Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Mission: Impossible - - Fallout **** (2018)

In one of the most entertaining movies of the year, possibly the decade, Tom Cruise and his band of IMF comrades zoom through one jaw dropping sequence after another. Starting with the original Mission Impossible movie in 1996, the franchise over the past 20 years has continued to get better, taking the action genre to new heights. By the sixth entry most film franchises are running on fumes, Fallout revels in showing in its age and builds upon the mythology of the series. 

The film begins with spectacular slight of hand opening sequence that sets up the story. A group of ultra mercenaries have banded together, known as the apostles, who want to overthrow the world order and inaugurate an era of chaos. The premise is more than enough to sustain a popcorn movie, one where darkness is always just around the corner.

One stunning action sequence follows another involving sky diving, mountain climbing, car chases in Paris, hand to hand fight scenes, and a helicopter chase. While many action movies feature these types of action, Fallout makes it all look realistic and logical. These sequences recall the early years of cinema, more Buster Keaton than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

At the center of it all is the enigma of Tom Cruise. Few modern screen presences have the ability to win over audiences as he can.  He literally put his life on the line and broke his ankle performing dangerous stunts for Fallout. Somehow the moody actor of the 1980s became the premier action star of the 21st Century. As Ethan Hunt, Cruise brings a compelling combination of swagger and tragedy, a true American James Bond.

Fallout builds upon the mythology of the previous five films with reliable Ving Rhames returning for the sixth film, Simon Pegg's deliveries never miss a beat, and Michelle Monaghan even makes a poignant return.  Henry Cavill co-stars in a weighty role as the new member of the team, a younger and stronger version of Ethan.

As summer entertainment goes, Fallout leaves the competition in the dust. Intelligent, exciting, and well acted - a blockbuster in the best sense of the word.

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