MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 6: Another win for Tom Terrific
“Mission: Impossible - Fallout” has three things going for it: Chris McQuarrie’s script, and Tom Cruise’s testicles.
Mind you, those last two items do not make an actual appearance in the film; no, I refer instead to Cruise’s jaw-dropping guts and testosterone, so boldly on display throughout this terrific new thriller.
I doubt any other actor has ever undertaken so many of his own stunts -- or such appallingly dangerous ones. At the ripe old age of 55, no less.
Hanging from a helicopter. Piloting a helicopter. Climbing a vertiginous granite cliff -- bare-handed. Flying through the air. Running like a World Cup soccer star. Racing a motorcycle against traffic in one of those crazy London roundabouts.
Cruise does it all -- with very little apparent help. And there’s much to be said for the visceral reality of these scenes, where backdrops leap off the screen with bracing clarity -- rather than the frequent fuzzy fakeness of computer-generated images.
Many of these stunts come together in one of the finest action finales ever filmed; yet most of “Fallout” is not especially over the top. Rather than the usual constant chaos, noise and debris -- in which every new blockbuster seeks to outdo predecessors in defying physics and assaulting viewers -- “Fallout” focuses on snappy dialog, cagey relationships and a smart, twisty plot. Among other things, McQuarrie frontlines the question of how much loyalty is owed to individual friends when millions of other lives are at stake.
For this well-reviewed sixth entry in the long-running franchise, Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his Impossible Missions Force are racing terrorists to a plutonium cache. The ever-capable Cruise is well supported by IMF cohorts Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Rebecca Ferguson, with similarly excellent work from franchise newcomer Henry Cavill as a CIA operative. I feel that Cavill -- the current screen Superman -- really comes into his own in this film, finally getting a role he can sink his teeth into.
As for that climax: It deftly interweaves three or four parallel plots as our gang works to defuse a fiendishly designed pair of nuclear bombs; it’s wild and hairy, yet somehow never gets totally out of hand. Maybe Eddie Hamilton’s sensational editing will finally end the drought of Oscar noms for this popular 22-year-old series. And if there were an award for onscreen courage and cojones, Cruise would get it hands-down.
I often scan closing credits, and this time the name Mick Hurrell caught my eye -- a fellow listed as “health and safety supervisor” on this film.
I strongly suspect he was underpaid.
“Mission: Impossible - Fallout,”
written & directed by Christopher McQuarrie
* * * 1/2 (out of four)
Rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action, and for brief strong language