“Dee-doo-doo, dee-doo-doo, dee-doo-doo, doo-dit.” The Mission Impossible franchise certainly has a catchy theme tune. Who knew that when they dangled Tom Cruise from the air duct in Mission Impossible in 1996 that it would still be in business some 22 years later with M:I VI better known as Mission Impossible: Fallout? Back in the ’90s… most film franchises realised that, unless you had Sly Stallone, a trilogy was already a long shot. Tom Cruise was a big name star in 1996 and one, two, skip a few years involving Katie Holmes, Oprah Winfrey’s couch and Scientology, the iconic film star has reclaimed his rightful headline space as a Hollywood tiger.
He initiated his comeback with a break out performance as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder. While we’re not ruling out a hybrid action comedy vehicle remake called “Days of Tropic Thunder” about an obstinate and grossly overweight stock car driver, Cruise has been just as determined with his film career as his eagle-eyed characters. His latest Mission Impossible sequel shows that the series is not done yet and neither is he, generating some surprisingly fresh content within the confines of a well-worn subgenre. Performing many of his own stunts, the determined and gung-ho action star just doesn’t seem to age or slow down. While his team has been augmented, growing with each episode, he’s still completely convincing as a special operative without having to adopt a Taken back story like many of his contemporaries. Just how old is he anyway? 56.
Mission Impossible: Fallout sports a twisting-and-turning story line, taking cues from the Bourne series with identity play and double agents, as the IMF team race against time to fix a mission gone wrong. While there’s plenty of imagination in the latest iteration of Mission Impossible, nuclear bombs still seem to be the global terrorist’s first choice when it comes to threatening life as we know it.
Nowadays with rapid population growth and dwindling natural resources, villains seem to be preoccupied with doing the world “a favour” by wiping half of it out rather than ransoming it for a pile of cash… just ask Thanos. While a lunar colony on Mars seems to be more feasible as Virgin Galactic start thinking about introducing flyer miles or economy class, genocide seems to be a much quicker fix to bring suffering and rebirth. In an age of grey, where reboots and remakes trump original ideas, perhaps villainy is now presented as a perspective… how you like your coffee rather than a choice on career day.
“Guys, I think this mission just got impossibler… er?”
It’s directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who also worked surprisingly well with a curious casting call involving Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher. As we’ve come to expect from previous installments, Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation, Mission Impossible: Fallout is a blistering espionage action adventure, clocking in at 2.5 hours and amounting to full value-for-money entertainment. Cruise leads the charge as the clear and present leading man, despite contending with a Magnum P.I. moustache hosted by Henry Cavill’s face. He’s ably supported by sidekicks in Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames with Rebecca Ferguson and Sean Harris reprising their roles from Rogue Nation, adding up to a stellar ensemble.
While sleek, well-paced and mostly surprising, some of the turns are a bit overwrought and predictable. However, moving at such pace… it keeps you off-kilter, unable to press the eject button, simply popping a side door only to dive-roll onto the next sequence. It’s no secret, Fallout does go into overdrive, forcing you to leave reality behind as one massive coincidence supersedes another and good luck becomes synonymous with the name Ethan Hunt.
Moving in a similar direction to the Bond franchise, where at one point Pierce Brosnan was able to surf a tsunami on a shard of metal in Die Another Day, it does seem to be lurching into its series name. Perhaps a character-led action series does get to a point where one man has survived so much mortal danger that it becomes inherently cheesy by necessity or dives headlong into invincible superhero mode. Mission Impossible: Fallout may not be quite as sharp as Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, but checks all the boxes despite stretching to breaking point on several occasions.
The bottom line: Blistering