Hot Take: If you’re a Mission: Impossible fan or just a Tom Cruise fan who has been under a rock during the past two decades of Mission: Impossible films, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a must see.
It’s been 22 years since the original Mission: Impossible film hit theaters. Since then, we’ve been treated to a new Mission: Impossible chapter every 3-6 years with Mission: Impossible – Fallout having the shortest gap between releases at almost exactly 3 years since Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. With Fallout, it marks the first return engagement of a writer/director as Christopher McQuarrie expertly crafted Rogue Nation and was given the reigns on the follow up. McQuarrie is in great company when considering the creative talent that has powered this action franchise following in the footsteps of Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird on the directorial side of things and David Koepp, Robert Towne, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Abrams, Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec on the writing side of things. Outside of Towne, he’s the only one to make a repeat showing from film to film as Towne was co-writer on the original and received sole screenwriting credit on Mission: Impossible 2. Outside of Tom Cruise who has been the foundation of this franchise, Ving Rhames appears as the only cast member to make it through the six chapters unscathed and uncompromised with Simon Pegg also returning for his 4th engagement. Mission: Impossible – Fallout helps support the theory that Mission: Impossible is the most healthy action franchise going outside of comic books and Star Wars. The box office seems to grow with each release as does critical acclaim with Mission: Impossible – Fallout earning the franchise’s highest Rotten Tomatoes score with a 97% Tomatometer and the highest audience score from CinemaScore with the franchise’s first A after a run of A- ratings for the previous 3.
What’s most amazing about this franchise is Cruise who somehow doesn’t seem to age and still looks very much the action star despite his 56 years of age. Realize that makes Cruise 34 when the franchise started and during that time, he’s had his own career ups (Jerry Maguire, Magnolia, Edge of Tomorrow) and downs (The Mummy) and a total of 19 other film appearances outside of the franchise. He’s won 2 Golden Globes and 2 Golden Raspberries during that time though one of the Golden Raspberries was for his time in the tabloid spotlight and may have had something to do with him jumping on a couch on Oprah. All the unusual personal stuff aside, Cruise has been a rock at the box office even with his hiccups but it’s Mission: Impossible that has been his most recognizable body of work over the past 2 decades. With Fallout‘s opening, the Mission: Impossible franchise has busted $1 billion at the box office in the U.S. and $3 billion worldwide. THREE BILLION!!!
But that’s enough about the franchise. What about Mission: Impossible – Fallout? The latest installment following Ethan Hunt and the IMF is pure adrenaline from start to finish. Obviously, Cruise is incredible once again in the main role and was seemingly made for this role. The film isn’t perfect and completely over-the-top but it’s kind of what you expect from the franchise especially at this point. When it comes to the over-the-top aspects, it’s more the action sequences than anything else as the plots of these films are expectedly all over the place. Again, all over the place isn’t necessarily a criticism as that’s what you’re looking for from this franchise. The film weaves together many of the loose ends from the previous movie and at times, elevates the franchise to some of its highest highs. If you were to argue that Mission: Impossible – Fallout is the best of the series’s 6 films (I’d argue that the original and Ghost Protocol were better and Rogue Nation was equally as good), I wouldn’t spend a lot of time trying to convince you that you were wrong. The addition of Henry Cavill as CIA assassin August Walker is a smart one as him side by side with Cruise’s Hunt works well. The return of Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust, the MI6 agent who joined Hunt’s team in Rogue Nation to help bring down Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) who is also back, is back as well. There’s a lot going on in the latest film and it’s no surprise that it clocks in at 148 minutes, the longest run time of the franchise. Yet it (mostly) dodges dragging thanks to the relentless action sequences between the storyline. It’s easily more action than story which is a heck of a feat for a film as long as Fallout.
The only danger here with the latest Mission, should you choose to accept it, is there are moments that the film reaches eye roll territory if you don’t get hooked early on. It’s primed for an Honest Trailer with many of the film’s staples returning. There’s face swapping with the masks perfected in Scooby-Doo, Tom Cruise on a motorcycle and the side of an impossible to climb rock, bomb countdowns and the effort they take to make sure that the 6’1″ Cavill appears comparable in size to the 5’7″ Cruise. Oh and lest we not forget Tom Cruise RUNNING!!! If you’re not rolling your eyes at this (I surely wasn’t) then some of these staples might be your favorite scene from Mission: Impossible – Fallout. If I’m being honest, the scene which features Cruise doing the most running at the beginning of the third act featured prominently in the trailer is my favorite.
Even with those caveats, it’s hard to throw any shade on Mission: Impossible – Fallout. The fact that the sixth film in a franchise not named Bond or Star Wars can still pack such a punch is impressive. Cruise is a committed action star and delivers as expected here. It’s a perfect summer popcorn flick but offers enough gravitas to make it a few ticks above the typical forgettable summer fare. There’s rumors that McQuarrie will return if Mission: Impossible reaches a seventh chapter and there’s no way the series will return without Cruise in the role of Hunt and with the box office numbers from the latest headed toward the franchise’s biggest numbers, it would be impossible to imagine Paramount not giving fans the chapter they’re obviously looking for.
The idea of a 148 minute adrenaline rush of a sequel has you salivating.
You’ll never forgive Cruise for The Mummy. NEVER!!!