Review: 'Mission Impossible: Fallout' Starring Tom Cruise And Henry Cavill

When it comes to spy franchises Bourne and Bond get all of the credit…but should they? Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his IMF team(s) have lead us through 6 films in the last 22 years providing some of the most amazing stunt work and action set pieces ever committed to film. Sure, the MI films have been obviously influenced by the two B boys, Bourne and Bond, but if they keep the good pieces of themselves and add in the best pieces of the other guys, wouldn’t that make the IMF team the best of the bunch….you know, scientifically? Mission Impossible: Fallout is more of the same, usually that’s a laurel laid onto less then great movies but if the status quo was awesome, then the same is what you want. This time around we catch up with the latest incarnation of the team, comprised of Ethan (Cruise), Luther (the awesome Ving Rhames), and tech guy turned unlikely field agent Benji (Simon Pegg). Working from a tip they try to recover plutonium that is destined for the hands of The Apostole’s, an off-shoot of previous bad guy anarchist group, The Syndicate. They want to use the material to create three nuculear weapons and use them to tear down the current system and install a New World Order…you now, that old chestnut.  During the intercept Luther is taken hostage and Hunt sacrifices the mission to save Luther’s life, leaving the plutonium on it’s way to the wrong hands. Their only hope is to track down the Apostole’s contact, steal his identify and recover the plutonium. The CIA, miffed that the IMF dropped the ball, sends along their own hulky representative in August Walker (Henry Cavil). It should be obvious that they are not breaking new ground on the story structure of the modern spy/action film, they never really have, but we keep watching them, and here’s why.

Action. Action. Action. The Mission: Impossible franchise, at its core, is the most pure version of the modern popcorn action flick we have. It’s not self-aware, not politically charged with today’s issues, it’s a bunch of guys and gals doing things that look awesome in front of a background of world domination and explosions. Leading the charge as always is 56 year old Tom Cruise, 56, let that sink in. At a time in his life where most men are gearing up for retirement and fly-fishing Cruise is upping the ante and performing stunt work that he didn’t do in his 20’s. I don’t know that Fallout gives us the peak of his work, I think that still belongs to the Burj Khalifa jump he did in Ghost Protocol, but the stunt pieces here certainly go to the top of the list. Two in particular, first being a HALO or High Altitude, Low Opening, skydive…something generally only performed by highly trained special ops types, wherein the jumper leaps from a plane at upwards of 35k feet and lands in a small area. The second, less spectacular but still impressive rock climb on the face of flat cliff. The practical part of me thinks that in a world that we can make Mike Douglass look 25 for Ant-Man we could certainly go with having Cruise’s faced CG’d onto a professional. The other, more adventurous part screams “Carry on my wayward Cruise, do your thing!”. I don’t know how much it adds visually vs using a stuntman but the back knowledge of knowing it’s really him does add something to the feeling you get watching.

Past Cruise and his stunts you have newcomer Henry Cavill and his infamous mustache. Let me just say that it is SO glorious that I totally forgive the truly creepy CG face from Justice League. Cavil is an absolute unit. His character of August Walker brings a true physical presence to the screen, I’m not sure what it is about Cavil but he comes across bigger then Ahnold and Stallone, but with the grace of a Van-Damme…he’s the perfect 80’s action hero. He and Cruise have great on-screen chemistry, which I wish there was more of and while his character isn’t given much of a personality to work with he accomplishes his task and then some. The rest of the cast was just as good, I honestly do not have a bad word to say about anyone. Simon Pegg’s Benji is just as much a delight as all of his characters are, Alec Baldwin as the new IMF boss is a perfect fit and Angela Basset brings the appropriate ferocity to head the CIA side of things. The call backs to previous MI films were also nice to see, namely Michelle Monhaghan returning as Ethan’s estranged wife and a quick reference to the OG MI film’s antagonist, Max.

In terms of what you are looking for in a summer action flick there isn’t much to gripe about. Yes the story is bland and the characters could have been more fleshed out, but what matters is right on point. My issues really come in more with what the franchise is turning into as a whole. Each movie series needs its own gimmick, what sets it apart from the others. Mission: Impossible was always about the spy-craft of it all. Subterfuge, espionage, technology and baddassery all rolled into one. It seems that in their attempts to draw from Bourne and Bond they have forgotten part of what made these films awesome in the first place. The only real gadget that remains is the face copying tech, there isn’t a single other cool gadget in the film. Yes Bond is a place for gadgets but MI always brought stuff that felt like you were seeing behind a curtain at the real CIA, gadgets that were just as jaw-dropping as they were believable. Add to that there’s VERY little subtlety to anything they do and you have a film that feels less like it’s drawing inspiration from it’s competition and more like it’s morphing into a clone. This is a damning condemnation but understand that it’s more of a warning for the future. I don’t think it brings down the movie in entertainment value, but if it continues this way it will result in the franchise becoming a cheap carbon copy that serves as little more than a showcase for crazy stunts.

You’re going to see it…do I even have to tell you to? Mission Impossible: Fallout will deliver everything you are looking for in a summer blockbuster, I honestly don’t think a true action fan could leave the theater feeling less then satisfied. If you’re looking for true to form Mission: Impossible then you might be left wanting more, but even in that case it still delivers enough to be worth the price of admission.

Rating: 4 Out of 5