It was a movie that, for a few moments last year, we may never have got this summer. One day, in the heat of London’s sunshine months, Tom Cruise was racing across rooftops for his latest stunt when he landed awkwardly and broke his ankle. Six months out the doctors told him – weeks later, undeterred and more determined, he was back running around the capital, racing to finish the sixth installment in time for its July release. And thank god he did – because Mission: Impossible – Fallout is absolutely spectacular, and arguably the best IMF outing thus far.
Fallout follows on a couple of years after the events of Rogue Nation when Ethan Hunt and his crew had successfully eradicated The Syndicate and its leader Soloman Lane (Sean Harris). However, just as they have cut off one head, another sprouts up in its place and the IMF are soon faced with The Disciples, a new group of international terrorists that hope to break Lane out of prison and utilise stolen weapons of mass destruction around the globe. To add to the IMF’s problems is continuous probes from the CIA who seem the group’s actions as suspect and assign agent August Walker (Cavill) to them to oversee their plans to apprehend the Disciples.
Uniquely, Fallout has gone against in precedent for hiring new filmmakers for each film by retaining writer/director Christopher McQuarrie after his brilliant previous entry, and his working relationship with Cruise has gone from strength to strength over recent years and upon seeing the finished product, you wonder who could have done a better job. As thrilling as Rogue Nation but with a narrative that’s as compelling as it is ludicrous, Fallout is the series’ shining success (well, they’re all great) and owes debts to the thrillers of the 1970s as its does such modern filmmakers as Chris Nolan and Michael Mann. It feels more expansive in scope but also in real-world setting and consequence and it’s the richer for it.
Cruise, always the series’ ringleader, is his usual mix of energy and charm (there really isn’t anyone like him, is there?) and his passion for the series is as infectious as it ever has been. He, and I’m sure McQuarrie, know that if a seventh film is to happen (of course it will), it will be quite the challenge to top this one but if they keep Pegg, Rhames and Ferguson as part of the package, there’s always a chance. Meanwhile, Cavill adds a new dimension to proceedings and, after his short shrift during his stint as the Man of Steel, he showcases his immense talents in a darker role than we have seen from him.
For sheer exhilaration, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is an easy recommendation but it’s so much more than that: a rich, dark and thoughtful thriller, this is a different beast entirely and McQuarrie and Cruise have pulled off the, well, impossible in besting not just Bond or Bourne, but many of the most excellent of comic-book films of recent years. For action and smarts, there hasn’t been anything like this for a long time, and we demand more immediately. Phenomenal.