It’s hard to believe that it was only 52 years ago when CBS aired what soon become one of their biggest and most memorable series: “Mission: Impossible,” which lasted from 1966 all the way to 1973. The show was known for the covert exploits of secret agents working for the Impossible Mission Force (IMF), along with its catchy theme song. Thirty years later in 1996, the series was reborn in the motion pictures with Tom Cruise taking the starring role as agent Ethan Hunt. Since then, the series has lasted through several films, with “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” becoming the sixth and most recent.
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team are put to the test when a mission goes wrong in Berlin, which leads to three radioactive plutonium cores being stolen by an anarchist terrorist group known as the Apostles. With them, the Apostles plan to construct three portable nuclear weapons that they’ll be able to detonate anywhere in the world. With the threat greater than ever, Ethan is tasked with going undercover to locate the three cores and stop whoever is leading the Apostles.
However, when the CIA intervenes to question IMF’s and Ethan’s capabilities to accomplish such a task, Ethan is forced into working with CIA operative August Walker (Henry Cavill) through the duration of his mission. As Ethan and his team find themselves thrown into a world of arms dealers, and dangerous radicals, the stakes are soon raised when Ethan is given the impossible task of apprehending Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the previous antagonist from “Rogue Nation,” and the former leader of the Syndicate. And when it comes to the spy game, it’s hard to tell who are your friends, and who are your enemies. The movie also stars: Michelle Monaghan, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Alec Baldwin.
Being the sixth movie in the franchise, I had all but assumed that the “Mission: Impossible” series had overstayed its welcome. However, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” has proven me wrong. It has the perfect balance of action, high stakes, espionage, infiltration, and plot until it all leads up to the final action scene where you’re cheering on the hero to take down the villain. This is how a spy film should be handled.
What was most surprising to me was how high they had raised the stakes in this one. I know the overall series is about Ethan protecting the world, but there were moments in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” where the film actually tricked me into thinking the hero had failed; which is not something that often happens in these kinds of flicks. So the movie definitely deserves bonus points for playing with its audience’s expectations.
What “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” also has going for it was the level of acting range that was given to Tom Cruise. Every fan and their mother give the actor plenty of praise for his style of acting. However, compared to the previous films, it feels like “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” really gave Tom Cruise a chance to show more of his acting range. No, it’s not dramatic, Oscar-bait, it’s more subtle than that. It’s noticeable when you’re watching him act as Ethan Hunt, the experienced and tactical agent out to save the world, and when he’s acting as undercover Ethan Hunt, who’s playing the role of cruel and twisted fundamentalist in order to fool his enemies; which I liked. It’s refreshing when a spy film tries to add more to its main character, other than making him a straight-up serious figure who must never stop being a tough as nails hero.
I also have to give credit to Sean Harris for resuming his role as the twisted Solomon Lane. Even though he spends most of the film in chains, he really gives it his all—there’s almost a Hannibal Lecter vibe to him even. And I’ll admit it, I have a soft spot for films that bring back previous villains. Because, whether or not you liked or didn’t like the film they were in, it feels good to know that the films are acknowledging their continuity; rather than just forgetting about them and moving on with a new story.
“Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is rated PG-13 for violence, intense sequences of action, along with brief strong language. I find myself shocked at how much I enjoyed this film. It had every chance to be a complete flop, yet through its crew, action, and acting, the movie succeeded. If you’re a fan of the “Mission: Impossible” series, a fan of Tom Cruise, or just someone who enjoys spy flicks, then “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is one you cannot afford to miss. Which is why the final score is a solid 8.5 out of 10!
Marco Island resident and avid moviegoer, Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a bachelor’s degree in science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. In his four years at Lynn, Matthew managed to achieve Magna Cum Laude status, earn three publications in the Lynn University magazine, make a short documentary featured in the university’s Film Festival, and created a radio PSA that was later broadcasted overseas.