Tom Cruise scorches the screen in his sixth Mission Impossible assignment, delivering the goods in another high-octane yarn.
His ridiculous stunts, which have become a hallmark of the franchise, are even more impressive in this edge-of-your-seat production.
Director Christopher McQuarrie allows Cruise full reign as special agent Ethan Hunt who, with his IMF team of experts, have a simple mission: they must recover three plutonium cores before a notorious arms dealer named John Lark and a terrorist organisation known as the Apostles can use them to target the Vatican, Jerusalem, and Mecca in a single coordinated attack.
In his efforts to do this, the action in the film hops from London to Paris and to Kashmir, with the adrenalin levels increasing at every turn. The narrative dips and dives and becomes a tad convoluted at times, with characters changing their allegiance and their faces at every opportunity.
But the film succeeds, especially when watching it in 3D format at an Imax cinema. This Mission Impossible unveils fresh vistas even though Hunt is still adept at climbing sheer rock faces, driving high-speed motorcycles and dodging exploding helicopters.
The scenery has never been more spectacular, whether it’s the backdrop to Cruise standing atop the chimney of the Tate Modern with all of London at his feet or parachuting onto the glass roof of Paris’ Grand Palais.
As a character, Hunt has matured and achieved gravitas. Mission Impossible has moved beyond being considered to be a sort of James Bond rip-off franchise and just another stunt-driven save-the-world bonanza.
Mission Impossible: Fallout ticks all the boxes. One villain we’ve seen before is Sean Harris as Lane, who made it his mission to eliminate the IMF in the previous MI film, Rogue Nation. He has been captured but still has a trick or two up his sleeves.
References to the past emerge; Hunt’s marriage (Michelle Monaghan) to a woman whom he is no longer with, and there’s an extension of that sexy ‘spy-who-loved-me’ dynamic from the last movie involving the lovely MI6 agent, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson).
Henry Cavill is CIA assassin August Walker who forms an uneasy alliance with Hunt, Alec Baldwin is Hunt’s IMF boss and Angela Bassett plays CIA director Erica Sloan who holds many cards.
Hunt’s devoted IMF team of Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg) also return and produce more than a few wry moments.
A fascinating aspect of this production is that when you thought you knew who Ethan Hunt was, McQuarrie redefines the character and what makes him tick. All in all, this is a superb example of an action movie at its best and a hero figure who keeps on giving.