The Mission Impossible franchise has lasted two decades but rather than burn out it’s hit a satisfying groove in the last few years balancing dynamic action, gadget porn, a touch of humour and even a semblance of character development in central figure, Impossible Missions Force (IMF) operative, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise).
The latest film, Mission Impossible: Fallout sees Hunt tied up in another convoluted James Bond-esque plan to stop a madman destroying the world, this time creepy maniacal anarchist Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) and his terrorist group known as The Apostles who, much like Austin Powers’ Dr Evil, steal some nuclear weapons so they can blow-up the planet.
With its multiple deceptions, octuple-crosses and occasional techno-babble, the plot of Mission Impossible: Fallout becomes a little murky at times. Story coherence isn’t really the point of these films, though, instead they’re all about elaborate stunts and pulse-pounding action sequences and despite a few slow patches this film delivers. With shoot-outs, bone-crunching fight sequences, car chases that will have petrol-heads spoiling their trousers, the obligatory but still exciting scenes of Cruise dangling from helicopters and of course the white-knuckle bomb defusal countdown, the film has plenty of thrills. It’s all completely implausible as Cruise survives falls, beatings and crashes that would kill Superman but we were warned, it is called Mission Impossible.
Cruise has found an ideal character in Ethan Hunt, a mysterious, emotionally-conflicted action hero with an amusingly vulnerable side who doesn’t always know what he’s doing but always manages to avert disaster. The supporting cast which includes series veteran Ving Rhames as communications expert Luther Stickell, Simon Pegg as comedy-relief gadget man Beni Dunn, Rebecca Ferguson as cool, kick-ass agent Ilsa Faust, Alec Baldwin as IMF Director Alan Hunley and newcomers Henry Cavill as suspicious CIA agent August Walker and Angela Bassett as CIA Director Erica Sloane, all make a substantial mark on this film.
The series has had an ever-changing roster of directors but Fallout has wisely stayed with Christopher McQuarrie who helmed the previous instalment Rogue Nation. He brings an effective balance of light and shade leavening the violence with humour and delivering a striking visual style that mixes some of the jittery close quarter combat excitement of Paul Greengrass with striking panoramas of London, Paris and the mountainous regions of Kashmir.
After decades of spy movie franchises, Mission Impossible: Fallout is hardly revelatory but it’s still a lot of fun.
Nick’s rating: ***1/2
Genre: Action/ drama.
Director(s): Christopher McQuarrie.
Release date: 2nd Aug 2018.
Running time: 147 mins.
Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM. Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast. http://subcultureentertainment.com/2014/02/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-film-show