“Mission Impossible: Fallout” marks the sixth instalment in the movie series. Still starring Tom Cruise as the Impossible Missions Force’s top agent, Ethan Hunt, this time the story is about missing plutonium and the nuclear bombs that can be made from them. Hence the movie name, Fallout.
Joining him are Man of Steel’s” Henry Cavill, as CIA Agent Walker, and CIA head Angela Bassett as his boss, director of the CIA. Returning as members of Ethan’s trusty crew are Benjie, played by Simon Pegg of “Star Trek” fame and Ving Rhames as Luther, the only other cast member to have been there since the beginning way back in 1996.
Jeremy Renner fans will be disappointed as his character, Agent William Brandt, who appeared in the past two films, “Ghost Protocol” and “Rogue Nation, will not make an appearance in “Fallout.” No in-story reason was given, though one can just assume he was off on assignment elsewhere. In reality it’s said that his commitments to Marvel as the Avenger Hawkeye conflicted with “Fallout’s” filming schedule.
The original movie was complex and suspenseful, but it shocked audiences by throwing the idea of a team under the bus. Ask anyone who saw the original television series and the remake, the heart of “Mission Impossible” was the team. These later movies are still about Ethan Hunt and his exploits, but thankfully they’ve built up the idea of a team, a close group of friends, a family even.
Just like the “Fast And The Furious” movies, it’s the sense of togetherness that keep the mission impossible movies from becoming nothing more than eye-candy, and the action from being unbearably improbable. The stunts and effects can all be out of this world but without characters that appeal or interest a viewer, they’re all for naught.
The Impossible Missions Force has always been reactionary. They rarely if ever go after someone, they always act in response to an announced, impending or initial disaster. And so Ethan and his team have always been reactionary, forced to improvise (because let’s face it, how often does a plan work or a mission go smoothly?), but never as much as in “Fallout.”
Ethan himself though is beginning to wear down with all the years of being in the field. He admits multiple times he doesn’t know what to do or that he’ll figure things out, which helps to keep him human. And while the focus is always on him, being flawed makes you appreciate his team even more for being there for him. It also keeps you from screaming, “Oh, come on!” When you see Ethan hunt chase a bad guy on foot through half of Paris.
Not to say that the stunts in “Fallout” are no great shakes. Chase sequences alone, whether on foot, by motorcycle or what have you, probably take-up a good quarter of the two-and-a-half hour runtime. The action is tight, edge-of-your-seat sort of action, and once it starts, flings you along until the very end.
That franchise though, like Ethan is showing its age. The old fall backs are still there but it’s become somewhat predictable to watch. The constant switching of team members can be a bit tiring. But, like most larger-than-life heroes and their adventures, there’s a certain comfort in predictability. The stakes are always incredibly high and everything else constantly dialled up to eleven, but there’s a sense of familiarity, and as long as the concept of the team is remains intact, that sense will keep the “Mission Impossible” franchise going.
So take heart dear reader, as this is by no means the last “Mission Impossible” movie. Maybe the next instalment will shake things up and be a true surprise, like the “Last Jedi” was to the “Star Wars” saga. Or, maybe not. Either way, Ethan Hunt is beaten and bruised but alive and well, ready with his team to take the next crisis head-on.