The Mission: Impossible series has been nothing if not consistent. At this point, they’re little more than excuses for Tom Cruise to show audiences that he’s still “got it,” but they manage to also tell decent stories full of twists and turns, deliver solid action, and be pretty entertaining for as long as they run. The newest one, subtitled Fallout, does all of that and does so in a nearly 2.5-hour running time, which is just about the maximum amount of time one of these can run without becoming irritating.
The plot this time around sees IMF hero-man Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and a couple of the returning cast members from the previous films—Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg, basically—having to track down some stolen plutonium. The CIA sends an agent (Henry Cavill) to monitor them, MI6 is also involved, more characters from previous films return, and the whole thing would be a jumbled mess if I were to try to explain it here. In the movie, it mostly works. You might be a little confused at points, but that’s by design. Sometimes, nobody is 100% sure what’s going on.
That’s part of the fun of these specific movies. Thanks to the impersonation technology available to the characters and all of the secrets they all keep, allegiances break down, double-crosses occur, and secret plots are kept by specific individuals and are only revealed when it’s the opportune moment. Trying to figure out who wants what and why at any given moment is a thrill by itself, and the way Fallout goes about piling on the stakes and what at some points feels like an ever-growing cast of characters means you’ll never be bored.
It also continually delivers in the action department. This might be the first in the franchise that escalates the action and thrills throughout, topping the previous scene each time. Its climax is fantastic—and not just because of the pre-release hype that went into promoting how much of the action Tom Cruise did. It’s true, though: it feels that much more realistic when you can tell that the actor is actually performing many of the stunts or actions required. The series’ reluctance to use CGI or body doubles has always worked in its favor.
The cast is wonderful. Tom Cruise is the star, obviously, and he’s treated as such from start to finish. But Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg get a few fun moments, Rebecca Ferguson picks up right where she left us last time, Henry Cavill is way better than I expected, and newcomers like Vanessa Kirby and Angela Bassett fit in perfectly. And that’s not even mentioning a couple of other returnees, whose appearances I won’t spoil.
Mission: Impossible—Fallout is a great movie. It is a lot of fun from start to finish, it engages both intellectually and emotionally, it has some of the best action of the franchise, it is never dull despite running for nearly two and a half hours, and it re-cements Tom Cruise as one of the best action heroes we have. It’s the type of movie that this series has been building toward, and I’m very glad we have it. In terms of summer blockbusters, you’re not going to do much better than Mission: Impossible—Fallout.
Conclusion: Mission: Impossible—Fallout is the best impossible mission yet.
Recommendation: If you like action or spy movies, you need to see this one.