Not so long ago, the phrase “death defying” was reserved for ambitious performers – the likes of Harry Houdini – who travelled all over the world, purposefully putting themselves in life-threatening situations for the sake of mass entertainment. After seeing Mission Impossible: Fallout, it’s safe to say that Tom Cruise should definitely be considered in such illustrious company.
Quite how Cruise emerged from the project with “just” a broken ankle is nothing short of a miracle. I had an adrenaline rush just watching him. Solidifying his position as one of the biggest, bankable, blockbuster stars in the world, Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt, the IMF agent determine to save the world just one more time.
It’s been three years since Hunt has come face-to-face with anarchist Solomon Lane (played, once again, to perfection by Sean Harris) and his army of “Apostles” who are determined to unleash nuclear holy hell in prominent religious cities across the globe. There are plenty of complications thrown in – not least the threat of the unidentifiable John Lark, an American double agent intent on helping Lane realise his despicable plans for destruction.
Put simply, this is one of the best action films of the past decade. It’s thrilling, ambitious, sexy and steely. The cast are fantastic – seriously, no one does megalomaniac mass killer quite like Sean Harris – and the plot moves along at a fantastic pace. Henry Cavill is every bit as enigmatic and charismatic as you would hope. There have been ruminations that he could be the next Bond, and his stunt work here probably stands him in good stead. Plus, dude knows how to fill a suit.
Writer and director Christopher McQuarrie does a brilliant job of juxtaposing the huge, action-packed stunt sequences with smaller, intimate moments. Lorne Balfe’s punchy motif of Lalo Schifrin’s original theme tune punctuates the action at all the right times, making your heart race along with it.
The stunt work involved in Fallout has been so highly anticipated – almost as much as Cavill’s moustache. The footage of Cruise snapping his ankle went viral, and the gravity-defying, eye-popping stunts absolutely deliver on every occasion. The amount of truly adrenaline-packed action sequences are unprecedented. None of them are irrelevant or thrown in for the sake of it; they guide the plot onwards, from one location to the next.
The motorbike chase through the streets of Paris had me watching from between my fingers; the HALO jump was utterly exhilarating; and the fight work is utterly convincing. Watching Henry Cavill shake his fists out is the most excited I’ve been at the cinema since Javier Bardem stroked Daniel Craig’s thighs in Skyfall. Cavill might have the stature of a natural brawler, but Cruise is the powerhouse here. Watching him tank across the rooftops of London, jumping between buildings as if he were crossing the road is absolutely nuts. The guy has no fear. He does, however, have the upper body strength of a silverback gorilla.
Everything – from the plot to the stunts to the music – has this huge sense of spectacle about it. It’s genuinely a sight to behold. For once, it was more than just me flinching along with the action or sitting with my mouth open in awe. It’s a film that, never once, let’s you feel anything less than utterly excited.
There are a couple of points where the dialogue kind of spoon feeds you the plot and that was a little annoying as it was entirely unnecessary – the storyline was very clear, even with the amount of double crossing going on. However, it’s a minor irk in the midst of a truly great genre film.
If you don’t leave the cinema via a side window, weave in and out of traffic and roll over your car bonnet whilst humming the Mission Impossible theme song, something is very, very wrong with you …