Reel Reviews | Mission: Impossible – Fallout

by Monica Hayes

After two decades of playing Ethan Hunt, Tom Cruise is back in the sixth installment of Mission Impossible: Fallout, a culmination of the previous films and the best one in the franchise.

Now that Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) has been apprehended and the Syndicate has fallen, the CIA has been on a mission to eradicate all former members of the organization. This move has spawned a new, more dangerous organization called the “Apostles.” Their ultimate goal is to set off a nuclear bomb and starve one-third of the world’s population bringing a new world order.

To achieve that goal, the Apostles stole plutonium, partnered up with the mysterious John Lark and a radical scientist to create their weapons of mass destruction. Enter Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team Benji (Simon Peg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) to intercept and try to stop their nefarious plans but things didn’t go so well. The team ended up getting ambushed and the lost the plutonium. They devised a plan to recover the stolen plutonium and learned that Lark has set up a meeting with the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) and plan to intercept it. They were about to put their plan in motion when the new CIA Director, Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) and her top assassin, August Walker (Henry Cavill) stepped in and shut things down. The only way Erica would allow the team to continue on their mission is if Walker tagged along to ensure, this time there are no screw ups.

Now with a new tag-along, the team attempts to correct their mistake and recover the plutonium. Again, things take an unusual twist and the plan goes awry. It is at this time, Ethan decides to “figure things out.” He meets up with the White Widow and is given an offer where on one hand, if he refused, he would lose the plutonium. On the other hand, if he accepted, it would mean he would have to devise a plan to break out his mortal enemy, Lane in exchange for the plutonium. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Ethan takes another approach and does things his way. Let the adventure, globetrotting, betrayal and plot twist begin.

Director and writer Christopher McQuarrie and Cruise team up for the sixth installment in the Mission Impossible franchise. Fallout has all the makings of a damn good spy movie. In the original Mission Impossible, we have seen Cruise transform into many different characters in order to save the world. We have also seen the stunts go from a simple exploding aquarium to him hanging on the outside of an Airbus 400 to him hanging on by a thread – Literally. With each new installment, the stunts have gotten more and more incredible and just as exciting to watch. It has gotten to be the norm when you see him running down the street or riding a BMW S1000RR at near top speed without a helmet. Some stunts make you say “yeah right” while others have an adrenaline junky like myself saying “I want to do that!”

One thing can be said, Cruise and McQuarrie know how to keep audiences amazed with spectacular stunts. Let’s face it, we all know that without the stunts, Mission Impossible would be just another spy movie trying to outdo Q’s gadgets in James Bond. Tom Cruise has invested his time, money and body into this franchise and he is willing to do whatever it takes to make it a success. He is at his best when he is Ethan Hunt. He is so committed to bringing Hunt alive, he has performed his own stunts in all of the movies. His dedication has nearly cost him his own life on several occasions. The most recent injury was broken ankle that shut down filming for ten weeks. Name another action star willing to break bones for their craft?

Henry Cavill’s August Walker is the wildcard in Fallout. You never really what his deal is. All you know is that he comes off as a hawkish blunt object with a gun. We are used to him playing the timid Clark Kent and the heroic Man of Steel, but here, he exudes arrogance and mystery with a lethal intent that makes you want to keep him in front of you at all times.

Fallout leads us to believe this is the last film. The reason I say this is because it seems to delve deep into Ethan’s emotions and wrap up everything from previous installments in a nice little bow. First, the White Widow – a mysterious philanthropist who on the surface runs a charity, but in reality, she is an arms dealer and a broker between terrorist and money people. Remind you of anyone? She should remind you of Max or Maxine in the first Mission Impossible. Max is her mother.

Second, Ethan’s deceased wife Julia. In Rouge Nation, we learn Julia has died, but in reality, her death was a set up to keep her from being used against Ethan. In Fallout, she has remarried and is working in a medical camp helping to cure an outbreak of Small Pox. Speaking of Small Pox, we learn that the virus that Nyah (Thandie Newton) contracted in Mission Impossible II was one of many of Lane’s plan to destroy the old world order.

Finally, Ilsa Faust. Ilsa and Julia are the only two women that are Ethan’s Achilles heel. In Fallout, Ilsa is brought back into the fold to prove her loyalty to MI6, but her conflicting feelings for Ethan compromise her mission on several occasions. As Fallout continues, we see the emotions between them resurface. Luther, having been down this road before with Ethan, has a heart to heart with her trying to tell her to walk away and leave the mission.

The scriptwriting and plot in Fallout are easy to follow. If you have followed the franchise from the beginning, all of the questions you had been answered. Is it similar to other movies? Yes. There are scenes and sequences that are reminiscent of James Bond, the Fast and Furious franchise, and even Marvel movies, but what film nowadays doesn’t remind you of a previous movie?

Overall, Fallout seems to be a wrap-up of all those loose ends from previous Mission Impossible movies. However, there is a small window for a seventh installment, but with an aging Tom Cruise who has literally put his mind, body, and soul into this franchise, the clock is ticking.

Grade B+