The year was 1996 and I was sitting in Stagecraft class of my Junior year of high school. We were all caught up on our work and there was not much left to do for the day. Our teacher, “Mr M” looked at his watch and then asked us if we all wanted to leave campus and go to the movies instead. For the new Tom Cruise led Mission: Impossible had just been released. We jumped at the opportunity to ditch, loaded in our vehicles and headed to the theater for a “field trip”.
After the movie was over, I realized that other than Mr M., I was the only other person that really knew the history of Mission: Impossible. I was also a little disgruntled with the decision to corrupt Jim Phelps, the original director of the Impossible Mission Force. But this was a new era with a new lead. Ethan Hunt, right out the gate, was dealing with intrigue, betrayal, being disavowed and global threats. We also got the chance to see how resourceful he can be, even if it means working with people with shady intentions*.
22 Years Later
The game has changed for Ethan Hunt. We now live in a world full of smartphones, drones, self driving cars and lightning fast internet. The stakes have also raised for the IMF teams. This entry into the Mission: Impossible franchise finds Ethan Hunt, haunted by the fact that he can’t be with his ex wife due to his ongoing missions and the events from the last big mission (see: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation where his team successfully captured the Lane, leader of the nefarious crime organization called The Syndicate). His latest mission is to recover three Plutonium cores that are to be used by the remains of the Syndicate, now know as “The Apostles”. As they do, things go awry and this sparks the full plot of this installment in the MI canon.
I don’t want to talk too much about the plot of M:I-Fallout because it’s just too well thought out with some amazing visuals and intricacies for me to spoil it for anyone. What I will talk about, however, is what you should expect. Maturity. Hearing an action movie referred to as “Mature” isn’t a usual thing but the sentiment rings true here. M:I was our introduction, M:I 2 was the awkward teenage years that we don’t like to talk about. Once you get to M:I 3 and on, the franchise has grown into it’s own.
Tonally, this outing feels akin to espionage/crime thrillers of the late 70’s/early 80’s. While it’s not as gritty as films like The French Connection or Charley Varrick, it definitely has the same feel to it. It’s not just the film’s tone that has matured, but Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames as well. Both actors have been with the series since the beginning. Watching the relationship between these two grow from being disavowed together in the first (and somewhat “green” if you will) to the seasoned, weathered friends/colleagues in the present is worth the 6 movie journey alone.
Aging To Perfection
That’s the thing about the M:I movies. They are getting better with each installment. Usually, by the third or fourth movie in a series, they will have gone through most tropes for their genre and have become so far fetched (I’m looking at you, Die Hard) that you wonder why the sequels keep getting green lit. Not so much with Fallout. We are left wanting more (in a good way). My ultimate hope is that we see Ethan Hunt eventually hand the baton to a younger team with Hunt in the Director of the IMF chair. With the amount of cardio that Ethan Hunt does in each movie should guarantee we’ll see him in the field for years and years to come!
Remember that asterisk from above? For those following along at home, this is where I talk about a nice Easter Egg: *For those that may have missed it, in Mission Impossible – Fallout, one of the key players is the White Widow. And there is an brief blink and you miss it moment where she mentions her mother Max. Yep, it has been confirmed that she is, in fact, the daughter of Max the Arms dealer in M:I 1. Nice connection.
I want to take a brief moment to discuss the controversy behind one of the actors in Fallout. Superman himself, Henry Cavill portrays a CIA Agent attached to this mission due to the events at the beginning of the film. I am a self professed DC fanboy and I dig Henry Cavill in his other outings (Man from U.N.C.L.E is COMPLETELY underrated and deserved better at the box office). And he does not disappoint here. Seriously speaking, he commands the scenes he’s in. Just wait for the teased Bathroom Fight. What many DC fans ARE disappointed with is the mans mustache and it’s ability to be Superman’s Kryptonite. As a fan of DC, I will say that, the mustache, while it didn’t add much to the character save for falling into the “Men with mustache’s in spy movies are inherently evil” trope, definitely takes valid priority over Justice League. Hear me out. Mission is simply a superior flick. I blame scheduling for the mess up but fans of Mr Cavill will not be disappointed with his take here. He has some of the absolute best scenes in the film and anyone that thinks they want to go toe to toe with him… good luck with that.
A lot of recent action movies fall prey to painting themselves into a corner, story wise. They end up hitting the same notes over and over again to the point where the viewer has little chance to become invested in the characters and their motivations. Mission: Impossible – Fallout, along with the previous entries, break that mold decisively. As always, Tom Cruise performs his own stunts, the supporting actors are brilliant, the villain is believable and the plot… oh the plot. It actually makes sense down to the details. This is a perfect addition to the Mission Impossible mythos and is COMPLETELY worth your time. Go out and see this one. you won’t regret it!
Until the next movie…