MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT Review by Jo Hyde

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Hold on to your armrests (especially if you’re afraid of heights)! Mission: Impossible – Fallout definitely delivers the riveting action and hair-raising stunts you’d expect. Whether or not Tom Cruise is your favorite actor, you’ve got to give the guy credit for his incredible work ethic when it comes to doing his own stunts. This film cost him a well-publicized broken ankle that delayed filming for 8 weeks! Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt, has become an archetype for type-t secret agents who have a tendency to go rogue. In fact, the title Fallout refers to actions from Hunt’s past that he completed – or didn’t- that caused intended or unintended consequences.

Thankfully, Ving Rhames and the wonderful Simon Pegg return as Hunt’s crew, Luther and Benji. Also back are Angela Bassett as Erica Sloan, Hunt’s main boss, and Alec Baldwin as Alan Hunley, Hunt’s secondary boss. Rebecca Ferguson as MI6 agent Ilsa Faust, Hunt’s sometimes friend or foe, turns up as well. Ferguson and Cruise have an easy chemistry that works well in Fallout. Michelle Monaghan also appears, for a short time, as Hunt’s former wife, Julia.

One villain from the past, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), reappears to cause more trouble. He’s the first villain to appear in two films. A couple of new baddies emerge: Vanessa Kirby as the White Widow, Kristoffer Joner as Nils Debruuk, and the never really identified criminal mastermind, John Lark. He leads a group of terrorists called The Apostles who want to destroy the world order and then start over. By the end of the film, you still don’t know with certainty who he is.

In a category all by himself is Henry Cavill. He’s introduced by Erica Sloan as August Walker, a kind of super- agent hired to keep Ethan Hunt in line as they search for John Lark. By the way, they know that’s a pseudonym, another reason you never really know who he might be. Some other reviewers thought they knew, but I disagreed with them and think he would still be around if there were to be another sequel. Of course, no one is going to keep Hunt from doing things his own way if he wants to.

Basically, the MI crew is assigned to find and destroy Lark and The Apostles, who may be linked to Solomon Lane, before they can cause havoc with some stolen plutonium that mad scientist Nils Debruuk will make into nuclear bombs. Meanwhile, Ilsa wants to assassinate Lane to make things right with MI 6. Confusing? Well, just remember – this is Mission: Impossible. Many folks are not who they seem to be, and some who seem to be following orders may not be, and Benji, uses his synthetic masks to become just about anyone.

But let’s get serious now. You’re seeing this film for the stunts, and you won’t be disappointed. The much-hyped opening stunt, the high altitude-low opening parachute jump is indeed jaw-dropping. Cruise trained for a year to be able to perform it. But the real money shots are the sequences of helicopter chases, attacks, and escapes. These were filmed in the dramatic landscapes of New Zealand and Norway, standing in for the Kahsmir region of India. Cruise actually did some of the piloting scenes himself, but the literal cliffhanger that finishes off the montage is the one you’ll remember forever!

Fallout is supposed to be the final film in the Mission: Impossible series, but Cruise has said in interviews that he’s open to doing more if this one does well. The door is definitely left open for more as not all plot threads are realized.

The film is long at 2 hours 27 minutes, but you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. Is it in the least believable? No. Do we like it that way? We most certainly do! – Jo Hyde

GRADE: A