Very simply, “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” was the movie of the summer of 2018. And it certainly was one of the movies of the year.
In promoting the spy adventure — which FX shows Sunday, May 29 — Tom Cruise said that he just wanted to give the audience its money’s worth, and did he ever this time. For any and all complaints about needless sequels, this sixth round is a series-best, thanks to the know-how of Cruise and returning writer-director Christopher McQuarrie. (As of this writing, two more “Missions” are being planned.)
“Fallout” not only offers a jaw-dropping series of action sequences, it does a deep dive into the personhood of IMF agent Ethan Hunt, as those closest to him face threats of very bad things from an enemy. That alternately sways and doesn’t sway Hunt from his mission to stop the theft of plutonium, to be used on very specifically chosen targets.
That’s the nominal plot. As for the action? Hunt makes a HALO jump out of a plane. Hunt has a classic brawl with a dismissive CIA man (Henry Cavill) in a restroom. Hunt goes racing through the streets of Paris at breakneck speed. And all of it is thrilling, especially since you can see that it’s really Cruise doing it.
Also back for this mission — and neatly tying together virtually every other movie “Mission” that came before — are Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson and Alec Baldwin, with great additions in a steely Angela Bassett as an espionage boss and a lethal Vanessa Kirby as an agile killer.
Back in 1996, some “Mission: Impossible” purists had concerns about the first feature-film variation being less about the spies’ masks (which still figure in this time) and more about massive stunts that weren’t parts of the television series all that often. It’s somewhat ironic, then, that the stunts largely have become what drive the “Mission” movies … to general audience pleasure.
A huge factor is that it clearly is Cruise doing that risky work, and the payoff for viewers is enormous. That he took a panicky James Corden skydiving on CBS’ “Late Late Show” shortly before this film’s release only confirmed how adventurous Cruise is, and even if producers and insurers sweat out every chance he takes with his safety, the results hit the mark exactly where the filmmakers want them to.
Once again, this “Mission: Impossible” chiefly is owned by Tom Cruise. And you’ll be very glad he chose to accept it.