Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Vanessa Kirby, Angela Bassett, Alec Baldwin
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a testament to the miracle that is Tom Cruise. Cruise is among Hollywood's last surviving superstars. And yet look at what this man is willing to endure to entertain us. In this film, he breaks his ankle – for real, leaps out of a plane at 25,000 feet, hangs from a helicopter and flies it, drives a high-speed motorcycle through Paris, leaps from innumerable terraces and runs so fast and so hard that I got exhausted just looking at him. Did I mention that he is 56?
Here Cruise once again partners with Christopher McQuarrie, who is the first director to helm two films in the 22-year-old Mission: Impossible franchise. McQuarrie, who earlier directed Rogue Nation, makes the action set-pieces grander and even more bonkers. He also adds emotional heft. Ethan Hunt's inherent goodness and sincerity become genuinely moving. Strands from Hunt's past are woven into the story – he is vulnerable and in places, even frail. The film acknowledges Cruise's years. Despite the physical prowess, we see him tiring as he fights. We see him get beat up. We see his white stubble. We recognize that he is human. And yet, when Luther says of Hunt, 'He will get it done', we don't doubt it for a second. Because since the first Mission: Impossible in 1996, Hunt has never let us down.
That first film was my favorite in the series. None of the subsequent installments were duds but the memory of these films started to blur. I started to identify them by the stunts – so Ghost Protocol was the one in which Cruise climbed the Burj Khalifa and in Rogue Nation, he was hanging from the side of a plane. But Fallout is an absolute knockout. This film is a staggering action spectacle and easily the best since the first.
Despite the physical prowess, we see Cruise tiring as he fights. We see him get beat up. We see his white stubble. We recognize that he is human.
The story revolves around homicidal terrorists who get their hands on plutonium. These folks want to wreak havoc on the world because they believe that the greater the pain, the greater the peace. But Hunt gets in the way. He is relentless in his pursuit. He is also unfailing in his mission to protect – the film establishes clearly that this man isn't willing to compromise a single life, even for the larger good of humanity. This 'pathetic morality,' can sometimes be a stumbling block. But it is what makes Hunt who he is.
McQuarrie, who has also written the screenplay, skillfully alternates the emotion with action. Some of which is so propulsive and insane that it makes you gasp – one jaw-dropping sequence takes place in a pristine white bathroom, which eventually becomes stained with blood. I knew Hunt would come out okay and yet the climax, which involves ticking bombs, helicopters and snowy mountain cliffs, is so suspenseful that I was actually squealing loudly. Incidentally the sequence is supposed to be set in Kashmir but here New Zealand is filling in and we get barely any sense that we are in India. At two and half hours, Fallout is also a tad too long.
Apart from Cruise, the film is bolstered by the usual suspects – Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg playing Hunt's team members. There's also a trio of fabulous women – Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan and Angela Bassett, who plays the CIA director. At one point, she disdainfully declares: IMF is Halloween – a bunch of grown men in rubber masks playing trick or treat. There's also Henry Cavill, showing us that he can do much more than be Superman.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a delirious fantasy which delivers a super-sized kick.