here, but it’s what the audience comes to see. Rebecca Ferguson, who does not appear in a bikini in this movie (she did in Rogue Nation), commands the screen, and is a credible action star. Her work with weapons is generally good, better than most actors. Simon Pegg’s Benji is, as always, sort of comic relief, but he does it well.
Michelle Monaghan appears–implausibly–at the end of the movie, primarily as a means of freeing the noble Hunt from any obligation to her, making the unrequited lust of Ethan and Ilsa possibly future required lust.
One must, in any movie of this sort, be willing to suspend disbelief. The actors handle plutonium bomb cores with their bare hands, Hunt and Ilsa are involved in traffic accidents that should have killed them both, but they suffer not a scratch, and there are any number of implausible actions and coincidences, but it’s all part of the fun.
How, you might ask, can they top the various chases already done? With a helicopter chase! I won’t go into great detail, but Hunt ends up piloting a helicopter from the right seat, and despite flying like a 6000 hour combat ace, does things like look at the collective and mutter something like “OK, that goes up.” Uh, sort of… Helicopters are rather harder than that to fly. Oh well.
Mission Impossible: Fallout is very entertaining, and Rebecca Ferguson is the kind of woman to which John Wayne was referring in True Grit when he said: “By Gawd; she reminds me of me!” It’s certainly worth seeing on the big screen, and owning on DVD.