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:
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