I never really thought of Ethan Hunt being part of the collective action movie zeitgeist until now. Ever since the 1996 debut of this television-to-film reboot Tom Cruise has been indistinguishably linked to the character, and as part of his training for Mission: Impossible – Fallout, he’s ostensibly become him.
Between “hundreds of hours” of work to obtain his helicopter license for solo stunt flights, motorcycle scenes, foot chasing stunts (which forced the production to shut down following an injury in a risky scene), and “over 100” HALO skydive jumps, Cruise has pushed his body to the limits for the sake of film and Fallout is better because of it. We’re also slowly moving into Bond territory as Sean Harris’ Solomon Lane returns, essentially fulfilling the Blofeld role of the perpetual big bad — as Fallout attempts to weave an interconnected story and tug at a few emotional strings.
Christopher McQuarrie, and by proxy Tom Cruise (who helped facilitate many of the stunts) know where to put a camera, and seem to be on the same wavelength given that McQuarrie is the first ever returning director for the series. This entire film is a joy to look at from just about every angle as the stunts are cohesive and easy to follow — mostly because they don’t need to rely on hasty edits and cuts to mask shoddy work.
In-between all of these action sequences the story folds a bit with several predictable twists and turns and a rather forgettable subset of the supporting cast. Ethan’s crew (which now thankfully includes the electric Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust) shines, as well as Michelle Monaghan (returning as Ethan’s wife) and the aforementioned Harris, but they don’t have a whole lot of help. Fallout’s biggest vice is bloating its cast a bit just to facilitate aspects of the story it wants to tell, but to an extent, everyone pulls their weight.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout, despite its small flaws, is the definition of a summer blockbuster. Although Cruise’s age will be a factor going forward both he and this series have shown no signs of slowing down in its 22-year history. With the exception of the misstep of the second film, Mission: Impossible has earned the right to be in the same conversation as any other high profile action series.