Twenty-two years after accepting his first Mission, Tom Cruise is back for his sixth go around as IMF Agent Ethan Hunt, and by all accounts, Fallout is the best one yet.
Fallout sees a lot of firsts for the franchise, it’s the first time a director has returned for a second mission (Christopher McQuarrie), it’s the first direct sequel, and it’s the first time Cruise’s Ethan Hunt has let us peek behind what makes him tick. Plot-wise, it’s another mildly convoluted affair that moves Cruise and the gang into position for some of the most stunningly staged action sequences I’ve seen in years.
Serving as the American answer to James Bond, we’ve never been given much character development for Hunt of the last five movies. He’s a man who values the single life as much as the millions; he will throw himself into crazy acts of heroism time and time again because there is nobody else who can. Fallout offers a glimpse into what makes him tick, his fears, and for the first time, Ethan seems more vulnerable than we’ve seen him before.
Henry Cavill’s imposing and moustachioed August Walker is the ‘hammer’ to Hunt’s ‘scalpel’ like approach to getting the job done. Their different work ethics are brilliantly and brutally on display during a fight with a target in a bathroom. Cavill is a fine addition to the cast, he’s having a heap of fun, and it’s a stark reminder of how poorly the DCEU has treated him with weak material. At one point, Walker screams “why did you make it so fucking complicated”, a moment that feels oddly aimed at the whole MI franchise which never has been a straightforward proposition from a narrative perspective. Deadpool would be proud.
Much like the Fast and Furious movies, the plot takes a back seat to the glorious action. However, the real difference is that the Mission movies push practical stunt work to its limits with its fearless star doing the vast majority of his own stunts. He might be 56, but Tom Cruise shows no sign of slowing down. Having done the impossible with Rogue Nation and turned the finished film in three months early and under budget, Christopher McQuarrie is the first filmmaker to helm two Missions. It remains unclear if he’ll return to direct a third as he’s set himself and the franchise an impossible mission by topping Fallout. After working with Cruise on more ten times in a variety of roles from writer, producer, uncredited script polish, and director, McQuarrie and TC know how to get the best out of each other.
Regardless of what you may think of Tom Cruise, you can’t fault the man’s commitment to entertaining audiences. The epic skydiving scene was shot over one hundred times to nail the shot, he broke his ankle jumping over rooftops in London (the limp made the final cut). Cruise is willing to break bones to entertain moviegoers, he doesn’t have to, but his commitment to the audience is unrivalled.
In summary, Fallout is ridiculously entertaining, and I hope Cruise is onboard for many more Missions to come. There might be less humour than previous instalments, and it’s perhaps a little too long for its own good. None of the minor quibbles matter as Fallout is a franchise-best delivering a thrilling and spectacular crowd pleaser. See it on the biggest screen you can find.