What started as a cool and slick American spy adventure in 1996 starring the young and relatively new talent of Tom Cruise, has now become the most exciting and adventurous American action franchise today. This time round, Ethan Hunt (the ever reliable Tom Cruise) and his team of super support agents (a still working Ving Rhames – always a pleasure and tech savvy Simon Pegg) have to track down the remaining rouge agents from the previous film and stop a sinister plot involving stolen nuclear weapons. The team however is being shadowed by a tough as nails CIA director (Angela Bassett – not nearly seen enough nowadays) and her brute muscle agent (moustached Henry Cavill). Pretty classic and straight forward.This film is a masterclass in how to craft a high octane action romp that isn’t exactly going to change anyone’s live, but is definitely one of the most enjoyable 2 hours spent watching an action film since Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s without a doubt the best entry into the series.
Writer and Director Christopher McQuarrie, who directed the last IMF adventure, Rouge Nation (also great) returns and cleverly ups the ante. For a series that is known for its set pieces and stunts, the film delivers from its first sequence to its last. It never lets up and keeps the pace at a solid rate. The car chase around Paris in particular is shot with a truly immersive and speedy frequency that is thrilling to watch. Rob Hardy awesomely combats the cinematography allowing you to take in the scope of the action while cleverly bringing you up-close and personal. At this point in the series we know Ethan and his team will always find a way through whatever improbable situation arises, this however doesn’t cause any less engagement or adrenaline for the audience. Not only are the action scenes meticulously staged –they’re gritty and gruesome. Rebecca Ferguson is also a high point of the film as the elusive and skilled British Agent tailing Hunt from the last film.
The films only major faults lie in two parts. Firstly in an attempt to make the story a little more unexpected and surprising, McQuarrie has over-complicated a pretty straight forward narrative. The eventual reveal of a double agent isn’t surprising, but the journey to get us there was a little tiresome. The other fault lies squarely on Henry Cavill, whose performance is wooden and tedious. His character is given a truly interesting arc and dichotomy of allegiances, but sadly he is stilted and doesn’t seem to really grasp the gravitas of what his character is saying or doing. What may get by as Superman, doesn’t work here and sadly the ensemble pays for it.
No matter what ones feelings toward Cruise may be, he is undeniably an action superstar who carries the film with ease and help set a new standard, not only for this franchise but action films in general. Daring stunts, fast pace and enthralling plot help make this a really good film regardless of its flaws; strap yourself in for a wild ride.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout hits Australian cinemas on August 2, 2018.
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